A Chicago preacher, who provoked controversy when an image of him in the bath with his granddaughter emerged online, has defended his actions.

Bishop Larry Trotter, the senior pastor of the Sweet Holy Spirit Church, was accused of having inappropriate interactions with a minor after the picture was posted on his Instragram page.

In the picture, Trotter and his granddaughter smile for the camera while covered in bubbles from the neck down.

The viral image has stirred a huge response from the online community with many calling for child protective services to get involved.

Calling into the John Hannah Morning Show, Trotter insisted that the photo was innocent and that the backlash he received had hurt him and his family.

"It is a very dark time and a very hurtful time for my family because what was innocent has become very ugly and nasty," he said.

According to Trotter, his four-year-old granddaughter, along with her parents, were visiting for the weekend. While he was taking a bubble bath, the little girl came in the bathroom and asked if she could get in the tub.

"My grandbaby who is four came in and said 'Popo where did you get all the bubbles from' and I teased her and said that I make bubbles," he explained.

"When she asked if she could get in Jovian her mother put some trunks on her, as I did mine, and she got into the tub for five minutes I guess."

In the interview, he stated that it was the child's mother that took the picture and another family member, with access to his Instagram account, with uploading it to the Internet.

"I know some people have never bathed with their kids but when I was growing up we shared bathwater."

"I am not ashamed of what I did. I am ashamed and hurt that it has gone out into the world and people have called me everything from a child molester to a paedophile, to a nasty old man"

Asked if he could do things differently, Bishop Trotter told the Hannah Show that he would never do "it" again.

He has since closed down his Instragram and Facebook pages.

Watch the interview here: