Retired Bishop of Gloucester arrested for child abuse

 

Retired Bishop of Gloucester arrested for child abuse

Author: 

George Conger

The former Bishop of Gloucester, the Rt. Rev. Peter Ball has been arrested for child abuse.
On 14 Nov 2012 detectives from the Sussex Police serious crimes unit arrested the retired bishop at his home Manor Lodge in the Somerset village of Aller – a “grace and favour” property owned by the Duchy of Cornwall – and charged him with eight counts of abuse on boys aged 12 to their early 20's committed approximately 25 years ago while Bishop Ball served as Bishop of Lewes in the Diocese of Chichester.
In 1993 Bishop Ball resigned after he was cautioned by the police for having committed an act of gross indecency against a teenager. The now 80 year old bishop was licenced to officiate at church services following his resignation, but has not had the licence renewed since 2010.
In June, the Church of England confirmed that “at our instigation a former police officer, now a safeguarding adviser, has undertaken a review of all files relating to a retired bishop.”
“On the basis of the findings, this review has now been forwarded to Sussex Police.” A spokesman for the Archbishop of Canterbury declined at that time to respond to queries on the investigation of Bishop Ball from Anglican Ink as the matter was in police hands.
Sussex police today said: "The investigation, which relates to alleged offences not previously reported to Sussex police, has taken six months so far. This is a very complex inquiry, in the course of which many people, all now adults, have had to be traced, together with other witnesses and records from a wide variety of sources, and there is continuing consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service.”
"There are no allegations of recent or current offending and police emphasise that there is nothing to suggest that any young people are currently at risk. Police also stress that the allegations are being treated separately and do not involve the two men allegedly acting together."
Educated at Lancing College and Queen’s College, Cambridge, Bishop Ball was ordained in 1956 and served his curacy in Rottingdean. After further study at Kelham Theological College, Bishop Ball with his twin brother, Michael — who later served as Suffragan Bishop of Jarrow and Bishop of Truro — formed the Community of the Glorious Ascension in Staffordshire. Bishop Ball served as prior of the community until his appointment as Suffragan Bishop of Lewes. In 1992 he was translated to Gloucester, but resigned within the year.
The late Bishop of Chichester, the Rt. Rev. Eric Kemp, was skeptical of the veracity of the charges brought against Bishop Ball. In his 2006 memoirs, Shy But Not Retiring,Bishop Kemp stated: “Although it was not realized at the time, the circumstances which led to his early resignation were the work of mischief makers.”