THE Church of England apologised “unreservedly” yesterday after a 1993 letter came to light showing that the CofE’s former chief had intervened to defend a sex-offending bishop.
Then Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey wrote to police in 1993 saying Peter Ball was suffering “torment” because of the investigation.
The former Bishop of Lewes was jailed for a string of historic sex offences, including two counts of indecent assault, in October 2015.
Mr Ball hand-picked 18 vulnerable victims to commit acts of “debasement” in the name of religion, such as praying naked at the altar and encouraging them to submit to beatings, the trial heard.
According to the BBC, in one of the letters obtained after a Freedom of Information request Lord Carey said it was “improbable” that Mr Ball was guilty of the allegations made against him.
After Mr Ball was sentenced in October, Lord Carey denied the Church of England had been involved in a cover-up, saying: “We dealt inadequately with Peter Ball’s victims and gave too much credence to his protestations.
“Allegations by some that my actions amounted to a cover-up or collusion with the abuser are wrong. I have always insisted upon the highest standards of holiness of life from all who are ordained.”
The CofE apologised to Mr Ball’s victims, saying: “There are no excuses whatsoever for what took place, nor for the systematic abuse of trust perpetrated by Peter Ball.”
Lawyer David Greenwood, Mr Ball’s victims, said it appeared that it had been a case of “parts of the establishment trying to help another part of the establishment.”