Creator and first editor of 2000AD, champion of girls' and political comics. Spacewarp, Requiem Vampire Knight, Marshal Law, Accident Man, Nemesis, Charley's War and more. Get in touch: patmillswriter (@) gmail.com. Go to millsverse.com for comics stuff.
SCOE: The Safeguarding Commission for Orders in Education (SCOE). The Catholic organisation responsible for safeguarding issues concerning the De La Salles.
Dear Des Bill,
A survivor of the De La Salle St Gilbert’s school, RAFAEL VIOLA, is in poor health and therefore asked if I would write to you with his concerns about children’s treatment at the school and how the De La Salle order have responded to survivors.
The crimes against children committed by the De La Salles at St Gilbert’s are not as well known as they should be. I certainly wasn’t aware of them until Rafael told me.
‘Pupils who were beaten and raped at a school run by a religious order have for the first time revealed a 30-year campaign of sadistic and degrading abuse.’
A statement from the De La Salle order said: “The order reaffirms its unreserved condemnation of abusive behaviour and its unreserved apology to victims and their families, along with its commitment to support them.”
Rafael says in response:
‘They have never supported me. I’ve never had any dealing with them. They sent a letter to Jordans solicitors 8 years ago offering 5 grand and sign a non-disclosure agreement. I tore the letter up. Never heard of any of them again. There’s no support for survivors.
‘Pat, can you ask them what was the conclusion on St Gilbert’s?
‘Over two hundred survivors came forward.
‘I haven’t heard nothing since 2016.
‘Another whitewash. The IICSA didn’t want to know about the De la Salle. They never got mentioned
‘Survivors from St Gilberts must be heard. There’s so many of us have been let down.’
As a survivor of the De La Salles’ crimes myself, I am pleased to stand in solidarity with Rafael.
I’ve posted Rafael’s views on my blog because I think these ongoing issues about St Gilbert’s should be a matter of general public concern and knowledge, rather than silenced with non-disclosure agreements.
I look forward to hearing from you and I’ll be sure to pass on your information to Rafael.
I wanted to see what the latest situation was regarding the numerous allegations of abuse by old boys, including myself, at the hands of the De La Salles. Not only at St Joseph’s Ipswich, but also Beulah Hill and elsewhere. As you know, they are all recorded on this website and have also been available in summary for an investigator’s convenience.
I’m aware that they have been sent to police Operation Hydrant, via yourself and Catholic Safeguarding, and I look forward to their response in due course.
The DLS have also contacted Suffolk police – see below – and this may be part of the Hydrant investigation or separate. It’s not been made clear and it would be useful to know.
It was also stated by the DLS spokesperson that an independent investigator would be commissioned to look into these allegations which he said were ‘unheard of’.
‘ most of the accusations made on Mr Mills blog were “completely unheard of”, he (Hudd) said.
“With regards to St Joseph’s, we’ve put the ball in Suffolk Constabulary’s court”, Mr Hudd said. “It’s up to them to work out what happened and if the abuse truly was systemic.
“We’ve also hired our own independent and experienced child abuse investigator to assist the police.
In fact ‘most’ allegations were ‘heard of’ and were familiar to the DLS as survivors of Brother Kevin’s abuse prove on this site. And the Beulah Hill survivors who have made numerous allegations on line about Brother Solomon.
For the DLS to claim they were unaware of these allegations and more is unconvincing.
The DLS own records will confirm that ‘most’ were ‘heard of’ as I’m sure Hudd knows only too well.
Moving onto the investigation, I have not had any contact from an investigator. But how else are they to reach the authors of the various allegations on my site?
We have been waiting these many months and nothing has happened. Who the investigator is has not been revealed to us.
I have the strong feeling that the investigator – six months later – has done nothing.
Is that the case?
You will recall that when the DLS provincial Laurence Hughes was being similarly investigated for allegations of his violent abuse of children, I put your independent investigator’s details on my site. Consequently, several Old Boys got in touch with the investigator.
As a system, it worked well and I have no complaints.
Surely that is the way to go here?
On which subject, I’m sure survivors of Hughes’s alleged violence would like to know what is happening. I understand that police action against Hughes is not proceeding? Is this correct? But I believe you said that – whatever the legal outcome – there would then be an internal inquiry?
Is Hughes now reinstated as head of the DLS or has he ‘retired’ ? I think the survivors of his alleged assaults would like to know.
I’m putting this letter up on my blog so survivors can be kept in the loop. I look forward to hearing from you.
The first one is ‘indirect’, in as much as the appalling abuser Timothy Cox, who called himself ‘Son of God’– from a wealthy Suffolk family – was ‘only’ a pupil at St Joseph’s.
As my St Jo’s Old Boy source told me:
‘Just chatting to ex St Joseph’s guy who told me about this guy. I didn’t know about it til now but he said he sat next to him at St Joe’s. Shudder’
This is something that none of the newspapers I checked referred to. Cox’s education and his background surely helped make him the person he is. But this doesn’t surprise me – such connections are rarely included in national or local papers. We can only speculate about why this is and what strings were pulled to keep St Jo’s out of the papers. I’ve demonstrated this elsewhere with the Colchester Knights of St Columba who managed successfully to keep a very low media profile when one of their Knights was convicted of major paedophile offences.
Of course it could be coincidence and nothing more. But predators not only abuse but also recruit new members, so it continues from one generation to the next.
And, as they say in Catholic seminaries, ‘They did to us. So now it’s our turn to do it to others.’
This transgenerational factor in Catholic abuse has been proven by the academic Oz Dark Network study of Catholic abusers I often refer to.
Of course no one, including Cox, is going to admit there’s a connection, but – given so many circumstantial factors – I’d lay money Cox was introduced to his vile practices by others. He didn’t just dream it up solo or entirely via the internet. Who his mentors were, we can only speculate. But St Jo’s – when he was there in the early 90s – seems to have been as foul as it was in my day in the 1960s. See the second scandal below.
Although, reassuringly, we’re constantly told the ‘New’ St Joseph’s of today is very different and truly religious and holy. Different board of governors…? Acknowledgement of the crimes of the past…? No financial connection with the De La Salle paedophiles…? No connection with the paedophile lay teachers of the past…?
Cox was released after less than five years – which is surprising, more strings pulled? – and is ‘now’ (2018) living in Ipswich, just yards from a primary school. That school is on Chantry Estate where I was brought up which is – of course – very close to St Joseph’s College.
My ex-St J’s source went on to tell me that this other St J’s old boy revealed:
‘He also said that around 1991 half the staff were sacked after another pedo scandal, most of the sports and arts, English and music were subject to a major cull. New head brought in , Mr Hennessy. All news to me as I was avoiding anything to do with the place then.’
Half the staff? WTF?!
Gosh! That took me by surprise. They managed to cover that one up well. And no reporting to the police, of course. I think this was the same era as the St J’s lay teacher who recently killed himself, just before facing trial for paedophile offences.
It suggests to me, at that time, some kind of ‘ring’/organized abuse of at least 4 Catholic lay teachers.
And that excludes the smarter Catholic lay teachers who kept their heads down and avoided the cull. That was my experience looking back to the 60s– the eccentric characters like Solomon, James and Kevin have now been outed, but I know of at least two other, ‘normal’ lay teachers, who successfully avoided the spotlight.
If I named either of them today, there’d be a howl of outrage from old boys of my generation, ‘He couldn’t have been an abuser because he was such a really great bloke and a brilliant teacher, too. I’d know if he was a wrong un.’
Sure you would.
Well, in one of those two cases, the police thought otherwise. At this stage, I can’t say more.
What is it about St Joseph’s that seems to attract more abusers than the average Catholic school?
I’d say it’s the transgenerational factor again. These predators hear on their grapevine that St J’s is a good place to find victims. After all, it was just a few years earlier IIRC that one Catholic lay teacher was using a cat o’ nine whip on a boy and getting away with it.
So these vile individuals were drawn to St J’s like moths to the flame.
If they were sacked in the early 90s, some of them could still be alive…
I was on the show on Friday talking about organised Catholic abuse involving the De La Salles and the Knights of St Columba. Past AND present. I managed to give an over-view of their crimes. Hope to go into detail in specific areas of their systemic abuse on a future occasion.
I recently came across a fascinating website called catholicrejects.com. On it, various members or ex-members of the Catholic Church, that have been rejected by that institution for a number of reasons, tell their story.
As I read it, I realized that I, too, was a Catholic Reject – rejected by the Knights of St Columba for resisting their abuse and attempting to control my life. I don’t feel any sense of loss for leaving the Catholic Church far behind me, only a great sense of relief that I escaped, but I know it may be different for other survivors or just members of that faith who were rejected for other reasons. They may well feel a huge sense of loss.
So the founder of the website, Peter Biddlecombe, is keen to hear from anyone else who feels they, too, are Catholic Rejects. ‘It regularly publishes stories by people who have been kicked out. Dumped. Given the boot. Ditched. Stabbed in the back. Whatever. ‘
Peter Biddlecombe has published over 20 books including 11 travel books covering more than 200 countries he has visited. Most of them, many times over. He is now busy completing the final chapters of his autobiography, My Struggle to Follow Thomas Merton: 60 years of Turmoil.
Here is Peter’s personal story:
I’ve just been kicked out. Dumped. Given the boot. Ditched. Stabbed in the back. Whatever. By the ecclesiastical equivalent of Judge Dredd, the very reverend, holy Dom Michael, Abbot of Bolton Abbey, Co Kildare.
“Sufficient to the day is the evil in it,” says The Imitation of Christ, which for over 600-years has been the second most popular book for Christians after the Bible.
Trouble is I didn’t expect the evil to be created in the monastery itself.
What’s more, never in a million years did I expect that I would be the one to suffer because of it. Especially at the hands of a holy, very reverend Abbot.
Not, I hasten to add, because of something I did or did not do. But because of what the previous Abbot did.
How logical is that? Let alone, fair or even – Dare I say it? – Christian.
What makes it worse, is that for over 60-years, I have been trying to become a Cistercian monk. And I’m still trying.
“Despise earthly things and love heavenly, forsake the world and long for Heaven,” says the Imitation. Not if Dom Michael is around, I wouldn’t bother. You haven’t got a chance. He’ll make you wish you had gone of rawdogging it with the Prodigal son when you had the chance.
I didn’t come from a particularly religious family. But I always wanted to be a priest. At 11/12-years old when other altar boys were going off to the junior seminary, I wanted to go with them. My father had just died. The priests told me, No. Stay at home and look after your mother. I did as the priests said. At 16 when other altar boys were going off to the senior seminary, I wanted to go with them. The priests said, No. Go out to work. Earn some money. Help support your mother. I did as the priests said. Which is when I first discovered Thomas Merton, the world’s most famous Cistercian monk.
I was 16-years-old. I had just left school. I got a job as a reporter on a local newspaper in South London called The Merton and Morden News. The first morning I was there, the lady chief reporter said to me, “You’re useless to me unless you know something about Merton and Morden. Go to the local library. Read everything you can about the area.”
I went to the local library. I went to the filing cabinets. Remember filing cabinets? I flicked through the cards until I came to Merton. Not Merton and Morden. But Merton, Thomas – Autobiography. Elected Silence. I got the book and spent all day reading it. I was hooked. I wanted to become a Cistercian monk. Like Thomas Merton.
The following morning, I went back to the office. The lady chief reporter asked me if I had read everything about Merton. “Yes,” I told her. “Fascinating. Like to read more.” She sent me back to the library. I spent the rest of the day reading and re-reading the book. I was convinced. Silence. Solitude. Simplicity. Prayer. It was what I wanted.
During weekends and holidays, I hitchhiked to Cistercian monasteries all over the country. When I first went to Mount St Bernard, the big Cistercian monastery in England, they wouldn’t let me in. Even to the guesthouse. They said I was too young. Instead, I spent the week living in the telephone box in the lane outside, going in and out to all the services.
I bought all the Thomas Merton books as they were published. I not only read and studied the books, I read and studied all the books Merton kept referring to. The Salesians taught me the basics. How to read, write and make wooden toothbrush holders. Merton introduced me to the world. This one and the next.
As I got older and travelled the world – I’ve been to over 200 countries. Most of them, many times over – I visited and stayed in monasteries whenever I had the chance. Gethsemani. Merton’s monastery in Kentucky. Solesmes, the famous Benedictine monastery in France. Abbaye de Keur Moussa, just outside Dakar, Senegal. I even drove 4,000 kms from Paris to Tammanrasset in the middle of the Sahara to visit the hermitage of the ex-Trappist just-canonised monk, Charles de Foucauld.
Three years ago, I was suddenly free. No relatives. No ties. Nothing. Apart from the fact I had more money than I could spend. What to do? Spend the rest of my life whooping it up at the St Tropez Polo Club? Drag out my days in a penthouse suite at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin? Instead I thought I’d try once again to become a Cistercian monk. Spend the rest of my life in silence and solitude, praying, as Cassian says, with “ruthless self-disciplined determination, without ceasing, in preparation for that first direct encounter with God.”
It wasn’t easy. I had been staying at Mount Melleray Abbey on the Knockmealdown Mountains in Co Waterford off and on for over 30-years. I’ve spent some of the happiest days of my life there. But it took a year of near constant letter writing and e-mails before I even got a reply. I went and spent a month with them for, what they called, monastic experience. It took almost another year of also near non-stop letter-writing and e-mails before I got another reply. I drove over 600 miles there and back in two days from Eastbourne in the south of England to Mount Melleray for a brief 15-20 minute meeting with the Abbot. But it was worth it. He said, Yes. You can come and join the community. Again, it took almost another year to agree the date. The Abbot, obviously, had other things on his mind.
Finally, last May, after over 60-years of turmoil, I joined the community. I did as the Good Lord says. I sold everything I had and gave everything I could to the poor. Most of the stuff they gave back to me saying it wasn’t the right size, shape, colour etc. I even lost a fortune unscrambling book contracts in various countries because the Abbot lectured me – Oh. The irony – on the purity of monastic life and told me to do so. Which I did because, as I get further and further up the queue outside the cemetery gates, I wanted to spend the rest of my life there. And still do
But it was not to be. In a brief, icy, totally non-Christian 10-15 minute meeting, I was kicked out. Thrown out. Booted out. Dumped. Fired. Made Redundant. Told to pack my bags and go. Not because, again I hasten to add, of anything I did or did not do. Everybody there said I was no trouble. I fitted in well. I counted as a member of the community. Especially on Monday mornings when I counted the Sunday collections. Largely, I think, because of my knowledge of foreign coins. But that’s not all. I performed all my monastic duties. I swept floors. I did the washing up. I emptied the rubbish. I even got the Prodigal Son job and looked after their two enormous pigs. In hail. In snow. In rain. Even in the occasional day of sunshine. I only wish now that I had been more prodigal and deserved the honour.
But I’m being kicked out because the Abbot was – How shall I say? – XXXXXXX the XXXXXX XXXXXXXX XXX of a XXXXX XXXXXXXXXX in the XXXX XXXXXXX of the XXXXXXXXXX of his XXX XXXXXXXXX
The logic seems to be:
– First. The Abbot was xxxxxxxx xxx xxxxxxx xx x XXXXX xxxxxarian in the xxx xxxxxxxxxx of his XXX xxxxxxxxx
– Second. The Abbot resigns. Is whisked away. In secret. Into the sun. In Australia. Where, no doubt, he will indulge his interest in things down under. But he still remains a priest. He even had time to up-date his CV on LinkedIn, which describes itself as “an American business and employment orientated online service for professional networking and career development”, where, incidentally, he says he has two jobs. Although why a religious, an Abbot, even a resigned ex-Abbot should feel he needs to be listed on such an on-line web-site, let alone claim he has two jobs, I have no idea.
– Third. Biddlecombe is dumped. Rejected. Thrown out. In the cold. In Ireland. With nothing. Not even one job.
No. I don’t understand it either. All I know is I met the very reverend, holy Dom Michael just once. He was straight to the point. Brutal. Ruthless. Because the Abbot has resigned, the community is now too weak to support me. I’ve got to go.
But why should I be the one to suffer? I wasn’t the one XXXXXX XXXXXXXX with XXX XXXXX XXXXXXX in the XXXXXXXXXX XX XXXX XXX XXXXXXXXX.
I pleaded. I explained. I kept saying.
He didn’t bat a bionic eyelid. He was ice cold. Skeletal. I kept asking him, How can you possibly, as St Paul says, strengthen a community by making it weaker still? Surely, if you don’t let people in, with or without formation, you’re never going to increase the numbers.
But he kept repeating. Coldly. His eyes blinking at half the normal rate. Like a monastic “street judge” endowed with heavenly powers to summarily arrest, convict, sentence, and execute all those who dare to disagree with him. The community is too weak to support me.
But, I kept telling him, I haven’t had any support since I’ve been here? Why do I suddenly need support now?
Formation, he said. Formation.
But, I told him, I know about Formation. I wrote a book about Formation and about every book Thomas Merton ever read during his own Formation. But the previous Abbot told me not to publish it. I did as the Abbot said.
He still said NO. NO. NO.
In desperation, I contacted the big boss of all Cistercian monks worldwide, Dom Eamon Fitzgerald, who used to be Abbot of Mount Melleray and his successor, Dom Bernardus Peeters, who used to be Abbot of Tilburg in the Netherlands. Both of whom I’ve met. Both of whom I’ve spoken to in the past. They didn’t want to know. They didn’t even bother to acknowledge my e-mails.
I haven’t come close to kicking in a stained glass window. Yet. Nearly did, when I heard that the ex-Abbot was telling people he was bored sitting in the sunshine in Australia with nothing to do and wanted his post sent on to him EXPRESS.
I was always taught that the Church exists to help people “know, love and serve God in this world and be happy with Him forever in the next.” Not kick them out in the street without a penny because of something they didn’t do.
Obviously not. Especially not where the ecclesiastical equivalent of Judge Dredd, the very reverend, holy Dom Michael, Abbot of Bolton Abbey, Co Kildare, is concerned.
More information on that missing boy. The original post is below, but here is the update:
Brother Paul should have been investigated about mark Garvey ! He is a convicted peadofile and did frequently take young school boys to the house he lived in on the school grounds ! I have friends who he abused as a teacher by smacking them
Over his lap with his bare hands ! Yes this doesn’t make him a killer but in my optic makes him a suspect !
Hello, i just want to mention i too went to a De La Salle school in Liverpool although it was not a boarding school their were Brothers, of worst sort you could imagine. They were brutal sadistic pedophiles in which One of them was convicted twice of sexual assault named brother Paul. In no way im i exaggerating when i say i was strapped easily Fifty times for the slightest infractions, they would get off on it. There was also a brother who would try to proposition you by sidling up next to you an sing under his breath the Pet Shop Boys i got the brains you got the looks lets make lots of money ?. This took place for me in the 1980s. One thing all ways comes to my mind and that is the disappearance of a young man called Mark Garvey who apparently would frequent the brothers house that was attached to the school i dont know if that was looked into it should be.
I’ve been invited on Sonia Poulton’s Breakfast show, Rise with BNT. (Brand New Tube) It’s twice a week, Monday and Friday. Very varied guests – but with a common theme of sticking head above parapets – speak live on Zoom for about 15 minutes. The date is Friday June, 10 at 8.30am.
I’ll be talking about Organised Catholic Abuse as manifested by the De La Salle Brothers and the Catholic Laity in the form of the Knights of St Columba. Objective? Apart from naming and shaming, as I’ve done on this blog, and making more people aware of the true criminal nature of the Catholic Church, I hope it will encourage other survivors to come forward.
i shall not only stick my head over the parapet, but go out into No Man’s Land where our compromised mainstream media have never gone – even though they know that these terrible crimes committed by the Catholic Church happened and are still happening.
Encouraging words from Doogster 61, a St Ninian’s survivor:
I also attended a residential school in Scotland, andI am happy to say my litigation against Brother Benedict, St Ninians Gartmore is now at the stage of financial negotiations with their insurers. I will keep you informed of the eventual outcome.
I believe one of your followers, Tam B. requested to talk to me in person.You can pass my email onto him. If I can be of any assistance to him, it would be my pleasure Pat.
I am fully aware of the barriers and pitfalls you encounter when you are trying to obtain information and the mislaid, destroyed, fire damaged, perished,disappeared, dissolved, evanesced, evaporated, disintegrated, dissipated, discarded, discontinued, mice eaten, moth attacked, removed with demolition companies, sent to the school board, sent to the Archdiocese of Glasgow, sent to the Vatican, sent to the Home Office, it,s in the National Archive Libraries, the social work sevices have them, the DLS have them, its data protection, no access for 75 years, official secrets act, redacted, redacted, redacted etc. etc!
Think you get my drift Pat.
So yes after many many years of profound digging, I eventually found some of the documents that were relevant to pursue my litigation. The conviction of Michael Murphy (Brother Benedict) has undoubtedly assisted in my pursuit.
Therefore if I can be of any assistance to my fellow survivors I will be only to willing and glad to help. This includes all of your followers.
I know how frustrating and upsetting this will cause to some people who encounter the shield of covercy. Yes its demanding and extremely exhausting, but the satisfaction and feeling of accomplishment is truly consoling to compliment yourself in not taking no for an answer! Well done you!
I will attempt to find every piece of information that will provide the laws to bring these perpetrators to justice.
So i say to your readers and followers Pat, dont cede in your persistence for justice and if i can, -you can. Keep your faith and keep fighting until you can fight no more. Say to yourselves, “i will never be beaten again. Ever!”
My sincere thoughts to all my fellow survivors, and I wish you every success in our quest!
My sincere empathy to the friends and families who have sadly passed and didnt get the opportunity to witness the emergence of disbelieved truth, justice, and punishment these bastards truly have self merited.
This info in from an Old Boy. Hope someone can help.
I boarded at St John’s in the 90’s. I was involved in brother Cyril’s Court case, in 95, and subsequent not guilty verdict. I Google his name regularly to see if anything has ever happened to him. I would be very happy to talk about this creature. I am still in contact with some of the other boys and we have often wondered if tgere is anybody else out there
Cyril was headmaster at St John’s when I boarded there in the 90s. I was a witness at his two trial’s. The first was a mis-trial and the second not guilty
I was invoked in Brother Cyrils trials if you wanted to talk.