Bishops 'abuse cover-up' resignation call by alleged victim

Matt Ineson
Image caption Matt Ineson held a protest at York Minster

A man who said he was raped as a teenager by a Church of England vicar is calling on four serving Bishops and the Archbishop of York to resign, citing allegations of misconduct.

Matt Ineson said Church leaders did not act when he told them, nearly 30 years later, of the alleged abuse in 1984.

He has lodged a complaint and protested outside York Minster at a General Synod gathering.

The Church's national safeguarding team said it took the matter seriously.

The Reverend Trevor Devamanikkam was facing charges of rape but killed himself in June before his case came to court.

He faced six charges relating to sexual assaults alleged to have taken place between March 1984 and April 1985, while a vicar in Bradford.

Image caption Mr Ineson alleges he was raped as a teenager by the Reverend Trevor Devamanikkam

Mr Ineson, who later became a vicar, alleged he had been raped aged 16.

In 2012, he said he told the Bishop of Sheffield, now Bishop of Oxford, Steven Croft, about the abuse.

'Nothing to hide'

A year later he said he also told the former Archdeacon of Sheffield and Rotherham, now Bishop of Leicester, Martyn Snow.

He claims they failed to act and he filed complaints of misconduct with the Church in 2015.

They were lodged against Bishop Croft and Bishop Snow, in addition to the Bishop of Doncaster, Peter Burrows, the Bishop of Beverley, Glyn Webster, and Archbishop John Sentamu.

Image copyright Matt Ineson
Image caption Mr Ineson shortly before his 16th birthday

However his complaints, filed under the Clergy Discipline Measure, were deemed to have failed because the allegations were more than a year old.

A request for extension of the one-year time limit was refused by the Church.

Mr Ineson said: "Why would you object to being investigated if you had nothing to hide?"

Outside York Minster he told the BBC: "This is not historic, this is now and happening now.

"I want safeguarding to be done properly, there should be an independent safeguarding authority for all institutions including the church."

'Very different'

Bishop Croft told BBC Radio 4 his memory of conversations with Mr Ineson was "very different" to the complainant's.

He said he would "genuinely value" an opportunity to meet Mr Ineson and he had "absolutely nothing to hide".

"I am very sorry he feels he wasn't heard and I'm sorry for the suffering that caused him."

Bishop Snow said Mr Ineson's complaint had followed the "normal Church procedure" and there had been "huge investment of resources...into safeguarding."

"I was asked to give evidence as indeed the other bishops were, the judge weighed up the evidence and he decided there was no case to answer," he added.

Image copyright Matt Ineson
Image caption Mr Ineson, who was a vicar, alleged he had been raped aged 16

A spokesperson for the Church's national safeguarding team said it had been in contact with Mr Ineson to offer support.

"When Matthew wrote to Lambeth earlier this year, it was copied into a range of people and it was immediately taken up by the National Safeguarding Team, on behalf of the Archbishop," he said.

"The Archbishop takes all safeguarding issues very seriously and met with Matthew at the end of last year.

"Since the police investigation has come to a close the Bishop of Oxford has also been in touch to offer to meet with him and discuss his case."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites