Questions 1 – Case of abuse by Rev Trevor Devamanikkam
Regarding Reverend Matt Ineson
- Is it correct that the Bishop has given inconsistent accounts of the disclosure by Matt Ineson of his childhood abuse by the Revd. Trevor Devamanikkam? This in the Bishop’s disclosures (twice orally and twice in writing)?
- Is it correct that the Bishop has given inconsistent accounts of the disclosure When the Archbishop of Canterbury met for a one-to-one with Matt Ineson in the wake of IICSA, Archbishop Justin Welby was accompanied by the Registrar for the Southern Province and Diocese of Oxford, the Revd. Canon John Rees. Mr. Rees was at the time a Senior Partner with Winckworth Sherwood, who advise both the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Oxford. Mr. Rees’ training incumbent was Revd. Trevor Devamanikkam. In your view, should the Registrar have mentioned these matters as a potential conflict of interest?
- Do you have a view on why nothing was said? Matt Ineson only subsequently learnt that Rees was not only a priest as well as senior lawyer, but that Mr. Rees’ training incumbent had been his own abuser under discussion. As a Bishop with responsibility for proper standards, what is your reaction to Rees non-disclosure of that prior relationship? Does that non-disclosure matter, and if so what do you think ought to be done about it?
- Does you accept that you chose to avoid the scrutiny of Matt Ineson’s complaint against you under the Clergy Discipline Measure by pleading the technical immunity available to respondents based upon the CDM rule requiring allegations be brought within one year?
- If YES, are you aware that the CDM had been delayed at the express wish of South Yorkshire Police who advised Matt Ineson that such parallel process, might interfere with and compromise their prosecution of the accused?
- Was the Bishop aware that Church Officers had known for over a year that the accused, Revd. Trevor Devamnnikkam had a history of mental illness when he departed the Sheffield Diocese and took up residence in the Oxford Diocese? Was he aware that Matt Ineson reports that he had received an admission form from a Church Officer that they had known?
- What steps did the then Bishop of Oxford take(if any) to check that a priest accused of child rape had moved to his diocese, was potentially a member of an Oxford congregation, and possibly in need of mental health and pastoral support?
- How much detail of the Matt Ineson complaint was known to the members of the Crown Nominations Commission when it approved Steven Croft’s nomination to become the Bishop of Oxford ? Was he required to make disclosure of current or potential CDM action at the point his application for the Oxford position was under consideration?
- At the Hearing of the Independent Inquiry onto Child Sexual Abuse, the Archbishop of York agreed with the assessment of the then Lead Bishop for Safeguarding, Peter Hancock that the treatment by the Church of Matt Ineson as victim and priest, was “shoddy and shambolic”. The 2017 House of Bishops document “Key Roles and Responsibilities of Church Office Holders and Bodies Practice Guidance” provides that the diocesan bishop is ultimately responsible for ensuring good safeguarding arrangements and practice in the diocese in line with the House of Bishops’ safeguarding policy and guidance. Thus, the five years delayed “Lessons Learned Review” will not seek to apportion blame or hold anyone to account. Given that the “Lessons Learned Review”, does not carry the confidence of Matt Ineson, who lost his job, home, pension vocation and faith as a direct consequence of “shabby and shambolic treatment”, does the Bishop accept that the failure of the Church to hold him to account might cause any fair-minded and reasonable commentator to describe the safeguarding issues in the Ineson case as currently “unresolved”?
- In the light of the above, would the Bishop (and his lawyers) still claim that there are “no outstanding allegations” made against Steven Croft? There were protesters at his service of installation in Oxford in 2016. Have all of those had their cases settled, or were they in fact, never resolved at all? Should the bloggers who claim that there are outstanding allegations be allowed to say so?