THE victim of a sexually abusive bishop has refused to participate in a Church-led inquiry into his abuser, calling it a “continuing cover-up”.

Graham Sawyer, who was indecently assaulted by former Bishop of Lewes Peter Ball in the 1980s, criticised the inquiry’s failure to examine what he described as a culture of bullying and intimidation within the Church which perpetuates abuse.

In October, Peter Ball, the former Bishop of Lewes, was jailed for nearly three years for offences against young men in his care in the 1970s and 1980s, including indecent assault against Graham Sawyer who lived in Eastbourne in his youth.

Graham, now a Church of England reverend in Burnley, was invited to participate in the inquiry set up by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby in the aftermath of Ball’s sentencing last year.

Yesterday morning he wrote to the inquiry’s chairman Dame Moira Gibb to decline to give evidence.

He said the enquiry “will only be dealing with half-truths and be party to a continuing ecclesiastical cover-up”.

He said: “The enduring intimidation of people like myself from the highest levels of the Church is in a way more appalling than what Ball did to me all those years ago.”

He said the decision to exclude victims’ subsequent experience from the scope of the enquiry “must be a conspiracy" to try to maintain silence with regard to how the Church mistreats people.”

A Church of England spokeswoman said: “The review, which started in February and is expected to last a year, will provide the Church as a whole with an opportunity to learn lessons which will improve our safeguarding practice and policy.”