A damning new report found that senior figures in the Church of England colluded over a 20-year period with Peter Ball, a disgraced former bishop who sexually abused boys and men, reports the Guardian. “The church colluded and concealed rather than seeking to help those who were brave enough to come forward,” said Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury. “This is inexcusable and shocking behavior.” The new independent report released Thursday, titled “An Abuse of Faith,” concluded, “The church appears to have been most interested in protecting itself.”
Ball was jailed in October 2015 for the grooming, sexual exploitation and abuse of 18 vulnerable young men aged 17-25 who had sought spiritual guidance from him between 1977 and 1992. He was released from prison in February after serving 16 months. When Ball was first accused in 1993, a string of senior establishment figures came forward in his support, writing letters to the police and Crown Prosecution Service. The supporters included George Carey, the former archbishop of Canterbury, as well as an unidentified member of the royal family and cabinet ministers. In light of the new report, Welby has asked for Carey, his predecessor, to step down as an honorary assistant bishop.