Former Auburn University professor turned priest busted in massive Alabama child porn sting
Episcopal priest Rev. Michael Glenn Rich was one of two men arrested in a state operation to nab child predators.
According to AL.com, Rich was once a well-respected faith leader, but he is now charged with three counts of possession of child pornography.
Rich was an assistant professor at Auburn University before being ordained in 2006. He then took over the clergy position at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, but didn’t become a priest
Rich was formerly an assistant professor of journalism at Auburn University. He was ordained May 31, 2006, as clergy in charge at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Jacksonville. In 2014 he took over as top priest for St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Birmingham.
“Our diocese is grieved by the arrest of Michael Rich,” said Right Rev. John McKee Sloan said in a statement. “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. 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.”
Rich was arrested along with Thomas Morrison Hart Jr. as part of an operation by Alabama Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force. The investigation began Nov. 13.
Lt. Brook Walker, ICAC commander and commander of ALEA’s Special Victims Unit explained that they received a tip about Rich and the investigation led to a search through his internet activity and that he had uploaded illicit images to the internet. After a search warrant was issued, he was found to have multiple images.
The investigation included a forensic analysis of his electronic devices and more charges are possible depending on that on-going investigation, Walker explained.