A new report written by Dame Moira Gibb accuses the Church of England of concealing evidence of child sexual abuse at the hands of its clergy and colluding with convicted paedophile, Bishop Peter Ball.
Ball, who was the former bishop of Gloucester and Lewes, was jailed in October 2015 for the grooming, sexual exploitation and abuse of 18 vulnerable young men aged 17-25 who came to him for guidance and support. He was released from prison in February after serving just 16 months.
Gibb also criticises ex-Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey in her report, whom she cites as being largely responsible for the inexcusable way in which allegations were swept under the carpet. When complaints were first made about Bishop Ball, Ball went straight to the Church and other senior figures within the clergy and the Royal Family to seek out support and protection, including the then Archbishop, Lord Carey who obliged by writing a letter of support which was sent to the police and the CPS. (You can read the letters from Carey and others here).
Carey has now been asked to step down from his position as an honorary assistant bishop by the current archbishop, Justin Welby.
In her report, “Abuse Of Faith”, Dame Moira Gibb says the Church “displayed little care” for Bishop Ball’s victims,” and that its “failure to safeguard so many boys and young men still casts a long shadow”.
Crucially, the report also confirms that Bishop Ball had suggested “on many occasions, to Lord Carey and others, that he enjoys the status of confidant of the Prince of Wales” and “sought to exploit his contact with members of the royal family in order to bolster his position”.
Those of you following this blog will be familiar with Bishop Peter Ball and brothers, Phil and Gary Johnson who have campaigned tirelessly to bring Ball, and the Church, to justice. An exchange between Phil and Baroness Butler-Sloss, disgraced former Chair of the Child Abuse Inquiry, which we wrote about two years ago, highlights the extent of the collusion, with high profile believers desperate to preserve the Church’s standing. In the recording we shared, you can hear Butler-Sloss’s attempts at defending the Church and minimising allegations of abuse at the same time.
Phil Johnson spoke to the BBC in 2016 about Lord Carey’s involvement in the cover up of allegations against Bishop Ball, highlighting that the Church had deliberately hidden police evidence on the matter.
Things came to a head in August of last year, when it was confirmed that Bishop Ball had been granted Core Participant Status at the Child Abuse Inquiry, leaving his victims and survivors feeling re-traumatised at the possibility of being cross examined by him.
Phil also wrote a statement in September 2016 criticising the CPS’s decision to reduce Ball’s sentence.
Dame Moira Gibb’s report will be a welcome development for survivors and victims and we hope that it will bring about a change in the culture at the Church of England and lead to better safeguarding measures being put into place.
For a full list of articles on Bishop Peter Ball, please take a look at our site.