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Church investigating claims Archbishop Sentamu ‘ignored’ report on rape

Justin Welby (R), the Archbishop of Canterbury, and Dr John Sentamu, the archbishop of York Photo: GETTY IMAGES

By Agencies

The Church of England is launching an independent review after claims that Ugandan born archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, failed to report a priest’s alleged rape to the police.

Authorities purport the Archbishop was told by (a one) Matthew Ineson that he had been raped as a teenager in the 1980s by Rev Trevor Devamanikkan in Bradford.

A memo from June 2013 reveals that John Sentamu received Ineson’s allegation but recommended ‘no action’ be taken. Instead he replied to Ineson offering his prayers ‘at this difficult time’. Devamanikkan went on to live in Witney, Oxfordshire, before eventually being charged with three counts of buggery and three counts of indecent assault last year. However he committed suicide the day before he was due in court in June last year.

The diocese of York insists that Sentamu did not fail to act on any disclosures because that responsibility lay with Ineson’s local bishop, Steven Croft, who was at the time bishop of Sheffield.

Ineson subsequently filed clergy discipline complaints against Sentamu, Croft, as well as two other bishops who he had told of his abuse but he says failed to act on his complaints.

Now Ineson is calling on both Sentamu and Croft to resign ‘with immediate effect for failing to act on my disclosure to him and again, leaving my abuser for 4 years to potentially abuse again’.

In a statement on Thursday he said: “He is in effect passing the buck and saying “not my job”. Is it now the case that clergy, even bishops and archbishops, can ignore disclosures of abuse by simply saying “not my job”? There was also a complete lack of pastoral care by both of them.”

He added: “Once again I call for the immediate resignations of John Sentamu and Steven Croft for breaching safeguarding procedures which they are required to do by virtue of the public office they each respectively hold as bishops of the established church. If they refuse to do so, and the church refuses to hold them to account, we once again have the Church of England complicit and colluding with the abuse of children and the vulnerable and taking no action to prevent it.”

Ineson’s statement came in response to a lengthy statement from the Church’s National Safeguarding Team after a BBC One documentary for Inside Out followed Ineson’s story on Monday.

“Matthew Ineson’s case has been taken very seriously since it came to our attention,” the Church’s statement said, describing his abuse as ‘harrowing’.

It added an independent review will be launched into Ineson’s case once the clergy discipline complaints had been dealt with.

As we have said before there are currently complaints from Matthew Ineson himself, which are being investigated under the Clergy Discipline Measure. Once these complaints have been dealt with, the Core Group, which is the Church’s response to any allegations of abuse, has already decided that an independent review of the case will be commissioned.

“It is not possible to go into any further details of this case.”

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