Police should investigate former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey of Clifton for misconduct, a lawyer for bishop Peter Ball’s victims has urged, following the release of documents that suggest the head of the Church of England knew about the abuse allegations but failed to act.
Ball, now 84, was jailed last year for sexual assaults on eighteen teenagers between 1977 and 1992. The disgraced bishop was first cautioned for gross indecency with a teenage boy in 1993, but avoided trial and was allowed to continue working in schools and churches.
Sussex police documents, released under the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act last week, reveal that Lambeth Palace, the residence of the head of the Church, received six letters and a number of verbal reports detailing allegations of abuse shortly after the initial investigation into Ball in 1992.
In the letters, Ball is accused of encouraged victims to pray naked, perform sex acts in front of him and share his bed.
The files indicate the Church failed to pass this evidence on to police. In February 1993, Lord Carey wrote to the director of public prosecutions and a chief constable in support of Ball.
David Greenwood, a lawyer for several of Ball’s victims, told the Times he was sure the Church had covered up evidence and urged Scotland Yard “to consider opening an investigation into perverting the course of justice by church officials.”
During Ball’s trial last year, Lord Carey denied that the correspondence with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) amounted to a cover-up.
Last October, current Archbishop Justin Welby launched an independent review into the Church of England’s response to the allegations.
A spokesperson for Lord Carey declined to comment but said Carey was cooperating fully with Welby’s inquiry.
The newly released documents also suggest Ball associated with other known sex offenders in the clergy and was investigated in 2008 for being part of suspected pedophile ring.
The documents show Ball covered for and helped priests accused of sex abuse.