Date set for retired bishop and fellow former Brighton priest to face child sex abuse trial

Posted On 20 Jan 2015 at 2:14 am

A trial date has been set for retired bishop Peter Ball and a fellow former Brighton priest Vickery House.

The pair have been charged with child sex abuse and were the subject of a hearing at the Central Criminal Court – better known as the Old Bailey – in London last week.

Bishop Peter Ball

Bishop Peter Ball

Ball, 82, of Langport, Somerset, is scheduled to face a jury on Monday 5 October alongside Vickery House, the former vicar of St Bartholomew’s Church in Brighton. No venue has been selected yet.

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Ball was Bishop of Lewes from 1977 to 1992 during which time he is accused of indecently assaulting a 12 or 13-year-old boy.

He also faces charges of misconduct in public office and indecently assaulting a 19 or 20-year-old man.

The misconduct charge accuses Ball of misusing his position and authority to manipulate and prevail upon others for his own sexual gratification.

The charge of indecently assaulting a boy under 16 dates from 1984 or 1985. And the charge of sexually assaulting a man over 16 dates from 1990 or 1991 – a year or two before Ball became Bishop of Gloucester.

Ball, who retired shortly afterwards, began his career as a curate in Rottingdean in the 1950s.

His co-defendant House, 69, of Brighton Road, Handcross, faces eight charges of indecent assault.

He is accused of abusing a boy of 15 and five men ranging in age from 17 to 34 over a 16-year period before he retired.

House, who has also officiated at the Church of the Annunciation, in Washington Street, Hanover, was arrested by Sussex Police in November 2012.

The case against Ball and House was listed for mention last Wednesday (14 January) before Mr Justice Sweeney.

The 62-year-old judge, Sir Nigel Sweeney, took part in the trial after the IRA bombing of the Grand hotel in Brighton in 1984.