THE Archbishop of York has apologised to a York man for ‘abuse and hurt’ caused by an Anglican priest, The Press can reveal.

Dr John Sentamu also revealed that poor management by the York diocese of abuse allegations in 1990 against the priest, the late Reverend Dennis Franks, could have left other young people at risk.

The York man, now 36, contacted The Press to tell his story after an independent investigation last week criticised the way the Church of England investigated abuse allegations against a former Dean of Manchester Cathedral, Robert Waddington.

He claimed of the handling of allegations against Mr Franks: "Had the Church followed up the allegations of abuse in 1990, I would not have been abused again in the 1990s."

He claimed he was first groomed and then abused by Mr Franks in the 1980s when he was vicar of Saltburn, prior to retiring and moving to Dringhouses, York.

"He began to groom me from an early age with generous gifts and money, and he also bought animals for me to help look after," he said.

He said the abuse started at a low level but developed into 'strong abuse.' He said: "This has had a massive impact on me as a person and I have struggled to come to terms with things. There has been no justice done."

Mr Franks died in 1997.

Dr Sentamu said in a letter to the York man last July: “I am so sorry for the abuse and hurt caused to you by Reverend Franks. Child abuse is such a heinous crime which causes untold damage to the victims.”

In a further letter in September last year, he wrote: "I cannot begin to imagine the anguish that you have gone through... I know that my apology to you for all that you have experienced is a poor substitute for being able to hold your abuser to account. Thank you for your courage in being willing to come forward."

He said files had been reviewed by the diocesan safeguarding adviser and by a solicitor experienced in safeguarding cases.

"I am very sorry to have to report that it is their conclusion that the allegations of abuse by the priest concerned were very poorly managed by the diocese in 1990 and beyond, and there is no evidence that anyone within the diocese sought the advice of a child protection adviser.

"This poor management left open the possibility that further young people could have been at risk of abuse."

He stressed that current practice was very different, with several updates to safeguarding policies, and the current safeguarding children adviser believed matters would now be handled by the diocese in an appropriate way.

He said there had been an allegation of sexual abuse by Mr Franks of a young person in March 1990 which was mismanaged by the diocese. He understood the case never proceeded to court, on the advice of the Crown Prosecution Service.

The Northern Echo, a north-eastern sister newspaper to The Press, reported in 1990 that Mr Franks, a former Cleveland County Councillor and Tory spokesman on law and order, who was also an assistant county commissioner for the Venture Scouts, had been arrested and questioned over allegations of 'irregular conduct' involving young people, and a report would be submitted to the CPS. No more reports can be found in the Echo's files as to what, if anything, happened next.

A spokeswoman for the Archbishop said: “The Church of England takes safeguarding issues very seriously, and is committed to the care and nurture of everyone within the church community, especially children, young people, and adults who have become vulnerable. We cannot comment on individual cases , but urge anyone who wishes to speak about a case of abuse in the past to get in touch with the Diocesan Safeguarding officer so their account can be heard and acted upon.”