Former Bishop of Lewes charged with sex offences relating to young boy

FORMER Bishop of Lewes Peter Ball is to appear in court facing three charges of indecent assault and misconduct whilst in public office.

Mr Ball, 82, now of Langport in Somerset, is due to appear at Brighton Magistrates Court on April 10 after the Crown Prosecution Service authorised prosecution last Thursday.

He is charged with misconduct in public office between October 1977 and December 1992 while a Bishop in the Church of England, by misusing his position and authority to manipulate and prevail upon others for his own sexual gratification; indecent assault on a boy aged between 12 and 13, in 1978 and indecent assault on a man aged 19 to 20, between 1980 and 1982.

In his time as Bishop, from 1977 to 1992, Mr Ball would have been involved with churches in the Rye and Battle area.

The prosecution follows Operation Dunhill, an investigation by Sussex Police detectives into information received from the Church of England in May 2012.

The team, working with the full co-operation of the Church of England, investigated alleged sexual offences by Bishop Ball against 19 men and young boys, who were at time in their late teens or early twenties, at addresses in East Sussex and elsewhere between the 1970s and the early 1980s, except for two who were 12 and 13 when the alleged offending occurred in the late 1970s.

Bishop Ball was arrested on 13 November 2012 but was released at his home that afternoon on medical advice, without being interviewed.

It was subsequently established, following medical advice, that he was not medically fit to be further arrested, or interviewed by police.

However in March 2013 he was supplied by police with details in writing of the allegations against him, and supplied a written response.

This response was submitted to the CPS in May 2013, along with all the other evidence obtained during the investigation.

Since that date Sussex Police have continued to provide the CPS with all the further information they requested to assist in their decision making process.

Jaswant Narwal, chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS South East, said: “After a thorough and careful review, I have decided that Peter Ball should be prosecuted for misconduct in public office and two indecent assaults.”