One of his victims has claimed that Peter Ball, the bishop who sexually abused young men, escaped justice thanks to a “deeply sinister, co-ordinated” cover-up.
The former Bishop of Gloucester groomed and abused 18 young men over a period spanning 15 years. He pleaded guilty to charges in September 2015 and was finally jailed in October.
He had been originally investigated in 1993 and was simply cautioned by police
The Telegraph reports:
Documents seen by the BBC suggest that his defence team in the first investigation sought a deal with the police to avoid scandal as the bishop was “friendly with Prince Charles”.
The Rev Graham Sawyer, one of the men abused by Ball, told the BBC: “It looks like there was a deeply sinister, co-ordinated, but probably in the end rather inept attempt at a cover-up.”
After Ball was sentenced, Lord Carey, who was the head of the Church of England when it emerged that the bishop had misused his power over teenagers and young men, apologised for dealing with his victims “inadequately” but denied presiding over a cover-up.
He said: “Allegations by some that my actions amounted to a cover-up or collusion with the abuser are wrong.”
According to the BBC, investigating officer Detective Inspector Wayne Murdock is said to have discussed with Ball’s legal team in the documents “the need to prevent a scandal in the press, especially as Peter was a frequent visitor to Sandringham and is friendly with Prince Charles”.
In a separate document released by Gloucestershire Police in response to an Freedom of Information request, Mr Murdock writes that after a meeting at Lambeth Palace, it was suggested that “any form of Church investigation instigated by the Archbishop of Canterbury would be ‘fairly low key and private’.”
He said the Church had displayed a “considerable amount of naivety” over the case as it took no action when advised in early September 1992 of “irregularities” concerning Ball.
Gloucestershire Police received messages of support for the former clergyman from MPs, former public school heads, JPs and a Lord Chief Justice, and Mr Murdock said: “According to defence sources they claim to have in excess of two thousand letters of support for Bishop Peter Ball, including letters from Cabinet ministers and Royal Family.”