SEX abuse campaigners have called for investigations to look at the former head of the Anglican church in Sussex Eric Kemp after it was revealed he knew of abuse by bishop Peter Ball.

Peter Ball was jailed last year for sexual offences in the 1970s and 1980s against 18 young men who were under his guidance.

Revelations have come out in a report which shows that a Church of England priest held secret talks with police in an attempt to cover up the scale of Ball’s abuse.

The 1993 report, written by a private investigator “in utter confidence” for Eric Kemp and then - Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey, concluded that Ball had abused “very many young men through his care.”

The investigator, a Church of England priest, then held talks with police “to prevent a scandal in the press, especially as Peter was a frequent visitor to Sandringham and is friendly with Prince Charles.”

The pressure bore fruit and Ball was cautioned rather than tried, which the CPS have since acknowledged was the wrong decision in light of the available evidence.

Lord Carey declined to comment on the documents, saying he would co-operate with the Goddard Inquiry into historic sexual abuse, and with a Church of England investigation into the Ball affair which was formally launched by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby yesterday.

But Graham Sawyer, one of Ball’s victims, called for a broader investigation.

He said: “Quite possibly the investigation should look more widely into affairs in the diocese under Eric Kemp.

He added: “Kemp was very damning about people like Neil Todd, who so bravely came forward to speak about their abuse at the hands of Peter Ball, he called them ‘mischief makers.’ “And now perhaps we can see why he was trying to blacken their characters, because if he had been a responsible bishop, rather than destroying their reputations he would have opened an investigation in his own diocese where, clearly, he was aware abuse was taking place.”

Anne Lawrence, former head of sexual abuse survivor’s network MACSAS (Ministers and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors) said: “Kemp opened up a channel by which offenders came into his diocese, it’s no coincidence that there are dozens of these priests who served under him who have been charged with offences.

“There was a huge issue in Sussex, MACSAS is aware of many hundreds of victims over this period.”


ERIC Kemp (April 27, 1915-November 28, 2009) was the head of the Anglican Church in Sussex for more than a quarter of a century, occupying the post of Bishop of Chichester from 1974 to 2001.

Having been consecrated shortly before the introduction of a mandatory retirement age of 70 for Bishops, he was by the time of his retirement, at the age of 86, one of the oldest and longest-serving bishops in recent history.

Colin Perkins, safeguarding advisor for the Diocese of Chichester since 2011, described him as “The last of the ‘Prince Bishops’.

He added: “He exercised a great deal of control across Chichester.

“We ended up with a bishop in 2001 who was born in 1915 and so the understanding of safeguarding we were taking into the 21st century was almost Victorian.”

Several priests and bishops who served under Kemp in the 1970s and 1980s have subsequently been convicted for sexual abuse.

In 1995, the anonymous victim of wartime Bishop George Bell wrote to Eric Kemp to share her story but was only offered pastoral care by a vicar who was shortly to leave his parish.

Peter Ball, former Bishop of Lewes and a protege of Kemp’s, was jailed last year after admitting molesting 18 young men under his care between 1977 and 1992.

Priest Vickery House, who worked under Ball, was convicted for indecent assaults on five males as young as fourteen dating back to the 1970s.