A PRIEST who says he was repeatedly raped as a teenager by another cleric, the late Trevor Devamanikkam (News, 16 June), held a protest outside York Minster during the sung eucharist attended by General Synod members on Sunday.
He is calling on several bishops and the Archbishop of York to resign over their handling of his complaints.
The priest, the Revd Matthew Ineson (right in photo), with his lawyer, David Greenwood (left), handed out leaflets next to a board that demanded that the Bishops of Doncaster, Oxford, Leicester, and Beverley, and Dr Sentamu step down voluntarily or be required to.
Mr Ineson, who has previously campaigned over his case using the pseudonym Michael, said that each of the bishops failed to act when he reported his ordeal to them (News, 29 July). “All of them have been told and they did nothing,” he said on Sunday after the Minster service had ended, while handing out fliers to Synod members leaving the Minster.
During an interview on Radio 4 on Sunday morning, the Bishop of Oxford, Dr Steven Croft, said that he would “genuinely value an opportunity to meet with Matthew”, as he had “absolutely nothing to hide”. He did, though, acknowledge that in 2013 Mr Ineson had disclosed the abuse to him: “He did make some reference to it in our first phone conversation.”
But he said: “The memory of our conversations is very different.”
Mr Ineson drew parallels between his case and the findings of the Gibb review of the Peter Ball case.
“George Carey ignored seven letters; [another abuse survivor] and I sent 31,” he said. “How many more does it have to be? They should go. But they won’t go against a serving bishop.
“My case has been five years; it’s gone on for a long time. It needs a huge attitude of change. In my case alone, a youngster was raped and now a man is dead. How bad does it have to get?”
Two complaints under the Clergy Discipline Measure, against the alleged rapist Devamanikkam, and a retired bishop, the Rt Revd Roy Williamson, for failing to take action against him, were put on hold pending the outcome of the criminal charges against Devamanikkam. Those proceedings came to an end when Devamanikkam was found dead in his Oxfordshire home. Mr Greenwood is hoping that the CDM process will soon restart.
Mr Greenwood and Mr Ineson also both said that the Church of England needed to hand over all safeguarding investigations to an independent body, to avoid accusations of a cover-up, if for no other reason.
Hearing the cries of the abuse - The Peter Ball case shows that a culture change is urgently needed, says Peter Selby