Police delay interview with former Bishop of Lewes after arrest

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POLICE have released the former Bishop of Lewes after arresting him yesterday on suspicion of sex abuse in East Sussex dating back more than 20 years.

The Right Reverend Peter Ball was released on medical advice following his arrest. Sussex Police have said it is their intention to interview him at a later date.

The former bishop of Lewes and Gloucester, is being held on suspicion of abusing eight boys and men in the late 1980s and early 1990s. All of the victims were in their late teens or early twenties, except one who was 12. He was arrested at his home near Langport, Somerset.

In a statement, Sussex Police said: “We will continue pursue allegations of sexual offending robustly.

“Investigations must always include proper regard for the health and welfare of suspects, as well as for that of victims, and we also comply with the requirements of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act in relation to the treatment of people under arrest.”

In a separate development, police also arrested retired Church of England priest, Vickery House, at his home in Haywards Heath yesterday. He was arrested on suspicion of two separate sexual offences against two boys aged 17 and 18 at the time, in East Sussex between 1981 and 1983.

Mr House was interviewed in Sussex and released on police bail late yesterday afternoon until Thursday, November 29 while enquiries continue.

The arrests follow a review and investigation over the past six months by a team of Sussex Police detectives.

This comes in the wake of two reports released by Lambeth Palace in May this year from a Church of England safeguarding consultant, which contained reviews of Church files over the safeguarding of young people in the Chichester Diocese during the 1980’s and early 1990’s.

Police have said there are no allegations of recent or current offending and there is nothing to suggest that any young people are currently at risk.

Police have also pointed out that that the allegations concerning the former Right Reverend Peter Ball and Vickery House are being treated separately and do not involve the two men allegedly acting together.