Vicar cleared of rape allegation
ACHURCH vicar arrested over an allegation of rape has been cleared.
No further action is to be taken against Anglican priest Simon Marsh after a 15-month police investigation.
The Rev Marsh served as Vicar of St Paul’s in Macclesfield from 1990 until 1996, and then as Vicar of St John the Baptist in Bollington from September 2001 until 2006.
Currently vicar of St Michael and All Angels CE Church in Stockport, he was arrested by police on suspicion of rape in April last year after an allegation was made against him.
The 56-year-old has remained on police bail pending further enquiries ever since, but police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) have now confirmed that no further action will be taken against him.
A file of evidence was passed by police to the CPS for a decision, but it was ruled that there was insufficient evidence.
The alleged offences were said to have occurred between 2011 and 2013 involving a woman aged between 16 and 19 at the time. Parishioners at the church in Bramhall, were told news of the Rev Marsh’s arrest in church services and senior priests have stood in for him throughout the period of the enquiry, as he was suspended from his position.
An internal Church of England investigation is now underway in line with policy.
A police spokesman confirmed that the Rev Marsh was told no further action would be taken against him over the allegation.
A CPS spokesman said: “Following receipt of a file from Greater Manchester Police, the CPS has conducted a thorough review of the evidence in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors.
“We have reached a decision that there is insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction and therefore consider that no further action should be taken in this case.”
The Rev Marsh has served as a parish priest in five separate parishes.
The Church of England Diocese of Chester said in a statement: “The Rev Simon Marsh has agreed not to conduct services or be actively engaged in parish ministry in Bramhall for the time being.
“Now that we’ve been informed the criminal investigation has finished, and the case closed with no charges being brought, an internal investigation by the Diocese of Chester is underway.”
‘No further action should be taken’
●● Rev Simon Marsh is an Anglican priest at St Michael and All Angels