Trial date set for Bishop Ball

The former Bishop of Gloucester will face two additional charges of indecent assault

The former Bishop of Gloucester will face two additional charges of indecent assault when he stands trial on 14 January 2015 the Crown Prosecution Service announced last week. On 1 August 2014 the Rt. Rev. Peter Ball was arraigned via videolink from the Brighton Court before the Lewes Crown Court to respond to charges that he had sexually assaulted a boy under the age of 16 between 1984 and 1985 and a young man over 16 between 1990 and 1991. He now faces additional charges of indecently assaulting a boy under 16 in 1984 or 1985 and a man over 16 in 1990 or 1991.

In 2012 a Sussex Police spokesman it 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.”

On 13 November 2012 Bishop Ball was arrested for crimes “allegedly committed against eight boys and young men, all of whom were at the time in their late teens or early twenties, except one who was 12.” The now 82 year old bishop was granted bail on medical grounds.

In May Jaswant Narwal, Chief Crown Prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service South East, said the bishop would face three counts at trial: Misconduct in public office between 1977 and 1992; Indecent assault on a boy aged 12/13 in 1978; and Indecent assault on a man aged 19/20 between 1980 and 1982.

Bishop Ball is expected to stand trial alongside Vickery House (68)  the former vicar of St Bartholomew’s Church in Brighton, who faces eight charges of indecent assault. House was arrested in 2012 and is accused of abusing a boy of 15 and five men ranging in age from 17 to 34 over a 16-year period.

Appointed suffragan Bishop of Lewes in 1997 and translated to Gloucester in 1992, Bishop Ball resigned in 1993 after admitting having received a police caution for having committed an act of gross indecency with a 19 year old man.

However the late Bishop of Chichester, the Rt. Rev. Eric Kemp, was skeptical of the veracity of the 1993 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.”

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