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Birmingham Priest Arrested In Massive Alabama Child Porn Sting

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Birmingham Priest Arrested In Massive Alabama Child Porn Sting




A former college journalism professor turned Episcopal priest was one of two men arrested in a massive state operation aimed at child predators, reports AL.com.

Rev. Michael Glenn Rich, 56, was charged with three counts of possession of child pornography, according to ALEA’s Alabama Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force.

Rich, a former assistant professor of journalism at Auburn University, was ordained May 31, 2006, as clergy in charge at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Jacksonville. In 2014, he took over as the top priest for St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Birmingham.

“Our diocese is grieved by the arrest of Michael Rich. Upon learning of the charges against him, Rich was immediately suspended from the practice of ministry within the Episcopal Church, and proceedings under the disciplinary canons of our church have been initiated,” said Right Rev. John McKee Sloan, Bishop Diocesan, Diocese of Alabama, in a statement to AL.com. “The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Alabama are committed to guarding against sexual misconduct in all its ugly abusive forms. Our churches are united in proclaiming that our hope is in God, who created all that is, who redeems us from all of our selfish sinfulness, and who sustains and guides us, even in our darkest days.”




AL.com reports:

Rich and Thomas Morrison Hart J., 46, of Adamsville were arrested last week during Operation Standing Guard II, which began on Nov. 13 in the Birmingham area, said Lt. Brook Walker, ICAC commander and commander of ALEA’s Special Victims Unit. Hart is charged with charged with five counts of possession of child pornography. Hart was arrested Nov. 15, and released from jail the following day. Rich was arrested Nov. 16, and released from jail the same day.

Walker on Tuesday said Rich was arrested after the Special Victims Unit received a tip that initiated an investigation into his internet activity and the use of it to upload illicit images to the internet. After a search warrant and initial investigation, it was determined that Rich possessed multiple images of child pornography on his electronic devices. Walker said the investigation, including a forensic analysis on his electronics, is ongoing. More charges are possible depending on the results of that analysis. Right now, Walker said the probe focuses on Rich’s personal devices.

The five-day sting netted 100 electronic devices, carried out eight search warrants, identified 22 children that were being sexually exploited through social media, and initiated two sexual assault cases.



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