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Police close inquiry into Bishop Perham allegations

17 October 2014

THE Bishop of Gloucester, the Rt Revd Michael Perham, will face no further police action about historic allegations of indecent assault (News, 8 August), the Metropolitan Police confirmed on Tuesday.

The Bishop withdrew from ministry in his diocese in August, shortly before being questioned by police about the allegations. He was not arrested, but interviewed under caution on suspicion of indecent assault on a child aged under 18 years; and indecent assault on a second female, aged over 18 years. The alleged incidents were said to have occurred between 1980 and 1981, when he was Assistant Curate of Addington, then in the diocese of Canterbury.

On Wednesday, Bishop Perham said: "It was right that the allegations should be fully investigated, and I am gratified that the police have completed the investigation and concluded that there are no grounds for further action to be taken. My family and I are profoundly grateful for all the support and affirmation we have received through this very difficult time. I stepped aside from my ministry as Bishop of Gloucester during the investigations. I was sad to do so, but I accept it was necessary to step back for a while.

"The Church must now proceed with its own process, following its standard procedures when allegations are made against one of the clergy. I hope the process will conclude in time for me to return to my post to complete my ministry before I am due to retire, as planned, in November."

On Wednesday, the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, said that the C of E took any allegations of abuse very seriously. "As in any case where allegations of this nature are made, any police investigation is followed by a rigorous process to assess whether there are any ongoing safeguarding issues." He asked for continuing prayers for all those affected.

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