Bishop of Oxford: I want to meet with abused priest Matthew Ineson

One of the bishops accused by a Church of England priest of ignoring cries for help over his abuse by another priest as a young man has said he is willing to meet him and discuss the issue.

Aaron Mello/Unsplash

Interviewed this morning on the BBC's Sunday programme, the Bishop of Oxford, Steven Croft, said he was sorry Rev Matt Ineson 'feels he wasn't heard' and wanted to meet him to discuss the situation.

Ineson was abused three decades ago while he was a teenager and living at the home of Rev Trevor Devamanikkam following a family breakdown. Devamanikkam committed suicide earlier this year before police were due to arrest him.

Ineson has lodged complaints of misconduct against the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, and four serving bishops including Croft, claiming that they had failed to act on his disclosures of rape. The complaints, made under the C of E's clergy disciplinary measure, were dismissed because they were filed outside the one-year limit required by the Church.

Bishop Steven Croft said he was anxious to meet with Matthew Ineson.

Croft said this morning: 'I'm sorry he feels he wasn't heard and I'm sorry for the suffering that's caused him. I would genuinely value an opportunity to meet with Matthew, I have absolutely nothing to hide.'

He said he was 'cautious' about confirming Ineson's account of telling him of his experience in two telephone conversations, saying their memory of the calls was 'very different'. A letter Ineson sent did not contain enough information for him to believe he should report it to the police, he said.

Croft stressed that an independent adjudicator had said there was not a case for allowing the complaint to go forward.

He said he was anxious to meet Ineson, adding: 'Until we've had that face-to-face conversation and compared different accounts of what happened, and how all the "not listening" Matthew feels has taken place occurred, it's really difficult to reach firm conclusions.'