A NSW Catholic priest has been charged with a number of child sex offences.
He is the fourth priest to be charged by Strike Force Georgiana detectives, who are investigating a number of alleged sexual assaults on young boys in the greater Newcastle area in the 1970s, '80s and '90s.
The 47-year-old Raymond Terrace man, who was arrested yesterday, was suspended from pastoral duties in May last year, pending the investigation by the strike force.
He has been charged with two counts of indecent assault upon a child under the age of 16 and under authority, and five counts of sexual assault upon a child under 16 and under authority.
He was granted conditional bail and will appear at Newcastle Local Court on March 11.
The charges relate to alleged offences at Cessnock in the early 1990s.
The arrest follows those of four other men last year, three of them Catholic priests.
Detectives from Strike Force Georgiana have so far laid 178 charges against five people after launching the investigation in April last year.
Superintendent Craig Rae, Lake Macquarie Local Area Commander, said detectives had received ongoing assistance from the Newcastle-Maitland Diocese of the Catholic Church throughout the investigation.
"I would encourage anyone with further information in this matter to come forward to police in the knowledge they will be supported and their complaints investigated," he said in a statement today.
Anyone with information is asked to phone Strike Force Georgiana on 4942 9999 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.