Anglican Bishop Goes to Jail for Sex Abuse

St_John-sub-Castro_Church,_LewesA retired Anglican bishop has finally landed in jail, convicted of sexually abusing teen agers and young men, most in training to be priests.

Peter Ball was the Bishop of Lewes in southern England between 1977 and 1992. He earlier escaped prosecution when the claims first arose in the early 1990s when lawmakers, a senior judge, and even a member of the royal family intervened on his behalf. He received a warning for one act of “gross indecency” against 16-year-old trainee monk and resigned, but was allowed to work in churches until 2010.

He has now been convicted for indecent assaults and misconduct in public office for admitted offences against 18 teenagers and young men in the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s. He was also ordered to be placed on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years. The prosecutor said it was unlikely that the public figures who supported him before were in full possession of the facts.

Apparently Ball considered defending his actions using the teachings of the 13th-century Italian preacher, Saint Francis of Assisi. Fortunately, he saved the court and the public from such a mockery. Victims of the retired bishop described him as a sadistic predator who groomed, controlled, and abused them.

The sentencing judge told Ball that he used his position of authority to “persuade selected individuals to commit or submit to acts of physical or sexual debasement under the guise . . . of their austere regime of devotion.”

The use of one’s spiritual authority to obtain sexual gratification is abhorrent and should be punished. The Sussex Police and the English justice system deserve commendation for pursuing these crimes and putting Peter Ball in jail.

Dumas and Vaughn Attorneys at Law has law offices in Portland, Oregon and serves clients in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and other states.

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