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Peter Ball abuse inquiry: Prince Charles 'misled' by bishop

Peter Ball abuse inquiry: Prince Charles 'misled' by bishop

Prince Charles was photographed with the then Bishop of Gloucester Peter Ball in 1993
The Prince of Wales has told a sex abuse inquiry he did not seek to influence a police investigation into a paedophile bishop. His statement was read during the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) investigation into the Anglican Church and Bishop Peter Ball.The 86-year-old was jailed for 32 months in October 2015 for offences against 18 teenagers and men.Prince Charles told the independent inquiry he had been misled by Ball. The prince denied either direct involvement in the police inquiries into Ball or directing others to interfere in investigations.
He said: "At no stage did I ever seek to influence either of the police investigations and nor did I instruct or encourage my staff to do so."
'Indiscretion'
In his statement, the prince said: "I first became aware of Peter Ball during the 1980s. He was later appointed Bishop of Gloucester when he became my local diocesan bishop."The prince said that from 1993 he invited Peter Ball to officiate at communion at his home. The statement continued: "Peter Ball told me he had been involved in some sort of 'indiscretion' which prompted his resignation as my local bishop. "He emphasised that one individual that I now understand to be Mr Neil Todd had made a complaint to the police, that the police had investigated the matter, and the Crown Prosecution Service had decided to take no action."That sequence of events seemed to support Mr Ball's claim that the complaint emanated from one individual and that individual bore a grudge against him and was persecuting him, that the complaint was false, but that the individual had nonetheless profited from the complaint by selling his story."Events later demonstrated beyond any doubt, to my deep regret, that I, along with many others, has been misled."
Peter Ball was jailed for sex offences against teenagers and young men which were carried out over 30 years
The prince said in the 1980s and 1990s there was "a presumption that people such as Bishops could be taken at their word and, as a result of the high office they held, were worthy of trust and confidence".At the time "there was on my part a presumption of good faith".He said: "Throughout my life my position has occasionally brought me into contact with prominent people who have subsequently been accused of serious wrong doing."Rather than rushing to private judgement I have always taken the view that the judicial process should take its course."In the statement, read by the counsel to the inquiry, Fiona Scolding, the prince said: "The true context and details of this complaint, and I now understand many others, against Peter Ball did not come to my attention until the time of Mr Ball's trial and conviction in 2015."I ceased contact with Mr Ball once the judicial process had concluded, and he was found guilty of serious offences against young people. "My heart goes out to the victims of abuse and I applaud their courage as they rebuild their lives and so often offer invaluable support to others who have suffered. "It remains a source of deep personal regret that I was one of many who were deceived over a long period of time, about the true nature of Mr Ball's activities."The inquiry continues.
Gloucester
The Church of England
Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse
Lewes
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