32 month prison sentence for ex-bishop

The former Bishop of Gloucester, Peter John Ball, has been sentenced to 32 months imprisonment for abuse. At a hearing held on 7 Oct 2015 at the Central Criminal Court, the Old Bailey, in London Mr Justice Wilkie told Ball (83) that he had betrayed his calling and the trust placed in him. “You pursued selected individuals to commit or submit to acts of physical or sexual debasement under the guise of it being part of an austere regime of devotion. The judge added: “These acts were committed at your suggestion for your own sexual gratification.” Last month Ball pled guilty to sexually abusing 18 young men between 1977 and 1992. Appearing via videolink before Mr. Justice Sweeney at the Old Bailey from the Taunton Crown Court, Ball admitted he had misused his authority as a bishop to “manipulate and prevail upon others for his own sexual gratification” and to having indecently assaulted two other teenaged boys between 1980 and 1983 and 1990 and 1991. Ball denied two other counts of indecent assault on a boy of 12 or 13 and a 15-year-old youth and will not be pursued by the Crown Prosecution Service. Appointed suffragan Bishop of Lewes in the Diocese of Chichester in 1977, Ball was translated to Gloucester in 1992. The following year he resigned as Bishop of Gloucester after accepting a caution from police for having committed an act of gross indecency against a teenager. Following sentencing, Bobbie Cheema QC, who prosecuted the case for the Crown said Ball “was highly regarded as a godly man who had a special affinity with young people. The truth was that he used those 15 years in the position of bishop to identify, groom and exploit sensitive and vulnerable young men who came within his orbit. For him, religion was a cloak behind which he hid in order to satisfy his sexual interest in those who trusted him.”

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