in the back
Bashing the bishops in York
Church of England, Issue 1468
john-sentamu.jpg
AFTER THE FLOOD: Archbishop Sentamu, in whose palace basement records of complaints against clergy were irreparably damaged by floodwater
SOUTH Yorkshire Police is investigating complaints of misconduct in public office against four Church of England bishops and an archbishop, John Sentamu.

The complaints were made by the Rev Matthew Ineson, who says the churchmen all failed to act on his repeated disclosures in 2012 and 2013 that he had been abused by a priest 20 years earlier, when he was a teenager in Bradford. At the time of Ineson’s disclosures all five clerics were working in the church’s Northern Province of York.

It is unusual for Inspector Knacker to be involved in such a case. Most grievances against clergy are dealt with internally through the Clergy Disciplinary Measure (CDM), which covers everything from gripes about a vicar’s choice of hymns to allegations of abuse. All complaints are sent up the line to the diocesan bishop, who passes judgment and hands down a penalty where necessary. If the complaint is against a bishop it goes to the archbishop – though in practice no bishop has ever been disciplined under the CDM except for Rt Rev Peter Ball, who was already behind bars.

Immune from investigation
One of the strangest features of this discipline procedure is that complaints must be lodged within 12 months of the alleged offence. Given that the average length of time between child sexual abuse and disclosure is 14 years, this means cases of clergy abuse against children and young people are almost immune from internal investigation.

Stranger still, if the 12-month deadline has passed, the person against whom the complaint is made has to consent to it being pursued. Thus in the case of Matthew Ineson, who was raped by his parish priest at just 16, the church was in the bizarre position of having to ask his abuser – Rev Trevor Devamanikkam – for permission to investigate. Devamanikkam simply ignored the request. (He was less successful at staving off the police: sent for trial in June 2017 on six counts of sexual assault, he killed himself the night before he was due to appear.)

Damaged by flooding
Ineson’s internal complaints against the bishops in 2015 also fell foul of the one-year rule. Nor was that all. The Clergy Discipline Commission, which oversees the CDM process, says in its annual report for 2015 that six complaints were made against bishops and all were dismissed, but that these figures “are based solely on the return for the province of Canterbury figures – records for the province of York were damaged by flooding”.

The relevant documents had been stored in the basement of Archbishop Sentamu’s palace outside York, which was indeed affected by flooding in the last week of 2015. Thankfully, precious church archives from the 15th century survived the deluge. Sadly, the complaints against 21st-century bishops did not. God certainly moves in a mysterious way.

‘The Devil’

More top stories in the latest issue:

CAPITA & THE MoD
How Capita scrounged extra taxpayer cash and won concessions for its pisspoor work on MoD recruitment – possibly its worst-performing government contract.

PwC MINES A RICH SEAM
Multiple conflicts of interest face exposure as accountants PwC are sued by a mining consultancy which lost out when a PwC client went into liquidation.

FATHERS 4 JUSTICE: BUYER BEWARE
When a man who used the F4J online forums queried why it had taken an unauthorised recurring payment from his bank, the group threatened to report him to the police and serve him with legal papers.

NOT A PRAYER…
The government and Church of England make warm noises about rural primary schools, yet they may have doomed a village school in Surrey to closure.

DONOR KEBABBED!
Lycamobile, which has given the Tories £2.1m since 2011, owes £1m in a special tax the Tories introduced to stop tax avoidance by multinationals.

DEEPCUT INQUEST: PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE…
Two top forensic psychiatrists say Sean Benton, who died of gunshot wounds at Deepcut barracks, probably had a ‘personality disorder’.

… AND A GRAY AREA
‘Criminal or reckless’ acts may have led to Geoff Gray’s death at Deepcut, a court hears, as preparations are made for a new inquest into his violent death.

DIGGING HIS OWN GRAVES?
More on Colin Graves, chair of the England & Wales Cricket board, who really didn’t like the last Eye’s story about his threatened libel action against a respected cricket writer.

To read all these stories in full, get the latest edition of Private Eye - you can subscribe here and have the magazine delivered to your home every fortnight.

Next issue on sale: 29th May 2018.
gnitty
More From This Issue
More From Private Eye
Only In The Magazine
Private Eye Issue 1468

ONLY £2.00
SUBSCRIBE HERE

NEXT ISSUE ON SALE
29th May 2018
In This Issue private eye
Military Strike ‘A Resounding Success’ As No One Talks About Brexit for 5 Minutes… Syrians Look Forward to Different Hell on Earth After Chemical Weapons Raid… It’s Enoch Powell Week on the BBC – Radio Times Exclusive Offers!... Bill Clinton Marks Twentieth Anniversary of Peace Agreement With Hillary… ‘90% of Brexit Now Agreed,’ Insists David Davis, Before Going for Lunch… World in Mourning at Death of ‘Mother of Africa’… Dismay as Labour MP Finally Gives an Honest Opinion on EU Withdrawal… Tony Blair’s Diary, as told to Craig Brown

And also...

- Syria Flakwatch: Shock and awe as Fleet Street (almost) goes to war
- Arm in arms: UK trade fair welcomes spooks and repressive regimes
- Moscow gold: Panic in the City as US Russian sanctions bite

For all these stories you can buy the magazine or subscribe here and get delivery direct to your home every fortnight.

Private Eye Issue 1467