Ex-archbishop Carey asked to ‘step down’ over paedophile link
Religious Affairs Correspondent
A FORMER Archbishop of Canterbury has been asked to step down from his current role after a report found that he and other senior figures in the Church of England “colluded” with a disgraced paedophile bishop to prevent him facing criminal charges.
George Carey, currently an honorary assistant bishop in the diocese of Oxford, has been urged to “carefully consider his position” by Justin Welby, the current Archbishop of Canterbury.
A report by former social worker Dame Moira Gibb, the result of an 18-month long inquiry, found that the Church of England had failed to protect the victims of Peter Ball, who abused 18 vulnerable men and boys over a 20year period.
Ball, a former bishop of Lewes and of Gloucester, was jailed in October 2015 for indecent assault and misconduct in public office. He was released from prison earlier this year.
He had initially been investigated by police in 1993 after Neil Todd, a young man who had stayed with him, told Church figures there had been “sexual activity” between the two. Mr Todd killed himself in 2012.
That investigation ended when Ball accepted a caution for gross indecency and resigned as Bishop of Gloucester.
The report, published yesterday, found that Lord Carey, then the Archbishop of Canterbury, wrote to Ball’s twin brother, Bishop Michael Ball, in 1993, after the caution, saying he believed Ball was “basically innocent”.
At that stage Lord Carey was already aware of six letters which had been sent to Lambeth Palace by members of the public, making further allegations about Ball’s behaviour. The letters were never passed on to police.
The former Archbishop also decided not to add Ball to the “Lambeth List”, which identifies clergyman about whom there are questions as to their suitability for ministry.
Ball was convicted of the offences after a renewed investigation into his actions was opened in 2012 following a review of past cases by Dr Rowan Williams, who became Archbishop of Canterbury in 2002.
In a statement, the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, the Bishop of Oxford, said: “The Archbishop of Canterbury has written to Lord Carey and asked him to carefully consider his position as honorary assistant bishop. In the meantime he has voluntarily agreed to step back from public ministry.”
Richard Scorer, a specialist abuse lawyer at Slater and Gordon, who represents a number of Ball’s victims, said: “Given what’s in the report, there is now a clear case for the police and CPS to consider criminal charges against senior figures, including Lord Carey, for offences of misconduct in public office and perverting the course of justice.”
Archbishop Welby said the Gibb report, titled Abuses of Faith, made “harrowing reading”.