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By Roger Harris -, CC BY 3.0,
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By Roger Harris -, CC BY 3.0,
World News

Bishop of Oxford will not stand down over Devamanikkam abuse findings

by Heather Preston

A representative for the Bishop of Oxford has stated that he has no intention of standing down, after a recent report found he had mishandled a child rape case.

A man, who was sexually abused by a Church of England priest in the 1980’s has called for Dr Steven Croft to resign as Bishop of Oxford after he did not act on information after it was reported multiple times.

Croft has since apologised for his “error” and the Diocese of Oxford has stated that “of course the bishop will not be standing down on this matter.”

Matthew Ineson, who has waived his right to anonymity, was raped at the age of 16 by the late Rev Trevor Devamanikkam.

Ineson wrote a letter to Croft in 2013 when he was Bishop of Sheffield, detailing the abuse. The victim said he had already disclosed the historic abuse to the Bishop twice without any action being taken.

The Devamanikkam Review - an independent review into the Church's handling of allegations found that senior figures – including the Bishop of Oxford, Rt Rev Steven Croft and the former Archbishop of York, Lord John Sentamu - failed to act appropriately when disclosures were made to them.

The Church of England has formally apologised for these failings as per a recommendation of the review.

Ineson has since called for Croft to step down as Bishop of Oxford.

The Diocese of Oxford told The Times: “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.”

In a letter sent to clergy in the Oxford diocese Croft said: “A little over ten years ago I made a mistake in my safeguarding practice. That mistake was costly for the survivor and for this I am very sorry.”

Lord Sentamu rejected the review's findings, claiming the report’s author had “a fundamental misunderstanding of the jurisdictional, pastoral and legal responsibilities of Diocesan Bishops and Archbishops.”

The Bishop of Newcastle, Rt Rev Helen-Ann Hartley has ordered him to step back from active ministry "until both the findings and his response can be explored further".


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