Lewes; Former Bishop To Be Prosecuted

A retired Church of England Bishop is due in court over sex offences and misconduct charges, the Crown Prosecution Service said.

Peter Ball, formerly the Bishop of Gloucester and Bishop of Lewes, will be prosecuted for historic offences dating back to 1977.

They include indecent assault on a boy, aged 12 or 13, indecent assault on a man aged 19 or 20, and misconduct in a public office.

Ball, 82, is due to appear at Brighton Magistrates Court next month.

Jaswant Narwal, chief crown prosecutor for the CPS in the 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.

"It is alleged that he sexually abused a number of young males between 1977 and 1992. The misconduct alleged is that he misused his position and authority to manipulate and prevail upon others for his own sexual gratification.

"During this time Mr Ball was serving as a Bishop in the Church of England.

"In accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors, there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and it is in the public interest to prosecute. It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.''

Ball has been summoned to court where he is due to be charged with:

* Misconduct in public office between 1977 and 1992;

* Indecent assault on a boy, aged 12 or 13, in 1978;

* Indecent assault on a man, aged 19 or 20, between 1980 and 1982.

Ball resigned as Bishop of Gloucester in 1993.

In a statement, the Church of England said it has been ``working closely'' with police.

It added: "The Church of England takes any allegations of abuse very seriously and is committed to being a safe place for all.''

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