Celebration as retired Bishop of Gloucester is cleared of sexual assault, asked to resume ministry

Scotland Yard stated last October that the bishop would face no further action on allegations involving a woman and a girl from between 1980 and 1981 when he was a curate in south London

Bishop of Gloucester Michael Perham after the Synod session which approved the consecration of women bishops, in York July 14, 2014. His successor will be the Ven Rachel Treweek.

The former Bishop of Gloucester, Michael Perham, is to resume his ministry in retirement after being cleared of all allegations of indecent assault.

An independent risk assessment by the Church of England has found he can return to ministry. His postponed retirement celebrations can now take place, Christian Today reports.

Scotland Yard stated last October that the bishop would face no further action on allegations involving a woman and a girl from between 1980 and 1981 when he was a curate in south London.

As is standard safeguarding practice, the Church of England then had to complete its own review.

Bishop Perham, married with four daughters, said: "I am glad that the church process has concluded and that the outcome is clear and decisive.

"The Church has to be rigorous in its approach to safeguarding and, as I made absolutely clear from the start, its investigations had to be thorough to leave no doubt about its conclusions.

"I am, of course, immensely heartened that I can now return to ministry in my retirement. I have a deep sense of gratitude to all in the Diocese of Gloucester, and beyond, who have supported, encouraged and upheld me, and my family, through a long and testing process.

"Now I can look forward to a celebration in Gloucester to bring my ministry there as its bishop for 10 years to a proper conclusion and, afterwards, to a new phase of being a priest and bishop in active retirement."

The Diocese of Gloucester said: "We are gladdened by today's news from Lambeth Palace that following the completed review and independent risk assessment, Bishop Michael has been cleared to take up ministry in his retirement.

"We look forward to marking Bishop Michael's committed and dedicated ministry to this diocese, with a service of thanksgiving at Gloucester Cathedral on Saturday 13 June."

Lambeth Palace said: "Following a police investigation concerning Bishop Michael Perham last year, which resulted in no further action, the matter was reviewed by the Church of England in accordance with its national safeguarding policy. With the full co-operation of the Bishop an independent risk assessment has been satisfactorily completed and as a result Bishop Michael will be able to take up Ministry in retirement, and the postponed farewells for him in Gloucester can now take place."

Bishop Perham will be succeeded by the first woman diocesan bishop in the Church of England, the Ven Rachel Treweek.

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