Exposed The Church's Darkest Secret S01E02 (1280x720p HD, 50fps, soft Eng subs)
Part Two of this emotional and powerful series covers the story of the survivors of Bishop Peter Ball's abuse and the newly appointed Church Safeguarding Officers who came together to pursue Bishop Peter Ball to his eventual conviction and imprisonment.
By the mid-1990s Bishop Peter was back officiating in church services. George Carey, then the Archbishop of Canterbury, had paid towards Ball's legal costs and a personal holiday with money from the Church, while the victim who alerted the police, Neil Todd, felt shunned by the religious establishment left with no support from the Church.
At this time Bishop Peter Ball was renting a house provided by The Prince of Wales through the Duchy of Cornwall. The Prince also sent supportive letters to Ball, in one case criticising his accusers and would later tell the IICSA - the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse - that he believed Ball to be innocent at that time.
In 2008 Bishop Peter Ball came to the attention of two of the new safeguarding officers brought into the church, who become suspicious of how he is was still being allowed to officiate at church services.
Around this time, Phil Johnson, another survivor approached the police with details of his own terrible abuse. We hear the testimony of how two priests groomed and abused him in Eastbourne during the 70s and 80s when he was a young boy and teenager. The priests' immediate superior was Peter Ball who was then the Bishop of Lewes. Not only was Ball allowing priests in his diocese area to abuse children, we also hear from Phil that he was personally sexually abused by Ball at this time.
The separate efforts of Phil Johnson and the two Church Safeguarding Officers eventually lead to the discovery that the former Archbishop Carey and other high-ranking members of the clergy had stopped Bishop Peter Ball's crimes from coming to public attention. We learn that it was not just letters from other victims that weren't handed over to police during the original investigation into Bishop Peter. Church money had been used to hire a private investigator to discredit Ball's victims though this report had been buried when it honestly reported that Ball was in fact a prolific abuser.
On finally discovering this shocking report, one of the safeguarding officers handed it to the police who decided that Peter Ball was worthy of investigation. Attempts were made to arrest him but Ball's frail health made this impossible and his victims yet again feared he'd escape justice.
Around this time Neil Todd, the young man who so bravely brought the initial allegations to light, took his own life. His family speak movingly of this tragic loss of life and how he could not bear to endure another police investigation, and the prospect of not being believed once again.
Ball was finally charged and eventually pleaded guilty to two counts of indecent assault and one of misconduct in a public office after admitting the abuse of 18 young men from 1977 to 1992. In October 2015 he was sentenced to 32 months in prison. He served 16 months.
Peter Ball is the most senior sexual criminal in the Church of England to have been imprisoned, but his story represents many others abusers and a culture within the Church which helped them escape justice.
First broadcast: 14 January 2020
Duration: 1 hour
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