England

New allegation follow arrest of ex-bishop and retired priest

Bishop Peter Ball
Image caption The former bishop of Lewes and bishop of Gloucester resigned in 1993

Police investigating allegations of sex abuse against a former bishop and a retired priest say 10 more people have alleged they were victims.

The Rt Rev Peter Ball, 80, a former Church of England bishop of Lewes and Gloucester, was arrested on suspicion of abusing eight boys and men.

He was arrested on Tuesday at his home in Somerset, over allegations relating the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Retired Church of England priest Vickery House, 67, was also arrested.

Police said since the arrests 10 more people had come forward alleging sexual offences were committed against them, seven by the former bishop and three by the former priest.

Det Ch Insp Carwyn Hughes, of Sussex Police, said: "We are very interested to see that so many people have contacted us since Tuesday, and every report is being followed up.

"The force will always take seriously any allegations of historic sexual offending, and every possible step is taken to investigate whenever appropriate.

"Allegations of historic offences are treated just as seriously as any more recent offences."

Sussex Police said Bishop Ball was released on medical advice and officers intended to interview him at a later date. Mr House was bailed pending further inquiries.

Phone helpline

The allegations against the two men are being dealt with separately, according to the force.

The arrests followed a police investigation which started when the Church of England passed on two reports on the safeguarding of young people in the Chichester Diocese during the 1980s and early 1990s.

The Diocese of Chichester is currently subject to a "visitation process" which includes an inquiry into its child protection policies.

Under the process, its powers and authority have been taken over by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Three former Church of England priests from the diocese have been charged this year with sexual offences against children.

A 24-hour helpline manned by staff at the children's charity NSPCC was set up on 0800 389 5344.

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