Senior figures in the Church of England worked to conceal evidence of child abuse by former bishop Peter Ball, a report has claimed.
Ball's abuse is said to have taken place for more than two decades and the negligence of the church has been uncovered in a report named Abuse of Faith, The Independent said.
Dame Moira Gibb carried out the inquiry over the course of a year. She said the "failure to safeguard so many boys and young men still casts a long shadow."
In the report it is said that senior figures in the Church of England “displayed little care” for the victims of Ball, who was eventually jailed in October 2015.
The report says that Lambeth Palace did not pass letters of allegations to the police, even though there were six of them, and this failure "must give rise to a perception of deliberate concealment."
Ball eventually admitted to sexually abusing teenage boys and men in the 1970s, 80s and 90s and was sentenced to 32 months in prison, but was released after just 16 months.
Gibb said: "Ball's priority was to protect and promote himself and he maligned the abused.
"The Church colluded with that rather than seeking to help those he had harmed, or assuring itself of the safety of others."
Archbishop Justin Welby has said that this was "inexcusable and shocking behaviour" and despite the report stating it's unlikely the church would undertake similar work now, "we must learn lessons."
The report also criticised former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey, who claimed last year that he didn't preside over a cover-up in the 1990s, although he regretted not dealing with the issue properly.
It said Carey “set the tone for the Church's response to Ball's crimes." He has now responded, saying: “I believed Peter Ball's protestations and gave too little credence to the vulnerable young men and boys behind those allegations."