THE chief executive of the Barnabas Fund, Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, has resigned from his post, after he was arrested on suspicion of indecent assault. He was arrested by police at Heathrow Airport at 8.30 p.m. on Saturday. Two days later, his resignation from all positions at the Barnabas Fund was announced on the charity’s website.
In a statement, the Metropolitan Police said: “At 20:32hrs on Saturday, 21 November, officers from Heathrow Airport arrested a 68-year-old man on suspicion of indecent assault.
“He was taken to a west London police station and was later released on police bail to a date in late January pending further enquiries.”
The statement from the Barnabas Fund, which supports Christians who are persecuted overseas, made no mention of his arrest. It said: “Dr Sookhdeo founded Barnabas Fund and has led it with zeal, vision, and integrity for 22 years. We are immensely grieved that current circumstances oblige him to step down.”
The board of trustees, who wrote the statement, said that Dr Sookhdeo’s resignation brought them “great sorrow”. They also quoted Dr Sookhdeo as saying: “It has been a privilege to serve the persecuted Church for many years. I hope for many years to come I can continue serving those whom the world often doesn’t notice. Please pray for me, as I pray for others.”
Dr Sookhdeo was convicted of sexual assault and intimidating witnesses earlier this year at Swindon Crown Court (News, 27 February). He was sentenced to three months community service, and ordered to pay £3500 costs.
He had earlier been cleared by an internal investigation at the Fund, and its trustees continued to back him, its vice-chairman saying that he believed Dr Sookhdeo was innocent (News, 8 May).