Bishop Max Davis, a senior member of Australia’s Catholic Church, has stepped down from his position after being charged with sexually abusing a 13-year-old boy in 1969.
Davis, who is believed to be Australia’s first bishop to be charged with sexually abusing a teenager, was a teacher at St. Benedict's College in New Norcia, northeast of Perth, when the alleged incident took place, the Catholic Military Ordinariate of Australia reportedly said, in a statement. According to reports, Davis faces three counts of indecent treatment of a child under the age of 14.
"At that time - 45 years ago - the bishop was not ordained. The bishop emphatically denies the allegation and the charge will be defended," the Ordinariate, which is the Catholic Diocese of the country’s defense force, said in the statement.
The statement also reportedly said that Davis will not be allowed to continue in his role as a member of the Religious Advisory Committee to the Services until the court has made its ruling. Davis reportedly holds a military rank that is equivalent to a two-star officer.
"Defence is aware civilian police have laid charges against Bishop Max Davis," a spokeswoman for the Australian Defence Force said, according to Channel News Asia. "It would be inappropriate for Defence to comment further while this matter is subject to judicial proceedings."
According to reports, the military is conducting a separate inquiry into the matter. Davis is expected to appear in a Perth court on July 25.