Former Church of England Bishop who describes Prince Charles as a ‘loyal friend’ charged with sex offences dating back to 1977
- Peter Ball is formerly the Bishop of Gloucester and Bishop of Lewes
- Alleged he sexually abused a number of young males between 1977-1992
- Charges include an alleged indecent assault on a boy, aged 12 or 13
- Ball, 82, is due to appear at Brighton Magistrates Court next month
A retired Church of England bishop and friend of Prince Charles has been charged with a series of sex offences.
Peter Ball, who once described the Prince of Wales as a loyal friend after being given a place to live by him, is due to appear in court next month over sex offences and misconduct charges.
The 82-year-old former Bishop of Gloucester, who was previously Bishop of Lewes in East Sussex, will be prosecuted for alleged historic offences dating back to 1977.
Ball was enthroned as Bishop of Gloucester in 1992 at a ceremony attended by Prince Charles, and resigned in 1993.
Shortly afterwards Charles invited him to live in Manor Lodge in the village of Aller, Somerset, a property owned by the Duchy of Cornwall.
Ball said at the time: ‘He [Prince Charles] has been wonderfully kind and allowed me to have a Duchy house. The prince is a loyal friend.
‘I have immense admiration for him. He has been through horrific times and is a great person.’
Ball is understood to have moved out of the property after living there for a decade.
After his resignation he continued working in churches until 2010.
He was arrested in November 2012, when his Permission to Officiate was suspended, after a three-month investigation into the Chichester Diocese in Sussex.
Ball, of Langport, Somerset, is accused of an indecent assault on a boy, aged 12 or 13, indecent assault on a man aged 19 or 20, and misconduct in a public office.
The former bishop, thought to be the most senior member of the clergy to be charged in connection with a sex abuse investigation, will appear at Brighton Magistrates’ Court.
Jaswant Narwal, chief crown prosecutor for the CPS in the South East, said yesterday: ‘After a thorough and careful review, I have decided that Peter Ball should be prosecuted for misconduct in public office and two indecent assaults.
It is alleged that he sexually abused a number of young males between 1977 and 1992.
The misconduct alleged is that he misused his position and authority to manipulate and prevail upon others for his own sexual gratification.
‘During this time Mr Ball was serving as a bishop in the Church of England.’
Sussex Police said Ball was arrested on November 13, 2012, but released on medical advice without being interviewed. He was charged after providing a statement in response to the continuing police probe.
The Church of England said it has been ‘working closely’ with police. It added: ‘The Church of England takes any allegations of abuse very seriously and is committed to being a safe place for all.’