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Fenland priest voluntarily steps down from duties following historic child sex allegations

A Catholic priest from Fenland has stepped down from his duties after being accused of historic child sex abuse.

The accusations against Father Michael Ryan of Our Lady of Good Counsel & St Peter Catholic Church in March relate to his former ministry in Peru, South America.

A statement issued by the Right Rev Alan S Hopes, Catholic Bishop of East Anglia, explains Fr Michael took the decision to voluntarily withdraw from public ministry while the allegations are investigated by the statutory authorities including the police.

Father Michael Ryan has stepped down from his duties at March Catholic Church. (32356038)
Father Michael Ryan has stepped down from his duties at March Catholic Church. (32356038)

The statement said: "This is a neutral act which makes no judgment on his guilt or innocence and is in keeping with the national safeguarding policies and procedures of the Catholic Church in England and Wales.

"I would like to affirm that the safeguarding of children and vulnerable people is of paramount importance to the Catholic Church and the Diocese is co-operating fully with the statutory authorities in this investigation.

"I know this must have come as a shock to you all, but I would ask you to keep all who are involved in this ongoing investigation, including Fr Michael, in your prayers.

"It would be inappropriate for me to make any further comments at the present but please be assured of my prayers for you all at this time.

"If anyone has any concerns arising from this statement then they may contact the Diocesan safeguarding co-ordinator."

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