Common Roots: Ancient Evangelical Future Conference

Bishop of Gloucester questioned by police

A second Bishop of Gloucester has been questioned by police over claims of sexual abuse.

A second Bishop of Gloucester has been questioned by police over claims of sexual abuse. The Rt. Rev. Michael Perham stepped down from office last week, the day before he was questioned by police over allegations he had sexually abused a girl and a woman in the early 1980’s.

At the time of Friday’s shock announcement he had already announced his decision to retire after ten years as the Bishop of Gloucester and was due to leave on his 67th birthday, November 8, after undertaking a pilgrimage around the diocese.

On August 1, 2014 the diocese announced the bishop was standing down immediately for “personal reasons”. The announcement was unexpected as the bishop had been scheduled to lead services at the diocesan cathedral over the weekend to commemorate the anniversary of the First World War. He also had been scheduled to retire on November 8, 2014, on his 67th birthday following ten years of service as bishop.

However this week a spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said: “A 66 year old man attended a police station in Gloucestershire by appointment and was interviewed on suspicion of indecent assault of a child aged under 18 and indecent assault of a second female aged over 18.

“He was not arrested. The alleged incidents are said to have occurred between 1980 and 1981. Inquiries continue.”

A spokesman for the Diocese in Gloucester said: “This is a police matter. We have no further comment to make at this point.”

Bishop Perham served as curate at St Mary’s Addington in Croydon Croydon from 1976 until 1981 when he moved to become chaplain at Winchester Cathedral, prior to taking up positions in Poole and Derby.

Appointed Bishop of Gloucester in 2004, Bishop was a member of the House of Bishops’ standing committee in the Lords and served on the working party reviewing the Church of England’s teaching on human sexuality.

He is the second Bishop of Gloucester to have been questioned by police over historic sex crimes. On November 13, 2012 the Rt. Rev. Peter Ball was arrested by police and questioned over allegations of sexually abusing boys. Appointed Suffragan Bishop of Lewes in 1977 and translated to Gloucester in 1992, Bishop Ball resigned in 1993, after receiving a formal police caution for committing an act of gross indecency with a 19-year-old man.

In 2012 the Church of England gave its files on Bishop Ball to the Sussex police who reviewed abuse complaints made against the bishop. A police spokesman said the assaults “were allegedly committed against eight boys and young men, all of whom were at [the] time in their late teens or early twenties, except one who was 12.”

On March 27, 2014 the Chief Crown Prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service South East, Jaswant Narwal, said Bishop Ball would be tried for one count of misconduct in public office between 1977 and 1992, one count of indecent assault on a boy, aged 12 or 13, in 1978, and one count of indecent assault on a man, aged 19 or 20, between 1980 and 1982.

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