Archbishop of York could face police investigation for failing to act over abuse allegations

The Archbishop of York could face a police investigation for his failure to report allegations of sexual abuse, according to the lawyer of one victim.

Matt Ineson, a former Church of England priest who was known as Michael before he waived his right to anonymity, said he was raped by another priest, Trevor Devamanikkam, more than 20 years ago. Devamanikkam, who later lived in Oxfordshire, was eventually charged with child sex offences but killed himself in June the day before he was due in court.

BBCThe Archbishop of York is the second most senior clergyman in the Church of England

Ineson had previously launched formal complaints against four bishops, including the second most senior figure in the Church of England, John Sentamu, for failing to deal with this allegations of abuse.

An internal memo seen by Christian Today reveals that Sentamu 'proposed no action on disclosures' after being told of Ineson's abuse in 2013.

His lawyer, David Greenwood, now says police are investigating, according to a BBC documentary to be aired on Monday night. South Yorkshire Police would not comment.

A spokeswoman for Sentamu told Christian Today the Church of England takes all safeguarding issues and allegations very seriously.

'The Archbishop responded to a letter he received from Fr Matthew Ineson dated 7 June 2013,' she said.

'The Archbishop did not fail to act on any disclosure made. As the Diocesan Bishop has responsibility for matters such as these in his/her Diocese, this is a matter for the Diocesan Bishop to inform the Diocese Safeguarding Adviser,' she added pointing to the Church's policy on safeguarding.

Ineson said he disclosed his abuse 2012 to the current bishop of Oxford, Steven Croft, who was then bishop of Sheffield. He said he then told Archbishop Sentamu a year later in 2013 and also the former Archdeacon of Sheffield and Rotherham, now Bishop of Leicester, Martyn Snow.

'The Church has to wake up to the cover up the hierarchy have been engaging in,' Ineson told Christian Today.

'The sheer number of cases, in thousands, means the bishops and church authorities must have known what was and is still going on. If not they were hugely incompetent.

'I don't believe the Church will ever make any changes and the abuse will go on unless they are made to,' he added.

He told the BBC: 'By lies, by cover up, the Church of England has gone out of its way to protect them [the bishops].'

The Church's national safeguarding team said it was investigating complaints.

The documentary by BBC Inside Out Yorkshire and Lincolnshire will be aired at 19:30 GMT on BBC One on Monday 5 March.

Lifestyle