THE VICTIM of a bishop jailed for sexual abuse has demanded to know whether “a deal was done” to spare the clergyman a criminal conviction.

The former Bishop of Lewes Peter Ball was jailed for nearly three years last October for the sexual abuse of 16 young men.

Graham Sawyer, who was indecently assaulted by Ball while a teenager, told The Argus: “It’s difficult to know who is telling the truth in this case.

“It’s very important for everyone else’s sake that we find out whether a deal was done.”

His remarks follow the comments of a detective who was involved in a 1992 investigation of Ball which resulted in a caution but no criminal conviction for Ball.

Mr Sawyer said leading Anglican figures at the time had written letters to the Crown Prosecution Service suggesting the Church applied pressure over the case.

Last weekend a national newspaper disclosed the police summary of the investigation, which included the advice that charging Ball would have a “devastating effect on the Church” while cautioning him would possibly “minimise embarrassment to the Church”.

Former Det Insp Wayne Murdock hit back at the suggestion police “did a deal”.

He said: “I don’t do deals and no deal was struck. It really upset me.

“There was absolutely no deal. I do not do deals and that is what I want to emphasise. To suggest, as they do, that there was any deal done is extremely misleading.”

Mr Murdoch insisted the original investigation was properly handled.

Keith Porteous Wood, chief executive of the National Secular Society, told The Argus: "It is clear from the police’s notes that they considered the alleged victims were credible and did not believe Ball was being truthful.

"While I accept that both the police and CPS were put under considerable pressure, it is inexplicable why the police thought that a legitimate argument against charging Ball was that it would have a 'devastating effect on the Church which is already in turmoil' and even contemplated investigating whether 'ecclesiastical laws … may have been broken.'

"That was surely not an issue for the police to consider."

The national Goddard Inquiry into historic child abuse singled out Peter Ball’s case as one of a handful which should be specially investigated.

While Bishop of Lewes in the 1980s, Ball indecent assaulted two young men and perpetrated acts of “debasement” on 16 others who had come to his home seeking spiritual enlightenment.

Shortly after Ball’s conviction, Berwick churchman Vickery House, who worked under Ball within the Church, was jailed for five counts of abuse.

The Church is conducting its own independent review of the Church’s role in the Ball case, commissioned by Archbishop Justin Welby.