Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Abuse Inquiry Reveals Institutions to Be Probed

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Abuse Inquiry Reveals Institutions to Be Probed

Article excerpt

Byline: Hayden Smith Reporter

ALLEGATIONS involving current or former MPs, the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches and members of the intelligence agencies will be examined by a child abuse inquiry, it has been announced.

It also emerged that the royal family could be drawn into the probe as it considers whether there were "inappropriate attempts" by prominent figures to interfere in the case of a pervert bishop.

Last month, Clarence House was forced to deny that Prince Charles made an intervention in the judicial process on behalf of Peter Ball, who was jailed for sexually abusing aspiring priests, 22 years after the claims first came to light.

There have been accusations of an establishment cover-up with Ball, the former bishop of Lewes and Gloucester, counting a member of the royal family among those who wrote letters of support before he was let off with a caution in 1993. Chairwoman Justice Lowell Goddard confirmed the case will be considered by the inquiry, adding it will "investigate whether there were inappropriate attempts by people of prominence to interfere in the criminal justice process".

The New Zealand judge did not name any individuals.

The royal family has not been specifically identified as an institution being examined but it is understood it has not been excluded from potentially falling under the scope of the inquiry.

It came as the PS18m-a-year probe, which has been beset by delays following the resignation of two previous chairwomen, formally entered its investigative phase.

One of 12 separate strands set out by Justice Goddard on Friday was an "objective fact-finding" inquiry into allegations of abuse by "people of public prominence associated with Westminster".

She added: "The investigation will focus on high-profile allegations of child sexual abuse involving current or former members of parliament, senior civil servants, government advisers, and members of the intelligence and security agencies. "It will consider allegations of cover-up and conspiracy and will review the adequacy of law enforcement responses to these allegations. …

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