Former Bishop of Lewes arrested over child sex allegations
The former Bishop of Lewes and a retired Church of England priest have been arrested on suspicion of sex abuse.
The Right Reverend Peter Ball, 80, a former Bishop of Lewes and Gloucester, has been arrested on suspicion of abusing eight boys and men in the late 1980's and early 1990's. He was arrested at his home in Langport, Somerset.
The Reverend Ball resigned in 1993. The crimes are alleged to have taken place at different properties in East Sussex and elsewhere.
The retired Church of England Priest has been named as Vickery House, 67. He was arrested near his home in Haywards Heath in West Sussex. He has been arrested for two sexual offences involving two teenage boys in East Sussex between 1981 and 1983.
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The arrests by Sussex Police came after the Church of England passed on details of two reviews into the safeguarding of young people in the Chichester Diocese, of which Lewes was a part of during the 1980's and early 1990's.
Det Ch Insp Carwyn Hughes of Sussex Police said; "The Church of England, including the Diocese of Chichester, are co-operating fully with police.
"Although the matters referred to are still subject of police investigation, Sussex Police make it clear that the force will always take seriously any allegations of historic sexual offending and every possible step will be taken to investigate whenever appropriate.
"Allegations of historic offences are treated just as seriously as any more recent offences."
The Diocese of Chichester confirmed Sussex detectives had made the two arrests on Tuesday.
"These arrests relate to allegations of sexual abuse in the 1980s and 1990s.
"We can confirm that the retired bishop has had no ministry in Sussex for many years and no longer lives in this area.
"The retired priest has had his permission to officiate suspended," it said in a statement.
The statement said the diocese had been working closely with Sussex Police.
"Our co-operation with Sussex Police in this investigation continues our ongoing commitment to do all that is necessary to bring any alleged criminal matters to the attention of the public authorities, and to ensure that the Diocese of Chichester is a safe place for all in our church communities, whilst being an unsafe place for any who may seek to abuse them."
A 24-hour helpline manned by staff at the children's charity NSPCC has been set up by the Diocese of Chichester on 0800 389 5344.