Disgraced Sussex bishop may have impersonated his twin brother

Former bishop Peter Ball arrives at Taunton Magistrates Court, Taunton, Somerset. 23 May 2014. SUS-150909-155659001

Former bishop Peter Ball arrives at Taunton Magistrates Court, Taunton, Somerset. 23 May 2014. SUS-150909-155659001

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The former Bishop of Lewes, who was jailed last year for sexual abuse, may have impersonated his identical twin brother, the Church of England has said.

Last year, Peter Ball, 84, admitted abusing 18 teenagers and young men while he was Bishop of Lewes in the 1970s and 1980s.

Following the conviction the Church began an investigation into claims Ball had impersonated his identical twin brother Michael Ball – who had been Bishop of Truro in the 1990s.

Churches are now being asked to check their records to see if Peter Ball had led services in his brother’s place.

The current Bishop of Truro, the Right Reverend Tim Thornton told the BBC, “We have one or two bits of evidence now where it does appear as if Bishop Peter went and did things which Bishop Michael should have been doing.

“It might be that Bishop Peter thought it was clear that he was being Bishop Peter, and on some occasions might have made it very clear at the beginning that he was there in place of his brother, but it might not have been evident to everybody.”

Last October Peter Ball was jailed for 32 months for charges of indecent assault and misconduct in public office following a Sussex Police investigation launched in 2012.

After an earlier investigation in 1993, Ball was cautioned for gross indecency but allowed to continue working in churches until 2010.

An independent inquiry led by Dame Moira Gibb is currently investigating the way the Church responded to the case of Peter Ball and how much the it knew about the former bishop’s activities.

The separate Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) chaired by Justice Lowell Goddard is also examining the Peter Ball case.

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