Ex-vicar says clerics ignored his rape complaints

A FORMER vicar who was raped by a priest says his claims were ignored by Church of England clerics.

Matthew Ineson, who lives in Heckmondwike, has waived his right to anonymity in a bid to expose the abuse he suffered as a 16-year-old at the hands of Bradford priest Trevor Devamanikkam.

Speaking at an inquiry into child sex abuse, Mr Ineson said that he was raped by Mr Devamanikkam in 1984 and when he tried to report the crime almost 30 years later he was ignored and no further action was taken by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.

Mr Devamanikkam took his own life on the day he was due to appear in court accused of the sexual offences.

Mr Ineson, who is no longer part of the Church of England, said to the inquiry: “I cannot see the face of Jesus in the Archbishops of Canterbury or York. The Archbishop of Canterbury consistently takes no further action and, to me, therefore condones all these actions. I don’t think those people are fit for office.”

Mr Ineson accused the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, of being “arrogant, rude and a bully” at a meeting for survivors of clerical abuse.

He asked the archbishop for an apology for failing to do anything about his complaints, and Dr Sentamu said: “Apologies mean different things to different people.”

Mr Ineson was ordained in 2000 and practised as a vicar in Rotherham for more than 10 years and said he first disclosed information about the sexual assault between 2012 and 2013.

But nothing came of his reports to the Bishop of Doncaster, Peter Burrows, the then bishop of Sheffield, Steven Croft, and the then archdeacon of Rotherham, Martyn Snow. He did get a reply from Dr Sentamu, who wrote: “Please be assured of my prayers and best wishes at this difficult time.”

Speaking at the inquiry last Wednesday, Dr Sentamu said that he had received a copy of the cleric’s letter about Mr Ineson’s case but thought it was the Bishop of Sheffield’s responsibility.

He also admitted that the treatment of Mr Ineson by the church had been “shabby and shambolic”.

Dr Sentamu has since thrown his support behind the introduction of mandatory reporting of sexual abuse, as has Mr Welby.

Batley & Spen MP Tracy Brabin, who has been supporting Mr Ineson for the past two years, is calling on the government to bring forward legislation to make the reporting of sexual abuse of children and vulnerable adults mandatory across all institutions.

She said: “Matthew and many other survivors have shown incredible bravery in coming forward and reliving their ordeals and we must do all we can to ensure others are heard and action is taken.

“The Archbishop of Canterbury’s support for a change in regulation represents a significant step forward and one which could prevent further suffering. There is significant evidence to show that mandatory reporting can double the number of at-risk children placed into safety. A change in the law can’t come soon enough.”

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