ARRESTED: Bishop Michael Reid founder and ex-member of the Peniel Church
TRAVELLER SITE: Beads Hall Lane, Pilgrims Hatch
THE founder and former leader of the Peniel Church, Bishop Michael Reid, has been arrested on suspicion of rape.
It is understood that the controversial Bishop, 66 – who split from the Peniel Church after admitting to adultery – was arrested in the early hours of Thursday August 27 following an allegation of rape.
Gazette sources say police arrested Reid at his home on Coxtie Green Road at about 4am.
He has remained in the property close to the Peniel Church despite his split from the group in April 2008, when he admitted to an eight-year affair with a church member.
Asked to confirm Reid's arrest, Essex Police told the Gazette: "Police arrested a 66-year-old man from Brentwood on suspicion of rape in the early hours of Thursday August 27. He was bailed until November 28."
Reid – a former Metropolitan Police officer and insurance salesman – founded the Peniel Church in 1976 as a small bible study group, which grew to be a Pilgrims Hatch church of more than 800 members at its peak. He rose to national attention in 2005 when he led the protest against the BBC broadcasting Jerry Springer: The Opera.
A spokesperson for the Peniel Church told the Gazette: "Peniel Church is aware of certain allegations against Michael Reid.
"Although these allegations do not relate to the church in any way, if requested to do so, we will co-operate fully in any ongoing investigation."