The former bishop of Liverpool knew about a child sex abuser 20 years before he was brought to justice, it has emerged, as a judge criticised the church for threatening a complainant with prison unless he withdrew his allegation. Bishop James Jones, who has since chaired inquiries into the Hillsborough disaster and Gosport War Memorial Hospital scandal, was bishop of Hull in 1997 when he was told by a young man that he had been abused by Canon Terence Grigg, then a rector at St Mary’s church in Cottingham, Yorkshire.Earlier this month Grigg, now 84, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for 14 sex offences against victims as young as 10, though he was acquitted of the charge relating to this complainant. At his sentencing Judge Jonathan Rose said Grigg had been the “beneficiary” of the Church’s treatment of the complainant, who cannot be named for legal reasons. The Church “not only refused to pursue the complaint that he made to the Bishop of Hull but turned that complaint against him with the threats of litigation and imprisonment of which we have heard, so that he withdrew that complaint because he was so fearful of the consequences of doing otherwise”, the judge told Hull Crown Court. Bishop Jones went on to become bishop of Liverpool, a role he held between 1998 and 2013, before retiring and becoming honorary assistant bishop in the diocese of York. He told the Daily Telegraph that he had no part any threats of litigation or reprisals against the complainant, and only became aware of these during Grigg’s trial. He said he had encouraged the complainant to put his allegations in writing and that documents held at Bishopthorpe, the Archbishop of York’s palace, showed that he took it seriously, passing it on to then-Archbishop David Hope. “I am appalled by Mr Grigg’s crimes and very distressed for the victims of his sexual abuse who have been betrayed by the church,” he said. Lord Hope resigned his role as an honorary assistant bishop in the diocese of Leeds in 2014 after a report found that he had failed to report a different priest’s sexual offending to the authorities. At the time he denied suggestions that he had covered up allegations against former dean of Manchester Robert Waddington, saying he believed the cases were being dealt with by individual dioceses. A spokesman for the Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team said: “Our first concern is for the survivors who were abused by Canon Grigg and the suffering they endured. “We apologise for this appalling abuse of trust which should never have been allowed to happen.”As our policy states, in all serious safeguarding situations a lessons learnt review must now be carried out to inform the church’s ongoing safeguarding work. “This will include a full review of files and we will comment further when this has been completed.” Earlier this year Bishop James Jones chaired the Gosport Independent Panel’s inquiry into the deaths of a number of elderly patients at Gosport War Memorial HospitalCredit:Dominic Lipinski /PA We apologise for this appalling abuse of trust which should never have been allowed to happenChurch of England National Safeguarding Team Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.