Ex-Archbishop of York John Sentamu banned from preaching in Newcastle

BBC [London, England]

July 30, 2023

The former Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, has been banned from preaching in Newcastle.

The Bishop of Newcastle said she made the decision because of his rejection of a report on child sex abuse allegations concerning a former priest.

The Right Reverend Dr Helen-Ann Hartley said it had been “inconsistent” with the safeguarding “tone and culture” she expected.

Lord Sentamu and his office have been approached for comment.

The report in question relates to former priest Trevor Devamanikkam, who was accused of raping a teenager in the 1980s.

Matt Ineson, who has waived his legal right to anonymity, claimed church leaders did not act when he reported the alleged abuse nearly 30 years later.

Mr Devamanikkam took his own life a day before he was due to appear in court in 2017 on sex assault charges.

The Church of England’s report into the allegations and the church’s response – the Learning Lessons Review – was published in May and criticised several bishops, including Lord Sentamu, for failing to act.

Lord Sentamu rejected the findings, saying they misunderstood the “jurisdictional, pastoral and legal responsibilities of diocesan bishops and archbishops in the Church of England”.

Dr Hartley said she had initially asked Lord Sentamu, who is now retired and lives in Northumberland, to “step back from active ministry” in Newcastle until they could discuss the report and his response to it.

Church safeguarding officials then met the former archbishop and concluded he would now “respond appropriately” to any disclosures made to him.

However, Dr Hartley said she still felt his initial response to the review was “inconsistent with the tone and culture I expect around safeguarding in Newcastle Diocese”.

It “had a significant impact on survivors and undermined public confidence”, she said.

Dr Hartley said she had asked Lord Sentamu to apologise and was “extremely disappointed” that he would not.

Her ruling means Lord Sentamu cannot preach or celebrate communion anywhere in the Diocese of Newcastle.