Monday 9pm – 10pm and Tuesday 9pm – 10pm, BBC2
Sometimes, some of society’s biggest monsters are hidden in plain sight. Sadly, this has often been the case in recent years where murderers have blended in with search parties and appeared on TV making appeals before they are found out. It is these kind of people who commit some of the worst imaginable crimes, and former Bishop of Gloucester Peter Ball was a prolific and serial sexual predator who mingled with high society and utilised his position in the community to access the most vulnerable. The church provided him with the cover he desired, it was stated by a QC “For him, religion was a cloak behind which he hid in order to satisfy his sexual interest in those who trusted him”.
This two-part documentary explores the crimes, scandal and cover up facilitated by the Church of England over several decades. Peter Ball was sentenced to 3 years in prison after he admitted to sexually abusing a total of 18 young men, aged between 17 and 25. Ball died at home after a fall in 2019, but his crimes and the farcical nature in which the church investigated him will endure and impact innocent victims lives for many years. Ball only served 16 months of his sentence before being released.
Shockingly, as the documentary reveals, allegations of his predatory and despicable behaviour arose as early as 1993 when Neil Todd came forward. The Anglican bishop was cautioned by Police but was allowed to stay within the church and carry on abusing young men. Further tragedy was suffered when Todd committed suicide in 2012, after three previous attempts. Exploring this travesty, the BBC probes as to how Ball was allowed to stay on in the church, uncovering an astonishing series of cover-ups and deceit. Perhaps most shockingly it uncovers that the Church of England used church money to hire private investigators to discredit Ball’s accusers.
Gathering the information and powerful testimony from victims, police and church officials, the documentary tells the story of how the cover-up went to the highest levels of the church, even using Ball’s friendship with Prince Charles to protest his innocence. It charts the brave battle of his victims who for years have fought against various establishments determined to keep Ball’s heinous crimes hidden. Their determination ensured a devious sexual predator was convicted, and that not even the Anglican church could sweep the situation under the carpet.
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