A statement from the Bishop of Chester, the Rt Revd Peter Forster, following the Judgement of the Clergy Discipline Tribunal in the case of the Revd Simon Marsh, a former incumbent of St John the Baptist, Bollington:
Following the decision of the Tribunal fully to uphold the charges against the Revd Simon Marsh, I am greatly saddened that a member of the clergy in the Diocese of Chester should so misuse his position and abuse a vulnerable young woman.
I would pay tribute to the courage of the Complainant in supporting the formal complaint and being willing to submit herself to cross-examination during the hearing. I apologise unreservedly to her on behalf of the Church, and we will continue to offer pastoral support to her.
This is a sad and inexcusable tale of the abuse of trust and power by a priest of the Church of England. We will do all that we can to minimize the likelihood of the recurrence of such abuse.
It is now nearly 5 years since the original complaint was made to the police. This has been a very difficult time for the parish of St Michael, Bramhall, and I pay tribute to all those who have enabled the worship and wider life of the parish to continue with admirable resilience. We will now move as quickly as possible to appoint a new Vicar.
Rt Revd Peter Forster
Bishop of Chester
Read the full judgement and penalty decision on the Church of England website.