A vicar was forced to step down as a school governor after his congratulatory kiss for a ten-year-old girl sparked a police investigation.
Reverend Alan Barrett, vicar of St Editha's Church in Tamworth, Staffordshire, pecked the girl on the cheek in front of fellow pupils and her maths teacher at William McGregor Primary School in Glascote, Tamworth.
The 58-year-old cleric's innocent gesture was meant to congratulate the youngster after she finally cracked a maths problem she had been struggling with in class.
However, the girl's mother complained to the school and Mr Barrett was subsequently investigated by the police, social services and the Diocese of Lichfield.
A child protection inquiry concluded there was no case to answer, but an informal investigation by the Archdeacon of Lichfield, the Ven Chris Liley, deemed Mr Barrett's behaviour "inappropriate".
Although the diocese felt formal disciplinary proceedings were not justified, Mr Barrett has resigned from his position as chairman of the board of governors at his school.
In a statement, he said: "After visiting the school of which I was chair of governors, helping some pupils with their classwork, and congratulating one who had struggled, I was stunned to hear that I was subject to a police and social services investigation, exam-ining my character, conduct and ministry.
"I was relieved when they found that there was no case to answer, and I could continue with my life."
He said his relationship with the headteacher of the school had been under strain and he agreed that the "incident had not helped".
The vicar added: "I agreed that one cannot be too careful these days, and that even giving a child a kiss of congratulations is inappropriate in this day and age."
During the police investigation, Mr Barrett was told to have no contact with the school and to cease from duties at other schools.
A spokesman for Lichfield diocese said the reaction to behaviour previously recognised as "acceptable and innocent" was indicative of a change in social climate rather than guilt at wrong-doing.
"The investigation was conducted after a complaint from a mother that Mr Barrett had kissed her daughter on the cheek," he said.
"Mr Barrett had done this during a maths lesson at a school on May 5 this year. He did this to congratulate her for an achievement at a time when other pupils and the teacher were present.
"The conclusion that Mr Barrett had acted inappropriately is not a finding of guilt or negligence, but recognition that in today's climate, previously acceptable, innocent behaviour is now subject to misunderstanding and suspicion.
"As the complaint and subsequent police investigation demonstrates, the simple act of a kiss on the cheek - a common greeting throughout the world - had potentially damaging consequences."
The girl did not press charges but her mother said she was disappointed with the way the school handled the complaint.
She has already complained to the school's board of governors, Staffordshire Education Authority, police and Tam-worth MP Brian Jenkins.
Staffordshire Country Council said: "A child protection inquiry was initiated and subsequently concluded. There was no case to answer."
A Staffordshire Police spokesman said: "Based on interviews, we felt that no further police action should be taken. He was not cautioned."