A retired Church of England bishop has been jailed for a string of offences against teenagers and young men.
Peter Ball, 83, was sentenced to 32 months for misconduct in a public office and 15 months for indecent assaults, to run concurrently.
The former Bishop of Lewes and Bishop of Gloucester used “religion as a cloak” to carry out the abuse between the 1970s and 1990s, the court heard.
The Church of England said there were “no excuses”.
Ball was described by the judge at the Old Bailey, Mr Justice Wilkie, as a man who did “so much good and so much harm”.
Bobbie Cheema QC, prosecuting, said: “He was highly regarded as a godly man who had a special affinity with young people.”
“The truth was that he used those 15 years in the position of bishop to identify, groom and exploit sensitive and vulnerable young men who came within his orbit.”
“For him, religion was a cloak behind which he hid in order to satisfy his sexual interest in those who trusted him.”
Ball, now of Langport in Somerset, was Bishop of Lewes between 1977 and 1992 and Bishop of Gloucester from 1992 until his resignation the following year.
In September, he admitted offences against 18 teenagers and young men in the 1970s, 80s and 90s