Bishop Peter Ball Victim Steps Away from Church Investigation into Clergy Sex Abuse
By Harry Farley
April 21, 2016
A victim of clergy sex abuse will not cooperate with a Church review because "bullying and silencing" were not in the terms of reference.
|Peter Ball was jailed for 32 months after he was found to have abused his position as the Bishop of Lewes in southern England.|
Rev Graham Sawyer announced his decision in a letter to Dame Moira Gibb, who chairs an independent review of how the Church of England handled allegations made against Peter Ball, former Bishop of Lewes.
Ball, now 84, was jailed in October for abuses against teenagers and young men in the 1970s, 80s and 90s.
Sawyer, who waived his right to anonymity before Ball's trial, said he objected because his alleged treatment by current senior Church officials would not be covered in the inquiry.
In the letter, seen by the BBC, Sawyer writes: "I realise that decisions over terms of reference are not your prerogative.
"Nevertheless, that there has clearly been resistance to suggestions of them specifically mentioning bullying, vilification and silencing, sends a worrying but sadly very predictable signal from the Church of England at its very highest levels that these systemically vital matters are not going to be addressed with the fundamental importance they deserve.
"Please inform Archbishop Welby that I therefore decline to give evidence to the review he has established because of the failure of the terms of reference to be amended to include bullying and silencing with a plea for him personally to reconsider this."
Sawyer rejected a meeting with the Church's safeguarding officer, Graham Tilby, according to the BBC.
A spokeswoman said the Church offered an "unreserved apology to all the survivors".
"Archbishop Justin has publicly said it is a matter of deep shame and regret that a bishop in the Church of England committed these offences and there are no excuses whatsoever for what took place and the systematic abuse of trust perpetrated by Peter Ball over decades.
"The Review, which started in February and is expected to last a year, will provide the Church as a whole with an opportunity to learn lessons which will improve our safeguarding practice and policy."