News by email Donate


Top Stories

Most Read

Popular Videos

UK News

Role of clergy considered under sexual offence laws

by Press Association

The proposal to include church leaders as being in a position of trust under sexual offence laws is being discussed as part of a review of criminal legislation but a decision is yet to be made.

The news comes after the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) published its findings on the Anglican Church's response to allegations against disgraced bishop Peter Ball.

A report recommended the Government amend part section 21 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 so that clergy are included in the definition of a position of trust, which would make sexual activity between a religious leader and victims aged 16 to 18, "over whom they exercise pastoral authority", an abuse of trust and a crime.

In May, IICSA's scathing report found the support the Prince of Wales gave to Ball after his caution for gross indecency was "misguided".

The Church of England was accused of "putting its own reputation above the needs of victims" by offering secrecy and protection for child abusers which allowed them to "hide in plain sight" for decades, despite damning allegations against them.

Ball, a self-styled confidant to Charles, was an example of how a senior member of the Anglican church "was able to sexually abuse vulnerable teenagers and young men for decades", backed by support from senior colleagues which was "rarely extended to his victims", the report said.

The report focused on evidence against the Diocese of Chichester and Ball, and found "a number of serious failings" following allegations of child sexual abuse dating back more than 40 years.

Ball, who died in June aged 87, had accepted a caution for one count of gross indecency in 1992 and resigned due to ill-health.

It was not until 22 years later that he finally admitted his crimes and was jailed in 2015 for sexually abusing 18 young men over three decades.

He was released in February 2017 after serving half of his 32-month sentence behind bars.

A Government spokesman said: "These abhorrent crimes rightly carry tough sentences, including life imprisonment, and we recognise how horrific abuse of power can be.

"That is why we have been looking at how the law around sexual offences is working, to check that it is protecting young people."

Stay up to date with the latest news stories from a Christian perspective. Sign up to our daily newsletter and receive more stories like this straight to your inbox every morning.

Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

A Monthly Gift Of $11 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the USA is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of $11 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Support Us

Related Articles

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.

News by email