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Australian Catholic bishop charged with sexually abusing teen student in 1960s

This undated photo provided by Australian Catholic Bishops Conference shows Bishop Max Davis in Australia. Bishop Davis of Australia's Catholic Church has stepped down from his post after being charged Monday, June 30, 2014 with sexually abusing a teenaged student in 1969. Davis, the head of the church's military diocese, is accused of abusing a student when he was a teacher at St. Benedict's College in Western Australia. (AP Photo/Australian Catholic Bishops Conference)

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This undated photo provided by Australian Catholic Bishops Conference shows Bishop Max Davis in Australia. Bishop Davis of Australia's Catholic Church has stepped down from his post after being charged Monday, June 30, 2014 with sexually abusing a teenaged student in 1969. Davis, the head of the church's military diocese, is accused of abusing a student when he was a teacher at St. Benedict's College in Western Australia. (AP Photo/Australian Catholic Bishops Conference)

SYDNEY - A senior member of Australia's Catholic Church has stepped down from his post after being charged with sexually abusing a teenaged student decades ago, the church said Monday.

Bishop Max Davis, the head of the church's military diocese, is accused of abusing a student in 1969 when he was a teacher at St. Benedict's College in Western Australia, the Catholic Military Ordinariate of Australia said in a statement. The Ordinariate is the Catholic Diocese of the country's defence force.

Davis denies the charges, the church said.

Western Australia police said they charged a 68-year-old man on Friday with indecently assaulting a 13-year-old boy. The man, who police did not name, faces three counts of indecent treatment of a child under the age of 14.

Davis has stepped down while the court deals with the case.

"At that time — 45 years ago — the bishop was not ordained," the church said in a statement. "The bishop emphatically denies the allegation and the charge will be defended."

Davis will appear in a Perth court on July 25.

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