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Peter Ball documentary - how the Establishment looks after its own

(48 Posts)
suziewoozie Mon 13-Jan-20 22:29:26

I’ve been aware of the Peter Ball scandal since it first became public in 1992. The Independent Enquiry into Child Secual Abuse heard evidence on it in 2018 and was very critical of amongst others, the church, Archbishop Carey and Prince Charles. I watched the first part of the documentary tonight on the BBC ( the second part is tomorrow). The full story is even more shocking .I watched the cover up unfold, saw the victims being rubbished, heard the great and the good interfere with due process, utterly shameless. Justice was denied for years. It’s astonishing in fact that it was ever achieved.

Underpinning it all it seems to me are two things - an unshakeable belief that certain people must always be believed because of their position in society and/ or a determination to cover up the truth otherwise the whole shaky edifice that is the British Establishment will come tumbling down.

Last night I watched the latest episode of the Christine Keeler story and there were so many parallels - interference from the very top in due process, the automatic protection of the rich/powerful/ well connected and complete disregard for the victims/ vulnerable/exploited who were just discarded.

Daisymae Tue 14-Jan-20 08:49:17

I will look out for that, never heard of Peter Ball. You mentioned Christine Keeler - of course Profumo was completely reintegrated into society.

suziewoozie Tue 14-Jan-20 09:46:53

Yes he was - just shows the power of the Establishment doesn’t it?

Eloethan Tue 14-Jan-20 23:54:26

I'm shocked that such an important documentary, exposing the role of the church and other supposedly respectable individuals and bodies in protecting Peter Ball in his mental and physical abuse of young men, seems to be of little interest to Gransnetters. I recorded it and have just watched it - it reveals what can only be described as moral and criminal corruption within the church and the wider establishment.

The church deliberately withheld evidence from the police and, despite knowing that PB was an abuser, allowed him to continue in an active role within the church. Other highly placed people also rushed to his defence.

As for Charles, who is also revered by some on Gransnet and in wider society, he is very naive - having given his fawning respect, friendship and support to both Peter Ball and Jimmy Savile - completely lacking in judgment or more interested in protecting his powerful chums - or possibly all three of those things. The royal family seems to be very unfortunate in its choice of friends.

How dreadful that that young man should have been so let down by those who should have protected him that he committed suicide rather than have to re-live the whole experience again in order to finally get this man brought to justice.

welbeck Wed 15-Jan-20 03:32:23

I remember when this matter first came to light, but before he was jailed for further offences.
the was a front page article in the diocesan newsletter about the new bishop. it mentioned that prayers were said and appreciation expressed for the former bishop, that one the perp, who'd had to resign. I was outraged, and said aloud, what about prayers for the young man he abused !
I was in the diocesan retreat house at the time. nobody was interested. no response from anyone. they seemed to think i was eccentric, so ignored me, in that typically british way. wish I'd been more outspoken, forced them to at least acknowledge the issue. I was so outraged I could barely speak. and I was younger then. default mode of being polite, esp in naice company.
ok that was some time ago before these issues had such prominence, but... how could they all be so blind.
and look at the Rochdale thing, they took no action, in case it caused community tensions ! what about the children being abused, what about their suffering. leading to suicide.

Jane10 Wed 15-Jan-20 07:34:14

I watched the film 'Spotlight' at the weekend. A dramatisation of a huge scandal in the church in America. It was much bigger than what went on/goes on here.

suziewoozie Wed 15-Jan-20 10:46:01

I’m not sure what point you’re making Jane. For one thing it’s not evidence based - wait till the Child Abuse Enquiry report is published before reaching judgements about the size and extent of child abuse in the UK compared with USA. We just don’t know ( and probably never will) the full facts but we should be horrified and not dismiss it by saying it’s worse somewhere else ( even if that were true)

wicklowwinnie Wed 15-Jan-20 10:48:52

The Establishment ALWAYS looks after it's own.
Nothing will ever change in that respect.

suziewoozie Wed 15-Jan-20 10:52:58

Eloethan it’s of little interest to most GNers because the guilty are pillars of the Establishment - C of E, Royalty that, as we know, are beyond reproach, ( unless they are foreign and mixed race).

Also it’s about sexual abuse and we know that most victims ‘ask for it’, ‘bring it on themselves’ ‘ ‘return to the abusers’

gillybob Wed 15-Jan-20 11:46:31

Unfortunately there are still two sides to the law. The side that deals with "us" the normal people and the side that deals with those who are still considered to be above us.

When the latter are accused of a crime there seems to be a "this cannot possibly be true" attitude as though the accuser(s) are making it all up.

On top of this all the usual clichés of "don't rock the boat" "sweep it under the carpet", "ignore it and it will go away" also apply .

Jane10 Wed 15-Jan-20 12:20:13

I'm not meaning to say it's worse anywhere else just wanted to tell people about that film! As a result of the Spotlight teams work they found 249 priests in the Boston diocese who'd abused children. The local Cardinal was 'recalled' to the Vatican!
The system of covering up included politicians, police and the church itself.

Calendargirl Wed 15-Jan-20 13:26:43

Have only seen the first part so far. He came across as very creepy I felt in the excerpts from the ITV programme about him which aired many years ago.

Eloethan Wed 15-Jan-20 14:02:59

That was a brilliant - but horrifying - film Jane 10. The way these priests inveigled themselves into unsuspecting families, relying on their absolute respect for, and trust in, the church and its priests, was so callous and premeditated.

I'd seen a documentary several years ago in which the victims and their families were interviewed. The severe damage these people did to young lives and to their unsuspecting families was obvious, and so heartbreaking to see.

Calendargirl In the footage in the TV documentary he came across as self-regarding, self-satisfied and extremely santimonious. I agree with one of the men who had been abused by him who said, whilst he was obviously an odious and twisted person, even worse were the religious leaders who misled the police and deliberately hindered any investigations. They treated each accusation that was raised as minor - and a much resented - inconvenience, rather than something that must be immediately reported to the police for investigation.

nightswimmer Wed 15-Jan-20 14:17:27

Watched the second part last night seemed as if a whole bunch of them were at it for decades. I only watched because a relative lived in that part of the country and had crossed paths with this guy.

Iam64 Wed 15-Jan-20 18:22:23

I apologise for starting a 2nd thread on this issue. I'd not seen this one and only checked the news and politics threads before starting my own.
Pity we can't combine them.
I watched the 2nd episode but remember the case very well.
I've also seen the film Spotlight which shows the way investigative journalists exposed the extent of abuse within the Catholic Church in Boston. Just as with Bishop Peter Ball, senior members of the RCChurch in Boston went to great lengths to protect the abuser, rather than support the victims.

I'll ask GNHQ if its possible to combine these threads.

NanKate Wed 15-Jan-20 20:51:39

It was a truly sad and disturbing case.

I wonder why Archbishop Carey has been allowed to remain in the House if Lords when he withheld vital letters from the police.

Iam64 Thu 16-Jan-20 08:24:32

I agree NanKate. The establishment does seem able to cover up or ignore things that involve the powerful. The same happened with Cyril Smith, until after his death, the extent of his offences was denied or minimised. David Steele's comment that CS had only been accused of smacking a few bottoms for example.
I suspect that society still struggles to accept the extent of child sexual abuse and exploitation. So, the victims continue to be seen as either lying or somehow culpable in their own abuse.

Framilode Thu 16-Jan-20 08:42:33

When I lived in Gloucestershire a couple of my friends were big supporters of Peter Ball. When he had to resign they had a support group for him and he wrote to them frequently. He always absolutely denied all the charges and they believed him. My friends believed him and so, too, they were abused in a different way - albeit in a much more minor way. I feel so sorry for the young men who were affected.

I am sure you are right when you say the Establishment closes ranks. It makes you wonder what else goes on that it is not in the 'public interest' for us to know.

tickingbird Thu 16-Jan-20 09:35:06

Yes absolutely disgraceful, almost on a par with the asian grooming gang scandal. That too was overlooked and ignored by the establishment.

suziewoozie Thu 16-Jan-20 10:32:36

tickingbird the issues revealed by PB affair are very different from the ‘grooming gangs’ issues and it helps neither to conflate them. Whilst both had at their heart the sexual abuse/exploitation of vulnerable young people, the reasons that allowed the situations to continue and for the perpetrators to be allowed to go unchecked for so long are very different and require different solutions ( apart from a societal commitment to protect vulnerable children and young people).

kittylester Thu 16-Jan-20 10:56:57

Whilst agreeing that this is appalling, I think all stratas of society look after their own. I have seen it with solicitors, doctors, dentists, small businesses, self employed people and criminals.

suziewoozie Thu 16-Jan-20 11:04:11

There’s looking after your own and then there’s the then A ofC who deliberately, wilfully and intentionally withheld evidence that stopped justice being done. Just let that sink in. The most senior person in the Church of England.

suziewoozie Thu 16-Jan-20 11:05:41

Minimising and setting up false equivalences is just a way of avoiding facing and addressing very uncomfortable truths.

tickingbird Thu 16-Jan-20 11:46:55

suziewoozie. I don't believe they are so different. Both are shocking and both were covered up by the establishment. The fact that more and more of these dreadful episodes are coming to light is testament to the bravery of individuals determined to be heard in the face of great opposition.

I won't go further as I don't wish to derail this thread but my point really is that we all, regardless of our political persuasions and leanings, must open our eyes, prepare to see what sometimes we don't want to see or accept, and do something about it wherever we can.

I believe people in power, political, royal, commerce are about to fall very soon. I just feel it.....

suziewoozie Thu 16-Jan-20 12:14:44

My problem is that I have no confidence at all that things have really changed. The price that people pay for coming forward is huge- whether they came forward initially or later.

Cultural as well as structural and institutional change is what is needed but with the differential distribution of power in society there is no one size fits all solution. For example, the abuse of young people in sport by coaches is facilitated by the power the coach has to give you a place on the team. The power a priest has is the esteem he is held in, a belief in all he says and that ‘doing this’ is Gods will. With the young girls and the grooming gangs, there appears to be the power the men had to make the girls feel loved and valued.

Then what’s different is how people react when the young person comes forward and the mechanisms in place for dealing with the allegations ( or not dealing with them). In sport, the reputation and therefore financial consequences for sporting clubs must have been a real motivator for covering up - but I bet they believed the allegations . With the church, I think it’s more complicated - yes the reputational damage that would result but I’d also guess a belief by some that this simply could not have happened and the priest is to be believed and not the boy.

With the ‘grooming gangs’ when girls/ parents came forward there seemed to be a common reaction of minimising the behaviour, of seeing the girls as complicit and consenting in the abuse. So yes they were believed but the behaviour was redefined as not really being abuse. Being a 12 year old prostitute was often quoted despite the fact that you can’t legally be that. As well as those I’ve just mentioned, I believe there were others who for political reasons wanted to avoid facing up to the ethnic dimension of the issue and therefore wanted a deliberate cover up or convinced themselves the girls chose to behave like that.

I just think it’s depressingly complicated