A former Bishop of Gloucester who managed to evade prosecution for decades after intervention by a member of the Royal family, Cabinet Ministers and a Lord Chief Justice, has been released from prison
Peter Ball, a close pal of Prince Charles, was freed after serving only half his sentence for child sex abuse.
Victims of the ‘calculating’ pedophile has been demanding that letters sent to him by the Prince are made public.
The Telegraph reports:
He escaped justice over the same charges years earlier after he was given support by a member of the Royal family and Establishment figures.
Now, after serving 16 months behind bars, Ball was released early on Friday.
Richard Scorer, a specialist abuse lawyer at Slater and Gordon, who represent a number of Ball’s victims, said: “Ball’s early release after serving just half of his sentence is a huge blow to his victims.
“This was a man whose appalling crimes represented a gross and systematic abuse of trust spanning decades.
“The fact he has only served 16 months in jail for crimes that scarred his many vulnerable victims is an affront to justice.”
Ball was first reported to Gloucester Police by novice monk Neil Todd and others in 1992.
But no charges were brought against him after police received supportive telephone calls from “many dozens of people- including MPs, former public school headmasters, the former Archbishop of Canturbury, Jps and even a Lord Chief Justice”, the court previously heard.
Ball made his victims commit acts of “debasement” in the name of religion, such as praying naked at the altar and encouraging them to submit to beatings.
Mr Scorer aadded: “What is equally frustrating is that despite his conviction we still have not got to the bottom of which establishment figures – including MPs, cabinet ministers and members of the Royal Family – came out in support of him in the 1990s and prevented justice being served then.
“This is a disgrace and those who suffered at Ball’s hands deserve answers.”
One of Ball’s victims said: “Ball’s crimes led to one of his victims committing suicide so how can 16 months in jail be justice?
“There are still many questions that need answers about who helped him cover up his crimes and what happened.
“What is crucially important is that the inquiry into child abuse answers these questions before it is too late.”
A Church of England spokeswoman said Ball’s offences were “a matter of deep shame and regret”.
“The Church has apologised unreservedly to the survivors who were brave enough to come forward.”
The CoE said Ball has been prohibited from ministry for life.
However the National Probation Service has had to draw up “bespoke” licence conditions with the Church so he can continue to exercise his right to worship.
It is understood that the bespoke licence conditions in place are very strict, and include Ball being forbidden from doing or wearing anything that would give him clerical status, or from leading a service.
A Ministry of Justice spokesman said sex offenders are “robustly risk assessed and subject to a strict set of conditions”.
“If they fail to comply, they can be recalled to prison,” the spokesman said.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Rev Justin Welby, has commissioned an independent review – led by Dame Moira Gibb according to reports – into how the Church dealt with the allegations against Ball.
Last year the Telegraph revealed the Church of England was investigating evidence that Ball took services in the place of his identical twin brother in the 1990s, who was then the Bishop of Truro.
It emerged that he may have taken services in Cornwall, where his brother Michael was a former Bishop of Truro.