The Rt Revd Peter Ball (83) was recently convicted of sexually abusing 18 teenaged boys & young men during his career in the CoE. He has been sentenced to 32 months imprisonment in OCT 2015. He was first investigated by UK police in 1993. At that time, on Peter Ball’s behalf, a number of members of Parliament, a Lord Chief Justice, a member of the Royal Family contacted the police. The Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, also intervened by writing the Chief Constable of Gloucestershire, stating that he believed that the allegations of abuse seemed “most improbable; [Ball’s] whole ministry appeared to show that he is an honorable man.
In the aftermath of Peter Ball’s conviction, the current Archbishop of Canterbury in FEB 2016 established a review of the situation by the former chief executive of Camden Council, Dame Moira Gibb. The vague purposes of the review are to provide the church with an opportunity to learn any lessons which will improve the church’s safeguarding practice and policy.
The Revd Graham Sawyer, the current vicar of St James, Briercliffe in Burnley, was one of the 18 victims of Peter Ball. He has recently taken the decision to withdraw from participation in the inquiry after he could not receive assurances from Dame Gibb that she would broadly investigate what he contends was a cover up by the Church of England. The Revd Sawyer poses that there were actually two crimes committed against the victims of Peter Ball. The first, for which a very elderly Peter Ball is now serving a prison sentence, was the sexual abuse of the 18 boys and young men. However, the Revd Sawyer contends, the second crime was the Church of England’s and the British establishment’s cover up of Peter Ball’s offenses. Revd Sawyer feels that victims/witnesses were bullied, vilified, and intimidated.
So long as neither Dame Gibb, nor +Justin Welby are committed to an investigation that looks deeply into the machinations of church & establishment hierarchy, the Revd Sawyer is not interested in participating.