According to the Guardian, Prince Charles kept in contact with an ex-bishop, who was accused and later sent to jail for child molestation. The Prince even reportedly sent money to the former bishop but claims he was deceived about the ex-clergyman’s crimes.
In a report in The Times, Prince Charles admitted that he was unaware that former bishop Peter Ball pleaded guilty when he was charged and sentenced to prison in 1993. Ball, however, has since referred to Prince Charles as a “loyal friend,” adding that the two of them kept in touch for decades.
An independent investigation of child sexual abuse will be held next week, in which the Prince’s statement will be read. The investigation hearings will ultimately determine “whether there were inappropriate attempts by people of prominence to interfere in the criminal justice process after [Ball] was first accused of child sexual offenses.”
Ball, who is now 86 years old, was first accused of child sexual abuse in 1993. Ball’s first victim, Neil Todd, attempted suicide that same year because of the abuse he experienced. Although Todd survived his first attempt, he did end up killing himself in 2012.
Six other victims followed Todd’s confession and accusations, but the former bishop was never charged, receiving “a caution for gross indecency” instead. Ball was only imprisoned for 32 months after admitting to one count of misconduct and two counts of indecent assault, even though his eventual 18 accusers spanned decades.
While Ball was forced to resign as bishop, he was still allowed to conduct church services.
A 2017 review of Ball’s case, however, admitted, “The church appears to have been most interested in protecting itself,” revealing that leaders of the church conspired with Ball for over 20 years.
Prince Charles, who now claims that Ball deceived him by only disclosing that he had committed an unspecified indiscretion, said in his submission, “I was certainly not aware at the time of the significance or impact of the caution… Whilst I note that Peter Ball mentioned the word in a letter to me in October 2009, I was not aware until recently that a caution in fact carries an acceptance of guilt.”
Also reported by the Guardian, a spokesperson for Clarence House released a statement Thursday, declaring, “IICSA has asked the Prince of Wales if he could help the part of their inquiry that deals with Mr. Peter Ball. Whilst the prince made it clear that he was unaware of Mr. Ball’s behavior, he indicated that he was happy to volunteer context on his contact with Mr. Ball if that would help.”