Former Bishop of Gloucester under police investigation: The Church of England Newspaper, June 10, 2012 p 2. June 11, 2012Posted by geoconger in Abuse, Church of England, Church of England Newspaper.
Tags: Diocese of Chichester, Peter Ball
Sussex Police have begun an investigation of the former Bishop of Gloucester after the Church of England turned over the results of its internal review of the Rt. Rev. Peter Ball.
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.
A Church House spokesman told the BBC 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.”
The spokesman stated that as the matter was now in police hands, the church would not be commenting further. Spokesmen for the Archbishop of Canterbury also declined to respond to queries on the investigation of Bishop Ball from The Church of England Newspaper.
A police spokesman said that over the past two weeks the Sussex Police had “received from Lambeth Palace two reports from a Church safeguarding consultant, which contain reviews of Church safeguarding files relating to historic issues in the Chichester Diocese. We have also received the files themselves.
“The reports and files relate to matters more than 20 years ago and we will review the contents in order to establish whether any police investigation of possible criminal offences would be merited.”
“This review is likely to take several weeks. We are not prepared to expand on this statement at this time,” the police spokesman said.
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.”
First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.