Church review into how bishop sex abuse complaints were handled

Disgraced former bishop Peter Ball. Credit: PA

The Church of England has launched a review into how it handled complaints of sexual abuse against a former Bishop of Gloucester.

83-year-old Peter Ball, who lives in Somerset and was also once a Bishop of Lewes, has admitted abusing 18 young men from the 1970s to 1990s.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has commissioned an independent report into how the Church dealt with the allegations, which emerged 22 years ago. This will include how it co-operated with the police, and whether the concerns of survivors were responded to.

Ball accepted a caution for one act of gross indecency and resigned his post in 1993 - but was allowed to keep working for the church until 2010 despite several complaints against him.

Police reopened the case in 2012 in response to a previous Church of England review, and Ball was charged with a string of sex offences against teenage boys and young men.

Following his guilty pleas, the Church offered an "unreserved apology" to Ball's victims, commending the bravery of the survivors who came forward.

Ball was Bishop of Lewes between 1977 and 1992 and Bishop of Gloucester from 1992 to 1993.

He is due to be sentenced at the Old Bailey on Wednesday.