Peter Ball: Death of bishop leaves ‘unanswered questions’

85956847 hi029491199 - Peter Ball: Death of bishop leaves 'unanswered questions'
Peter Ball arriving at the Old Bailey for sentencingImage copyright PA
Image caption Peter Ball admitted a string of offences against 18 teenagers and young men

The death of a former bishop jailed for a string of sex offences means the full truth of what happened may never be known, an alleged victim has said.

The Church of England confirmed the death of Peter Ball, 87, on Sunday, and offered its “prayers and thoughts” to all those affected.

Ball was jailed in 2015 after admitting abusing 18 teenagers and young men.

On news of his death, another alleged victim, Phil Johnson, said: “It feels like he has got away with it again.”

‘Very frustrating’

He said that although Ball’s death might give closure to some victims, he suspected that for the majority it would not.

“There are still many unanswered questions and there are still some ongoing cases. For those people, I would imagine it is very frustrating,” he said.

“I don’t think we will ever know the complete truth of what happened, what has been covered up, what has been destroyed – we may never know those things now.”

Ball, of Langport in Somerset, was Bishop of Lewes between 1977 and 1992 and Bishop of Gloucester from 1992 until he resigned the following year.

He was sentenced in October 2015 at the Old Bailey to 32 months in prison, 32 months for misconduct in public office, and 15 months for indecent assaults, to run concurrently.

Ball was released in February 2017 having served 16 months.

An Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse spokesperson said Ball “was able to sexually abuse vulnerable teenagers and young men for decades”.

The Church of England said it had taken Ball’s case “very seriously” and would continue to learn lessons from it.

It said its lead safeguarding bishop, Peter Hancock, would be in contact with survivors and would also be offering support to Ball’s family.

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