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Bishop ‘steps back’ and helps police with inquiries

08 August 2014

THE Bishop of Gloucester, the Rt Revd Michael Perham, withdrew from ministry in his diocese on Saturday, shortly before being questioned by police about historic allegations of indecent assault.

A tweet from a diocesan officer on Saturday read: "For personal reasons, Rt Revd Michael Perham has stepped back from his ministry as the Bishop of Gloucester."

On Tuesday, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Police confirmed that, on Tuesday, a 66-year-old man attended a police station in Gloucestershire by appointment, "where he was 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. He was not arrested.

"The alleged incidents are said to have occurred between 1980 and 1981 and are being investigated by officers from the Metropolitan Police Service's Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command."

In a letter to the diocese issued on Wednesday, the Bishop of Tewkesbury, the Rt Revd Martyn Snow, confirmed that, the previous day, the Archbishop of Canterbury had signed an Instrument of Delegation, allowing him to act as diocesan bishop. 

Referring to the police investigation, he said: "You will all realise that this is therefore a traumatic time for Bishop Michael, his family and for those who have made the allegations. Please hold them in your prayers."

From 1976 to 1981, Bishop Perham, who has been married since 1982, and has four daughters, was Assistant Curate of Addington, in the diocese of Canterbury. In February, he announced his intention to retire on 21 November, after ten years in post, when he will be 67.

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