Aussie bishop charged with sexual assault of child

The Australian Bishop who heads the Church’s military diocese has been charged with child sex offences that allegedly took place in 1969.

Bishop Max Davis was not ordained at the time of the alleged offending, and he “emphatically denies” the charges, which will be defended.

It is understood he is the first Australian bishop and the most senior Australian Church official to be charged with a child sex offence.

The alleged offending involving a boy aged 13 years at the time.

It is alleged to have taken place when Davis was teaching at St Benedict’s College in New Norcia, northeast of Perth, West Australian police say.

This was two years before he was ordained as a priest.

“The 68-year-old man from the Australian Capital Territory has been charged with three counts of indecent treatment of children under 14,” police said.

Bishop Davis is due to appear in the Perth Magistrates Court on July 25.

He will stand aside from his role while the matter is before the courts.

Bishop Davis had been the head of the Catholic Church Military Ordinariate of Australia for 11 years.

He was also a member of the Religious Advisory Committee to the Services and held a military rank equivalent to a two-star officer.

He advised Australian Defence Minister David Johnston and Defence Force chief David Hurley on matters of religion, worship and chaplaincy.

After finishing secondary school, Max Davis joined the Royal Australian Navy and served until he was discharged in 1964 to study for the priesthood.

He studied in New Norcia and then New South Wales, eventually returning to New Norcia where he was ordained priest in 1971.

His biography on the CMOA website says he “continued his appointment on the staff of St Benedict’s College at New Norcia for a time” after he was ordained.

He became a chaplain in the Army Reserves in 1971 and the RAN in 1975, and was ordained bishop in 2003.

In 1998, he was appointed an officer of the Order of Australia for “exceptional service to the RAN, particularly as the director general of chaplaincy”.


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