Updated Friday afternoon
We published late Wednesday evening a statement from the Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team regarding Matthew Ineson.
Matthew Ineson has now issued a response:
Call for the Resignation of Archbishop John Sentamu and Bishop Steven Croft
It is confirmed by the National Safeguarding Team of the Church of England that in 2013 Archbishop John Sentamu received, and replied to, a letter from me to him disclosing sexual abuse by a priest I had suffered as a youngster. An internal memo which has been acquired via a data protection act request by me and is dated 25th July 2016 confirms this and clearly states ‘I have also a copy of the Archbishop of York’s letter to Ineson, dated 2nd July 2013, which acknowledges that he had read a letter written to Steven Croft, copied to the Archbishop of York, which repeated the disclosure of an alleged criminal offence.’
The letter I sent to John Sentamu was a copy of a letter I had sent to Bishop Steven Croft, dated 1st June 2013, which not only contained details of my sexual abuse, but also complained bitterly of the failure to act on my disclosures by Bishop Steven Croft and Bishop Peter Burrows. By this time Steven Croft had ignored three disclosures from me, two by telephone and this letter of 1st June.
John Sentamu replied saying he had read the letter and assured me of his prayers and best wishes through this testing time. Beyond that I was not offered any care, no support was given, I was not encouraged to report my abuse to the police nor was my disclosure(s) passed to the relevant church safeguarding officer or any other authority by him.
In the statement by The Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team issued yesterday (above) it is claimed that the Archbishop did not fail to act on any disclosure made, because the responsibility to respond and act lay with the diocesan bishop, namely Steven Croft. The National Safeguarding Team are clearly stating here that Steven Croft should have acted. He didn’t and my abuser, The Revd Trevor Devamnaikkam, was left 4 ½ years after my first disclosure to Steven Croft and 4 years after my correspondence with John Sentamu to potentially abuse again. He was charged in May 2017 with 6 serious charges of sexual abuse against me. Steven Croft has admitted on several occasions that I disclosed my abuse to him in the media over the past 16 months. I have pursued the complaint against Steven Croft’s failures several times with the church who have blocked any attempt at investigation into his failures. The National Safeguarding team now acknowledge those failures and I call on Steven Croft to resign with immediate effect.
I also call upon Archbishop Sentamu 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.
Both these bishops failed to act in accordance with Church of England Safeguarding guidelines and left children and the vulnerable at risk of harm for over 4 years. Both bishops neglected their duties regarding safeguarding and John Sentamu neglected his duties by also not exercising his authority in terms of discipline over Steven Croft or Peter Burrows. 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.
In the past two days two more people have contacted me to say that some of the bishops I have complained about have also failed them in a similar manner.
Further, the memo addressed to the Archbishop in June 2017 refers to ‘survivors’ of Trevor Devamanikkam in the plural. The National Safeguarding Team dismiss this as being untrue and due to human error by the author of the memo. However, John Sentamu acknowledged, dated and signed this memo as ‘noted’. He therefore read that there were multiple victims of abuse and took no action or questioned this. This again potentially left other vulnerable people open to abuse. It may or may be the case that there were other victims of Trevor Devamanikkam. That is not the issue here. The issue is that John Sentamu was told in writing there was, acknowledged that and did not act as required to do so.
Also, I challenge the assertion that the National Safeguarding Team did not know that Trevor Devamanikkam had previously attempted to take his own life before his suicide. They did know, and no risk assessments or checks were carried out on him by anyone in The Church of England at all including the National Safeguarding team, anyone at diocesan level or by the diocesan bishop himself, Steven Croft.
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.
Archbishop Cranmer has responded to this with a lengthy article: The Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team is either untruthful or incompetent (or quite possibly both)
This article contains a detailed discussion about the various time limits applicable and the procedures for applying for extensions thereof. Its accuracy on these details has been queried. I’ll deal with this initially in the Comments below.