Baroness Butler-Sloss didn't reveal abuse claim against bishop because she 'cared about the Church', Times claims

Published 13 July 2014  |  
Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire/Press Association Images

More pressure has been put on Baroness Butler-Sloss in a damning Times report claiming she concealed abuse allegations against a Church of England bishop.

The newspaper is claiming she kept the allegations against Bishop Peter Ball out of a review into how the Church of England dealt with two paedophile priests. 

The report is based on testimony from Phil Johnson, who was abused by priests Roy Cotton and Collin Pritchard as a choirboy in the Diocese of Chichester. 

His allegations also extended to 82-year-old Bishop Ball, the former Bishop of Lewes and Bishop of Gloucester.

Mr Johnson claims that when he spoke to Baroness Butler-Sloss about the abuse, she suggested the claims should not be made public because "the press would love a bishop" and she "cared about the Church". 

She is reported to have said she would raise the allegations with the Archbishop of Canterbury in private, but Mr Johnson says he felt "pressured" into agreeing not to make the claims against the bishop public.  

Lady Butler-Sloss was appointed this week to head an inquiry into Westminster abuse but there have been calls for home secretary Theresa May to replace her because of her close ties to the establishment.  

Labour MP Simon Danczuk has responded to The Times report with another call for the appointment to be changed: "She gives the impression that she is putting the reputation of the Church before the interests of victims. There is information coming out by the day which suggests she is unsuitable for the role. I think it is for her to reach the conclusion that perhaps she is not best placed for this role."

The Church of England and Diocese of Winchester have yet to comment on the claims.  

Reprints

More News in Society