THE judge leading a national enquiry into child sexual abuse has said the activities of the former Bishop of Lewes will be the subject of a special investigation.

Historic sex offences in the Diocese of Chichester, including Peter Ball’s, will be examined as a case study by Lady Justice Goddard’s inquiry, which also promised to look into any influence “people of prominence” brought to bear in his case.

Nine churchmen from the diocese have been found guilty of historic offences, or have been named as child abusers by the church, in the course of the last two years.

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In October 2015, Ball was sentenced to 32 months' imprisonment for misconduct in public office and indecent assault after admitting the abuse of 18 young men between 19. He was educated at Lancing College, a public school in Lancing, West Sussex.

He then studied at Queens' College, Cambridge, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in 1954; as per tradition, his BA was promoted to a Master of Arts (MA) degree in 1958.

Within the investigation of the Church of England, the inquiry will “investigate whether there were inappropriate attempts by people of prominence to interfere in the criminal justice process after he [Ball] was first accused of child sexual offences.” This is understood to be a reference to correspondence between then Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord George Carey, and the Crown Prosecution Service, when Ball was handed a caution rather than being prosecuted when his crimes first surfaced in 1992.

Peter John Ball CGA (born 14 February 1932) is a retired British bishop in the Church of England and convicted sex offender.

While Bishop of Lewes in the 1980s he convinced young men taking part in the “Give a Year for Christ” scheme to pray naked at his altar and submit to beatings, for the sake of his sexual gratification.

The Goddard Inquiry was established in the aftermath of the Jimmy Saville outrage and is expected to take at least five years to complete its remit of “investigating the extent to which institutions have failed to protect children from sexual abuse.” Yesterday it released its initial list of twelve broad areas for examination, which included: allegations of child abuse linked to Westminster; the internet and child sexual abuse, children in the care of Lambeth Council, and child sexual abuse in the Catholic and Anglican churches.In 1987 he was asked by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie, to chair the committee drawing up the new catechism which was produced in 1990.Ball was also the first suffragan Bishop of Lewes to become an area bishop when the diocese's area scheme was instituted in 1984.Abuse victim Neil Todd, who later died by suicide, said that: "It is an investigation which to be honest is well overdue. (...) When it came to the abuse, the abuse was sexual, mental and physical. The police stated that "The reports and files relate to matters more than 20 years ago and we will review the contents in order to establish whether any police investigation of possible criminal offences would be merited. We are not prepared to expand on this statement at this time.” On 13 November 2012, news services reported that Ball had been arrested for police questioning at his home near Langport, Somerset, following allegations of child sexual abuse during the late 1980s and early 1990s in the Diocese of Chichester.It [the abuse] stayed with me throughout my life's journey and even this far down the track it doesn't feel like there's any real closure. Sussex Police said Ball was released the same day on medical advice.It seems Peter Ball has been able to do that." Keith Porteous Wood, the executive director of the NSS, believes this was an orchestrated campaign.