'Bonking Bishop' held on rape claim

Metro, UK/September 9, 2009

A former church leader dubbed 'The Bonking Bishop of Brentwood' has been questioned on suspicion of rape.

Michael Reid, who was thrown out of the sect he set up after admitting adultery last year, was arrested in a dawn raid.

'A 66-year-old man from Brentwood was arrested on August 27 on suspicion of historical rape,' a spokesman for Essex Police said. 'It is at the early stages of the investigation and he has been bailed until November.'

Reid, a married father of three, founded the Peniel Church in Pilgrim's Hatch, Essex, in 1976 as a Bible study group. Its congregation has since swelled to 800 and a second ministry has been set up in Arizona.

The ex-policeman hit the headlines in 2005 when he led calls against the BBC's decision to broadcast the controversial musical Jerry Springer: The Opera.

But last year he was booted out of the church after his wife Ruth discovered he had been having an eight-year affair with a member of the congregation. Reid confessed he had 'sinned'.

A spokesman for the Peniel Church said, if asked, it would 'co-operate fully' with the investigation.

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