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Church of England head says it ‘colluded with’ sex abuse

The head of the Church of England has said that the institution “colluded” with and helped to hide the long-term sexual abuse of young men by one of its former bishops.The Anglican Communion leader issued a statement on Friday following the publication of an independent review into the Church’s response to claims against former bishop Peter Ball, who was jailed for 32 months in 2015 after pleading guilty to historical offences.Receiving the report on behalf of the Church, Bishop Hancock said: ‘I am truly sorry that as a Church we failed the survivors of Peter Ball; having read the report I am appalled and disturbed by its contents; as Dame Moira says.we colluded, we failed to act and protect those who came forward for help.”That is shocking in itself but is compounded by the failure of the Church to respond appropriately to his misconduct, again over a period of many years”, Moira Gibb, who led the investigation, said in the report.This story will be updated as more information becomes available.”This is inexcusable and shocking behavior”, Welby said.There are the usual recommendations at the end of the report for a better way forward and an acceptance that the culture in the church has improved and that times have changed.It is in light of the damning independent review on how the CoE handled the case of Peter Ball, the former bishop of both Lewes and Gloucester. His victims were people who had sought spiritual guidance from him between 1977 and 1992.Ball was cautioned by police and resigned from his post in 1993, but was allowed to continue to carry out services, including baptisms and confirmations and speaking engagements in at least 17 public schools, up until 2007.After Ball was convicted past year, former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord George Carey denied presiding over a cover-up in the 1990s, but said he regretted failing to deal properly with Ball’s victims.”To the survivors who were fearless enough to share their story and bring Peter Ball to justice, I once again offer an unreserved apology”.Neil Todd – the first to come forward with allegations of abuse – attempted suicide three times before finally killing himself in 2012.”For the survivors, it may feel this is all too late”. The Church of England has let them down by failing to act on the reports of his actions and there are no excuses for this.After reading the report, Mr Williams said in a statement: “It is clear I did not give adequate priority to sorting out the concerns and allegations surrounding Peter Ball at the earliest opportunity”.Published on Thursday, the review into the abuse stated: “Peter Ball betrayed his Church and abused individual followers of that Church”.Peter Ball stood down as a Bishop in 1993 after a young man called Neil Todd informed the church that there had been “sexual activity” between them.