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John Stillwell/PA Wire
UK News

Dozen new abuse victims came forward following press coverage, inquiry told

by Press Association

Sussex Police reopened the case into sexual abuse allegations made against the disgraced bishop under the name Operation Dunhill on July 25 2012.

In total, 12 new victims came forward as a result of press coverage, more than 20 years after he received a police caution for one count of gross indecency and resigned due to ill health.

Detective Superintendent Carwyn Hughes was the senior investigating officer on the inquiry which resulted in Ball being jailed in 2015.

Mr Hughes told the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) on Wednesday that one complainant "unknown to the Church" came forward when the investigation was launched.

He added that the November 2012 arrest of the ex-Bishop of Lewes and Gloucester "generated further publicity at which point seven new victims came forward".

A further four individuals approached him following Ball's guilty plea, conviction and sentencing.

But those cases were not considered in the public interest and not investigated as Ball was already behind bars.

Asked by IICSA counsel Nikita McNeill how the force balanced "the benefits of press coverage" with its potential to damage the investigation or trial, Mr Hughes alluded to Cliff Richard's High Court privacy battle against the BBC, which the singer won last week.

He said: "It's really interesting from my perspective as well, because use of the media, obviously it had a lot of attention outside of this public inquiry only last week.

"Because it was beyond my control, I had to relax about it. There was nothing I could do about it.

"It's also in public knowledge that this inquiry is taking place," he added.

He also said the attention was a "very useful tool, in all honesty" for helping to bring victims forward.

Ball was imprisoned for 32 months in October 2015 for offences dating back to the 1970s against 18 young men, but was released last February after serving half of his sentence.

He had admitted two offences of indecent assault and also misconduct in public office.

The hearing continues.

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