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Retired bishop Peter Ball held in child sex abuse investigation

  • @robhastings

A retired bishop has been arrested over suspicions that he sexually abused children in the 1970s and 1980s.

The Right Reverend Peter Ball, who is thought to be the highest-ranking clergyman in the Church of England to be arrested over child abuse, faces allegations that he molested eight boys and young men aged between 12 and their early 20s. He was detained at his home in Langport, Somerset.

The 80-year-old served as the Bishop of Lewes and Gloucester before resigning in 1993. The claims against him relate to his time serving in the Diocese of Chichester.

The investigation into him began in spring this year following a review of his files by the Church.

A retired priest man was also arrested in West Sussex over separate allegations that he abused two boys between 1981 and 1983, though the 67-year-old suspect has not been named.

Detective Chief Inspector Carwyn Hughes of Sussex Police, who is leading the investigation, said: “The Church of England, including the Diocese of Chichester, are co-operating fully with police.

He added: “Allegations of historic offences are treated just as seriously as any more recent offences.”

The police said that no children are thought to have been at risk from either men in recent years.