Vicar cleared of rape al­le­ga­tion

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - PAUL BRIT­TON

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

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