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Bishop Max Davis on his way into the Central Law Courts to face sex offences.
Bishop Max Davis on his way into the Central Law Courts to face sex offences. Picture: Michael O'Brien/The West Australian

A Catholic bishop will plead not guilty to charges alleging he sexually abused a child in New Norcia more than four decades ago.

Max Leroy Davis appeared in the Perth Magistrate's Court this morning facing three counts of unlawfully and indecently dealing with a child aged under 14.

Defence lawyer Seamus Rafferty told the court that Bishop Davis would be entering pleas of not guilty and the charges would need to be dealt with in the District Court.

Magistrate Paul Heaney granted Mr Rafferty's request for Bishop Davis to report to a police station in Canberra, where he lives, at his next court date and be excused from attending in person.

The 68-year-old, who is Bishop of the Australian Defence Force, is believed to be the most senior church official to be charged with a sex offence.

The charges allege that he abused a student while teaching at St Benedict's College in New Norcia in 1969, two years before he was ordained.

Bishop Davis has stood down while the charges are dealt with by the court.

His case was listed for a disclosure committal hearing on October 17.

The West Australian

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