An Episcopal priest in Birmingham, Alabama, has been arrested for possessing child pornography.
Michael Glenn Rich previously taught journalism at Auburn University, reports AL.com. He became a priest in 2006 and in 2014 began serving St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Birmingham.
After learning of the charges, Rich was immediately suspended from the ministry, said Rt. Rev. John McKee Sloan, bishop for the Diocese of Alabama.
“Our community prays for all who are victims of exploitation,” said Sloan in a statement provided to the media, including AL.com and ABC 33/40. “The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Alabama are committed to guarding against sexual misconduct in all its ugly abusive forms.”
Rich was one of two Jefferson County men arrested in a sting operation carried out by authorities in Alabama and Georgia. Rich was arrested Nov. 16 and charged with three counts of possession of child pornography. He was released from jail the same day.
Authorities said Rich was arrested after they received a tip that prompted an investigation into his internet use. Investigators found multiple images of child pornography on his electronic devices. The investigation is ongoing and more charges could be brought.
The five-day sting operation led to more than two dozen arrests and identifying at least 22 children who had been sexually exploited.