Bishop of Oxford won't be stepping down over abuse review findings

Bishop Steven Croft

A spokesman for the Bishop of Oxford says he has no plans to step down after he was criticised in a review over his handling of abuse allegations. 

Matthew Ineson, who was 16 when he was raped in 1984 by the late Rev Trevor Devamanikkam and has since waived his right to anonymity, said he had reported the abuse to Dr Steven Croft in 2012 and 2013 when he was Bishop of Sheffield, and that he failed to act.

The Devamanikkam Review published last week concluded that Dr Croft, who is now the Bishop of Oxford, and other senior clergy, including the then Archbishop of York, Lord Sentamu, failed to act on the disclosures. 

Lord Sentamu has rejected the review's findings, claiming that they are based on a misunderstanding of the authority of bishops and archbishops in the Church of England.

He was subsequently ordered by the Bishop of Newcastle to step back from his role as Honorary Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Newcastle "until both the findings and his response can be explored further".

Mr Ineson has asked that the Bishop of Oxford also stand down in light of the review's findings. 

A spokesman for the Diocese of Oxford told The Times that Bishop Croft had made a "mistake" in believing that "others were dealing with the matter at the time", and that he would not be stepping down.

The spokesman said: "Steven Croft has apologised to Matthew multiple times for an error, and it was an error. There's nothing malicious in that. He's not the abuser of Matthew. Of course the bishop will not be standing down on this matter. There was an awful lot going on with Matthew. It is a mistake, but that's it."