Police review dossier over disgraced Bishop

SUSSEX Police are reviewing a dossier of information into disgraced former Sussex bishop, the Right Reverend Bishop Peter Ball.

The former Bishop of Lewes resigned in 1993 after being cautioned for an act of gross indecency against a teenager.

Now BBC Sussex is reporting that Sussex Police is reviewing files dating back 20 years to consider whether any future prosecution might be made.

Sussex Police confirmed: “Over the past 10 days we have 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 Church of England employed a former police officer to take on the role of a safeguarding advisor to review all files relating to the Right Reverend Bishop Ball. These were then forwarded to Sussex Police.

This latest development comes in the wake of a series of investigations into the conduct of priests working in the Church of England.

Earlier this year two retired Church of England priests were arrested in the Eastbourne area on suspicion of sexually abusing children and young men. Canon Gordon Rideout, 73, are both suspected of sexually assaulting young people between the mid-1960s to the mid-1990s. At the time, police said they were not linking the cases and both men have been bailed until next month.

Their arrests follow an investigation over the past six months by a team of specialist child protection detectives from Sussex Police. Last year, Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss conducted an inquiry into allegation of sexual abuse by Church of England priests against young people in Sussex and elsewhere.

Meanwhile, Bishop Wallace Benn, the Bishop of Lewes, is facing disciplinary action for alleged safeguarding mistakes, while the Archbishop of Canterbury has ordered an investigation into child protection failings at churches in Sussex.