Fears former bishop paedophile Peter Ball impersonated his identical twin brother

Western Daily Press
March 21, 2016

Bishop of Gloucester Peter Ball

A probe has been launched into claims a notorious paedophile bishop impersonated his identical twin brother - by carrying out services in his place.

Former Bishop of Gloucester Peter Ball, 83, was jailed last year after he admitted sexually abusing teenagers and young men.

But there are now fears he took the place of his twin Michael Ball, who was also a bishop and a friend of Prince Charles, by duping congregations in other parts of the UK.

The Diocese of Truro is now looking into the evidence that Ball conducted services in Cornwall, where Michael, had been a Bishop in the 1990s.

An independent review is currently under way into the way the Church of England responded to the case.

But the Right Reverend Tim Thornton said that there was no evidence that the Diocese of Truro gave Peter Ball permission to lead any services in Cornwall in the 1990s.

He added: "We have one or two bits of evidence now where it does appear as if Bishop Peter went and did things which Bishop Michael should have been doing.

"It might be that Bishop Peter thought it was clear that he was being Bishop Peter.

"On some occasions he might have made it very clear at the beginning that he was there in place of his brother, but it might not have been evident to everybody."

He added that it would have been "a limited number of services in a limited number of churches".

Bishop Peter Ball, who was jailed for 32 months in October last year for abusing young men in the 1970s and 1980s, was investigated by police in 1993 and given a caution.

Ball promised to resign as Bishop of Gloucester and "immediately leave the country", but instead continued to officiate as a priest in the Church of England until 2010.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of indecent assault and one charge of misconduct in public office, relating to the sexual abuse of 16 young men over a period of 15 years from 1977 to 1992.

The Old Bailey heard how Ball, of Langport, Somerset, had hand-picked 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, a court at the Old Bailey heard.

He had moved to live with Michael who was bishop of Truro from 1990 to 1997, and later moved into a property, Manor Lodge in Aller, Somerset, provided by Prince Charles on the Duchy of Cornwall estate.


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