A criminal case against the former archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, would be an attack on all 'biblically faithful Christianity', according to a handful of conservative Anglicans.
A letter signed by the Marquess of Reading, who is a friend to Prince Charles, and the former bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali, dismissed the notion that George Carey, 82, could be investigated for misconduct in public office as 'bizarre'. They said 'an attack on him is an attack on us all'.
It comes after the Metropolitan Police said they were considering a report that laid bare how George Carey 'colluded' with Peter Ball, the former bishop of Gloucester, who was jailed in 2015.
Ball was sentenced to 15 months for indecent assaults against a string of young men and also 32 months for misconduct in public office, opening up the possibility that other senior clergy could be jailed for their role in abuse.
However in a letter to the Telegraph, the 10 signatories including the former bishop of Woolwich, Colin Buchanan, said current investigations into child sexual abuse, such as Operation Yewtree and Operation Hydrant, 'have investigated hundreds of cases of suspected misconduct in public office and have yet to bring a case to trial'.
It added: 'No one has been charged with any offence in relation to the misdemeanours of Jimmy Savile. The cases against Lord Bramall, Leon Brittan, Edward Heath and Cliff Richard were all dropped.
'Why is Lord Carey being targeted at this time? Certain public leaders appear to be being attacked by insinuation without due process.
'The notion that a criminal case could be brought against Lord Carey is so bizarre that we can only surmise that the object of the persistent pressure that brings these public attacks is not only Lord Carey but what he represents of biblically faithful Christianity. An attack on him is an attack on us all.'
There is no indication that a criminal investigation into Carey is under way.
The concern comes after a statement from the Metropolitan Police indicated it was open to the possibility of criminal charges and were looking into a report by Dame Moira Gibb to see if there were any indications of criminal conduct.
'The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) continues to consider the report by Dame Moira Gibb into the Church of England's handling of the Bishop Peter Ball case to identify if there are any criminal matters that the MPS should investigate,' a spokeswoman said.
The Gibb report, published last June, found that Carey was told of Ball's abuse in the 1990s but failed to pass on six letters detailing allegations to the police and also failed to put him on a 'black list' of clergy unfit for ministry.
The wake of the highly critical report the current archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, asked Carey to step down from his role as an honorary bishop in Oxford.
Operation Hydrant officers are working on allegations emerging from the current independent inquiry into child sexual abuse. They are also looking into whether an investigation into Lord Carey should be launched.
A Hydrant spokeswoman said: 'The matters under consideration are complex, and advice is being sought from CPS to understand whether anything contained within the report suggests criminal offences have been committed. This does not equate to a criminal investigation being under way.'