A former Bishop of Gloucester has become the most senior Anglican cleric to face prosecution for a child sex crime after being accused of exploiting his position to abuse young men over a 15-year period.
The Rt Rev Peter Ball, 82, will stand trial for indecently assaulting two people, one a boy aged as young as 12 in 1978, and misconduct in public office following an investigation into alleged attacks on 19 young men and boys.
The offences date to the time he was Bishop of Lewes in the Chichester diocese, before he was promoted to Bishop of Gloucester in 1992. He resigned from that post the following year.
Following his resignation, the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey, described him as a “highly gifted and original man who has inspired many people”.
Bishop Ball, of Langport, Somerset, was arrested in November 2012 but police received medical advice that he was not fit to be interviewed. He was charged on Thursday after he was sent details of the allegations against him in March last year and gave written answers.
“The misconduct alleged is that he misused his position to manipulate and prevail upon others for his own sexual gratification,” said Jaswant Narwal, chief crown prosecutor for the CPS in the South-east.