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article imageHigh ranking Australian Catholic Bishop arrested on sex charges

By Greta McClain     Jun 29, 2014 in Crime
A senior Roman Catholic Bishop who is head of the Australian Defence Force military diocese, has been arrested by Western Australian police and charged with sexual assault.
Bishop Max Davis, 68 years old, is charged with sexually assaulting a student at St. Benedict's College in New Norcia in 1969. The alleged assault occurred when Davis was a teacher and the school, and prior to Davis being ordained as a Catholic priest.
The charges and arrest were confirmed in a statement by the Catholic Military Ordinariate of Australia, which stated:
"An allegation has been made to the police that in 1969 Bishop Max Davis abused a student at St. Benedict's College in New Nocria. At that time - 45 years ago - the bishop was not ordained. The bishop emphatically denies the allegation and the charge will be defended."
According to The Guardian, Davis is thought to be the highest-ranking Catholic clergy to be charged with a sexual offence, and is believed to be the first Australian Catholic clergy to be charged with such an offense.
Davis has served as the head of the Catholic Church Military Ordinariate of Australia for the past 11 years. His primary duties are to advise Defence Minister David Johnston and Defence Force chief David Hurley on matters of religion, worship and chaplaincy. Davis served in the Royal Australian Navy on the HMAS Quiberon in South-East Asia until he was discharged in 1964 to join the priesthood. After his ordination into the priesthood, Davis became a chaplain in the Army Reserves in 1971, serving four years before becoming a chaplain in the Royal Australian Navy in 1975. He steadily rose through the ranks and was ordained Bishop in August 2003.
Davis has voluntarily stepped down from his position as Bishop. Francis Sullivan, the chief executive of the Catholic Church's Truth Justice Healing Council, addressed the allegations and charges against Davis, saying:
"It's the first time that a serving bishop has had to step aside because of police charges. We don't know why he has been charged now. But what we do know... every allegation of child abuse needs to be examined and the bishop has done the right thing and stepped aside."
More about Catholic Church, Bishop, Sexual assault, Australia, Military
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