Sussex abuse inquiry invites witness statement from Prince Charles
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) has invited a witness statement from Prince Charles.
The inquiry is investigating how far institutions failed to protect children from sexual abuse within the Anglican Church.
Next month it will examine the sexual abuse of 18 men by former Bishop of Lewes Peter Ball and the environment around him.
Peter Ball was the local bishop to the Prince of Wales.
larence House said Prince Charles ‘has made it clear that he was unaware of the extent of Mr Ball’s behaviour’ but was more than willing to provide context about Ball.
The inquiry has been focussing on the Diocese of Chichester as a case study and heard evidence from survivors and clergy alike over the course of three weeks in March.
Speaking at a preliminary hearing yesterday, lead counsel to the inquiry Fiona Scolding QC said: “We are awaiting witness statements from a very small number of other individuals who gave evidence to the Moira Gibb inquiry.
“We have also requested a witness statement from both His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales and his principal private secretary.
“The Prince’s solicitors have indicated their client’s willingness to assist us and have raised a number of important issues for us to consider.
“This has led to lengthy and complex discussions and we are currently considering the latest points they have raised.”
Ball, now 85, was jailed in 2015for sex offences against 18 vulnerable young men.
According to the BBC, in a statement released following the hearing, Clarence House said: “IICSA has asked The Prince of Wales if he can help the part of their inquiry that deals with Mr Peter Ball.
“Whilst The Prince has made it clear that he was unaware of the extent of Mr Ball’s behaviour, he has indicated that he is more than willing to provide context on his contact with Mr Ball, as his former local Bishop, if that would help the inquiry.”
An interim report from the inquirylooking at sexual abuse in the Diocese of Chichester will be released following the Peter Ball inquiry.
At the hearings in March, the public heard how a culture of ‘wilful blindness’ existed towards abuse in the diocese.