Birmingham priest arrested on child porn charges

 

Birmingham priest arrested on child porn charges

Author: 

George Conger

The rector of St Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Birmingham, AL, was arrested this week by police on charges of possession of child pornography. On 20 Nov 2017 the Alabama Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force announced the Rev. Michael Rich had been arrested during a state-wide sweep of child predators. He has been charged with three counts of possession of child pornograph.

A former professor of journalism at Auburn University, Dr Rich (58), entered the ministry late in life, and was ordained in 2006. He served as priest in charge of St Luke’s in  Jacksonville, AL,  before accepting a call to serve as rector of St Luke’s in 2014.

The Rt. Rev. John McKee Sloan, Bishop of Alabama, released a statement on 21 Nov 2017 following the news of the arrest.

Our diocese is grieved by the arrest of Michael Rich, who had been serving as a priest in Birmingham. Upon learning of the charges against him, Rich was immediately suspended from the practice of ministry within the Episcopal Church, and proceedings under the disciplinary canons of our church have been initiated. Our community prays for all who are victims of exploitation. The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Alabama are committed to guarding against sexual misconduct in all its ugly abusive forms. We are united in proclaiming that our hope is in God, who created all that is, who redeems us from all of our selfish sinfulness, and who sustains and guides us, even in our darkest days.

AI has not been able to contact Dr. Rich to ask for his comments. His name and contact information remain posted on his parish website, as does a statement on the church’s sexual misconduct policy which reads: “St. Andrew’s Parish and the Diocese of Alabama strictly prohibit sexual misconduct of any type by any ordained person or any church worker, including volunteers, functioning in the Diocese of Alabama.”

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