A MARRIED Church of England vicar told a vulnerable teenager she was “disobeying God” by refusing to have sex with him, a tribunal heard.
Simon Marsh, 59, made the girl, under 16 at the time, perform a sex act on him when she accidentally spilled coffee.
He said it was “her duty to allow him to behave as he did” and that it was “fine with God”, the Manchester Evening News reports.
On another occasion he had sex with the youngster, saying “it would only happen once because God couldn’t approve of more”.
Marsh, vicar of St Michael and All Angels Church in Bramhall, Stockport, at the time, has been prohibited from exercising any ministerial functions as a member of Church of England clergy for life.
He’s also been prohibited from exercising any ministerial functions as a member of Church of England clergy for life.
The tribunal ruled that he’d targeted the girl as she was “looking for emotional and proper parental support” after what was described as an “unhappy, dysfunctional family life”.
He’d shared poems about love and sex with her and told her to keep their meetings a secret.
Marsh bought her presents, told her he loved her and encouraged her to sent him intimate messages on a website.
He referred to himself as ‘Gabriel’ – meaning ‘the messenger’ – and her by the private nickname ‘Raphael’.
A church disciplinary tribunal ruled Stockport vicar Marsh abused the girl, from a dysfunctional family, in an “inexcusable abuse of power”.
It said he made her submit to sexual demands.
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Rape charges against Marsh were dropped in 2014 due to insufficient evidence. He has been removed from office.
The burden of proof at the tribunal, brought by the Archdeacon of Macclesfield, was to a civil standard and the case against him was found proved in full.
The Bishop of Chester, Rt Rev Dr Peter Forster, has apologised for “a sad and inexcusable tale of the abuse of trust and power by a priest”.
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