A survivor of alleged historical sexual abuse in the Church of England has complained that he has received no direct reply after writing to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, for the thirteenth time.
Archbishop Welby met the survivor last year and the Church of England, which is conducting an internal review into its handling of his case, has put him in regular contact with its National Safeguarding Team (NST).
The survivor, who has been known in media reports as 'Michael', was allegedly the victim while a teenager of abuse three decades ago by a retired vicar who was found to have committed suicide last month after he failed to attend court. The body of Trevor Devamanikkam, 70, was found by police when they went to his home in Witney, Oxfordshire, to arrest him.
Devamanikkam had been due to appear before Bradford and Keighley magistrates charged with three counts of buggery and three counts of indecent assault in the 1980s. The charges were brought under the Sexual Offences Act 1956 and related to a time when the homosexual age of consent was 21.
Last year, Michael, whose has now waived his anonymity and whose real name is Matt Ineson, lodged complaints of misconduct against the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, and four serving bishops, 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 of the one-year limit required by the Church.
According to Ineson, he disclosed the allegations of rape to Peter Burrows, the bishop of Doncaster, and Steven Croft, the then bishop of Sheffield and now bishop of Oxford, in 2012. The following year he disclosed to Martyn Snow, the then archdeacon of Sheffield and Rotherham, now bishop of Leicester.
In his letter to Welby, Ineson pleaded for the dismissal of the bishops in question.
A spokesperson for the Church of England's NST said: 'When Matthew wrote to Lambeth earlier this year, it was copied into a range of people and it was immediately taken up by the National Safeguarding Team, on behalf of the Archbishop, who have been in personal contact with him on a range of occasions since then to offer relevant support and talk through issues.
'The Archbishop takes all safeguarding issues very seriously and met with Matthew at the end of last year. Since the police investigation has come to a close the Bishop of Oxford has also been in touch to offer to meet with him and discuss his case.'
Ineson referred to the report last month into historical sex abuse by the former Bishop Peter Ball by Dame Moira Gibb, which concluded that the Church 'colluded' with Ball and resulted in Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, being forced to resign as an honorary Bishop in Oxford.
'In [Dame Moira's] own words 'speaking truth to power', I will speak the truth. I have no deference to any of you,' Ineson wrote. 'Why should I have? Only the truth will set you free. Why are you afraid of it? 'Power' is only real power when it is used for the good. You may think you are above the law, you are not. You are most certainly not above God's morality.'
A letter Ineson wrote to Croft in 2013 about the rapes and the church's alleged failure to act was copied to copied to Archbishop Sentamu and Glyn Webster, the bishop of Beverley.
Sentamu acknowledged receipt of the letter with a four-line response, saying he had read the letter. 'Please be assured I will keep you in my prayers through this testing time for you,' Sentamu wrote.
In 2014, Ineson formally reported the alleged rapes to the West Yorkshire police, who subsequently launched an investigation. Last year, he instructed a lawyer specialising in child abuse to make a claim against the C of E.
Devamanikkam continued to work as a C of E priest for at least a decade after the alleged offences.
In his latest letter to Archbishop Welby, on 26 June, Ineson began: 'I write concerning the rape and abuse I suffered at the hands of Trevor Devamanikkam.'
He outlined the complaints made against the Church hierarchy and complained about what he called an 'appalling' statement issued by the Church last month from the Bishop of Bath and Wells, Peter Hancock, the Church of England's lead safeguarding bishop, who said: 'We have been alerted by police that Trevor Devamanikkam has been found dead at his home. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by this sad news and we have offered Michael pastoral care and support.'
Bishop Hancock added: 'We will look carefully at how we responded, as we do in all serious safeguarding situations' and pointed out that support had been offered to Michael by the National Safeguarding Team.
The statement also pointed out that 'Michael had a private, pastoral meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury at the end of last year'.
Ineson acknowledged the meeting but claimed: 'I...had a meeting with you in November 2016 during which you would not discuss the matter in any depth and you have not offered me any support whatsoever since. At our meeting you did not even know Devamanikkam's name. So much for your interest.'
He added: 'I wrote to you personally 12 times in 2016 and received no reply and was ignored. Why was that? Considering the serious content and the church's bad reputation on handling sex abuse cases and especially ignoring victims, why was that?'
The Church said that the Archbishop could not respond during the police investigation into the case.
Ineson called for an independent review into the handling of his case. 'If The Church of England is, as it appears from their own statement, intent on looking carefully how they responded to my disclosures and a review into its handling of the case is to be undertaken then the question must be asked - who will undertake this investigation and review? It must not be done internally by The Church of England or its employees themselves or this would open to extreme bias in the same way as it would be inappropriate for me to undertake such an investigation and review for the same reasons.'
Ineson wrote: 'The Church of England has made me fight at every step to try and achieve both justice and the further prevention of abuse by my abuser. By doing this you have added to my abuse.'
He added: 'In my last letter to you I promised very clearly I would, once the legal process is over, reserve my right to waive my anonymity and speak out publicly about what happened to me and the way I have been systematically treated by The Church Of England. You ignored that letter.
'Now the legal process against Mr Devamanikkam is over. If you have a heart at all I ask you give me some peace. The Bishops involved should be removed from office/give their resignations…and I mean all of them. Unless you have a complete clean slate the safeguarding failures will never go away.'
Ineson has sent details of his case to all members of the General Synod, which meets in York this weekend, and Ineson himself will be protesting in York during the Synod – the C of E's equivalent to a parliament.
This week, the conservative religious affairs blogger 'Archbishop Cranmer' wrote: ['You] must address the legal hypocrisy...which demands the resignation of Lord Carey after more than 20 years, while these bishops remain in office, shielded by an arbitrary, non-statutory, 12-month CDM limitation.'