New witnesses for inquiry into former Bishop of Lewes

Former Bishop of Lewes Peter Ball
Former Bishop of Lewes Peter Ball

Victims and alleged victims of the former Bishop of Lewes will give evidence to the Goddard inquiry into child sexual abuse despite initially being turned away.

In all six complainants – either allegedly abused or established to have been abused by disgraced bishop Peter Ball – will be allowed to give evidence after being named as ‘core participants’ in the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), also known as the Goddard inquiry.

They were provisionally denied this status as they were over 18-years-old at the time of the offences and alleged offences, falling outside of the inquiry’s initial remit. This decision was later reversed and confirmed at a preliminary hearing of the inquiry on Wednesday (July 27).

Set-up in 2015 in the wake of the Jimmy Saville case, the Goddard inquiry aims to investigate the extent to which UK institutions have failed to protect children. Chaired by Dame Lowell Goddard it is looking at a number of institutions including the Anglican Church.

Following the preliminary hearing, Graham Tilby the Church’s national safeguarding adviser said: "We welcome today's (July 27) update on the investigation into the Anglican Church in England and Wales and the acknowledgement from the Inquiry that the material already submitted is relevant and useful. We note that the Inquiry has received a substantial amount of material from us and other core participants and the analysis of this is now underway as is the process of identifying possible witnesses.

“As we said after the initial hearing in March we are committed to engaging with the inquiry in an open and transparent way and believe its work will play a vital part in our commitment to making the Church a safer place for all.”

As part of its investigation, the inquiry will examine both abuse by Ball and the wider culture of the Diocese of Chichester as case studies.

Ball, now 84, was jailed last year for sexual assaults on 18 teenagers and young men in the 1970s, 80s and 90s.

He was first arrested for an indecent offence in 1992. He received a caution from police at the time but was able to continue working in churches and schools for more than 15 years.

The Peter Ball case will also be examined in detail at a separate independent inquiry chaired by Dame Moria Gibb.

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