Former Lewes Bishop, Peter Ball, to be prosecuted for misconduct in public office and indecent assault

Ex Bishop of Lewes, Peter Ball

Ex Bishop of Lewes, Peter Ball

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A former Bishop of Lewes is to be prosecuted for misconduct in public office and indecent assault, police have said.

The Rt Rev Peter Ball, who held the position in the Church of England from 1977 until 1992 and was later

Bishop of Gloucester, has been charged for three offences, police said.

The first charge alleges misconduct in public office between October 1977 and December 1992 when he is alleged to have misused his position and authority to manipulate and prevail upon others for his own sexual gratification.

The second charge alleges an indecent assault on a boy, aged 12 or 13, in 1978 and the third alleges an indecent assault on a man, aged 19 or 20, between 1980 and 1982.

The retired clergyman is due to appear at Brighton Magistrates’s Court on April 10.

These decisions by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) follow 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 co­operation 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, now aged 82, of Langport, Somerset, was arrested on November 13, 2012, but was released at his home that afternoon on medical advice, without being interviewed.

Sussex Police said: “It was subsequently established, following medical advice, that he was not medically fit

to be further arrested, or interviewed by police. However in March last year 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.”