'The Prince of Wales stayed friends with a disgraced former bishop because he didn't realise his caution meant he had admitted being a paedophile, he has told an inquiry.
Prince Charles's evidence, which will be read out at a hearing next week, reveals he had 'decades of correspondence' with Peter Ball, now 86, and sometimes gave him 'small gifts of money'.
His statement to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) claims he did not know the ex-Bishop of Lewes was confessing to his crimes when he accepted a police caution in 1993, reports The Times.
It reads: 'I was certainly not aware at the time of the significance or impact of the caution.'
Ball was finally jailed for 32 months in October 2015 after a fresh police investigation revealed he had sexually abused 18 young men over a period of 30 years.
He was released in February last year after serving half his sentence behind bars.
Ball often spoke of his links with the Royal family and was invited to give communion at the Prince's home in Highgrove.
He also spoke at the Duchess of Cornwall's father Bruce Shand's funeral in 2006 and lived on Duchy of Cornwall land from 1997 to 2011.
The inquiry is examining how the Church of England handled sex abuse allegations and has previously focused on the Diocese of Chichester - where Ball was the former Bishop of Gloucester and several other convicted paedophile priests once officiated.
The week-long case study beginning on Monday will investigate 'whether there were inappropriate attempts by people of prominence to interfere in the criminal justice process after he was first accused of child sexual offences'.
Ball was allowed to continue giving church services after he accepted a police caution for a single offence in March 1993.
The secretive deal meant he was not exposed until a fresh police investigation uncovered the extent of his abuse 22 years later.'
Read more: Prince Charles to tell child abuse inquiry he was 'certainly not aware' his bishop friend was a paedophile despite the clergyman accepting a caution for gross indecency
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20 August 2019
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