ST PANCRAS CHURCH, IPSWICH, REMEMBERED

I have many happy memories of Saint Pancras (the patron saint of children). It was my local church until I was ten (1959) when we moved to Chantry Estate and Saint Marks.

I was an altar boy, a proud member of the Guild of St Stephen and was thrilled  when my red lanyard was replaced with a black one. And my red cassock replaced with a black cassock. Even if older altar boys called themselves ‘The Rhubarb Club’ (after the Goon Show), I had no such cynicism, nothing could match the excitement of carrying a lit torch or the incense ‘boat’ or swinging the thurifer.

The old Georgian presbytery next to the church was a most enthralling building. In the cellars it had a smuggler’s tunnel leading to the nearby River Orwell. The first tunnel section could still be explored, but then it was blocked off, to my great disappointment. It was such a shame the presbytery was knocked down and replaced with a faux Georgian building.

The priests Canon Burrows and his curate Father Wace were very warm and friendly. Canon Burrows was always round our house in Stoke, dressed in his boiler suit, doing handyman jobs for my mother.  Father Wace presented me with a copy of ‘A Little Hero’ by Mrs Musgrave which had a cover of a boy wearing a school uniform remarkably like a St Joseph’s College blazer. He told me I would go there one day and he was right.

Father Wace was the Akela in charge of the cubs and I was always baffled why I was a cub for just one week. Then I stopped going and no-one would talk about the reason why. It seemed to be because I had told a friend of my mother’s about ‘something that happened at cubs’ and this friend had stern words with Father Wace.

The Catholic laity – the Legion of Mary; the Knights of St Columba and the Catholic Women’s League – were also an important part of my life. My mother was a vulnerable, devout Irish Catholic widow and these organisations did their best to help her. They introduced her to another Catholic widow, Mrs Czech, and her two daughters and we went on a pilgrimage to Walsingham together.

But writing about the laity at St Pancras is still difficult for me and this short article below by Doctor Philippa Martyr for The Catholic Weekly explains the reason why.

Doctor Martyr concludes:

‘This is the ugly underside of our local vibrant Catholic community. Covering-up goes on all the time, for all sorts of things – and yes, lay people enable it. We just haven’t been brave enough to face this about ourselves yet.’

But before coming back to the laity, I have to say there was also another side to both Canon Burrows and Father Wace which was a real shock to me when the memories came flooding back to me in mid-life.

THE PRIESTS

My mother worked as a housekeeper at St Pancras presbytery. Her vulnerability meant her children were prime targets for clerical abusers.  

Canon Burrows – a listed Knight of St Columba – was a sexual abuser. It took a lot of therapy for me to get my recollections of his behaviour out of my system. His particular technique was magic and conjuring tricks. ‘Now you see it, now you don’t.’ At age six, I wanted to be a magician like the Canon and spent all my pocket money on jokes.

Father Wace is not listed as a Knight, but, given his wealthy background, it seems likely he, too, was a member.

He also was a sexual abuser. My mother smiled at my thrilled expression when I saw Wace’s pyjamas casually thrown across his bed. Because his pyjama jacket was weighed down with maybe twenty fantastic metal collectors’ badges – which would make it impossible for him to sleep in. But they were really cool badges that any eight-year-old boy would do anything for.

And did.

MALE CATHOLIC LAITY AT ST PANCRAS

I’ve previously covered the Knights of St Columba on this site. There are statements from myself and other survivors  that prove there was a ring of sexual abusers in the Ipswich Knights.

The Knights were also the Eminence Gris for the Church, which meant they controlled my school fees and they exacted a price in return. The similar Knights of Columbus describe themselves as ‘The strong right arm of the Catholic Church.’

The only thing relevant here is their use of psycho-coercive ‘double bind’ techniques. These are recorded in their theatrical ceremonies which I have previously featured on this site. Such ceremonies stopped – supposedly – in the late 60’s. Too late for me, unfortunately.

 It’s relevant because female laity abusers used similar ‘double binds’.

double bind is a dilemma in communication in which an individual receives two or more reciprocally conflicting messages. It’s a mind-twister and shows a deep knowledge of psychology and how to manipulate people.

Especially children.

When – or if – the Knights stopped abusing children I have no way of knowing and no one today cares. Catholic Safeguarding ignored a recent newspaper report of a Knight of St. Columba sentenced to a long prison sentence for child abuse. The Knight was provably not given a police check, which would have shown he had a previous conviction for child abuse.

FEMALE CATHOLIC LAITY AT ST PANCRAS

When I looked at all my bills for therapy, I was startled to see that a good 50% of my recent therapy – over the last three years – related to female Catholic laity at St Pancras.

And that it took emotional priority over male clerical abuse. You might conclude it’s because female abuse is a far greater betrayal to a child, but, actually, I think it’s because of the bizarre but very effective nature of the abuse.

I believe the women were members of the Catholic Women’s League: the female equivalent of the Knights of St Columba, and it’s acknowledged they work closely together to this day.

The CWL doesn’t list deceased members, but I’ll happily supply the five names of the female parishioners concerned for the CWL to check against their records. I would, of course, also need sight of those records. I’d say ‘Deceased Ipswich members 1956 through to the millennium.’

If I’m wrong, I will write a retraction.

If I’m correct, their names will be listed here as child abusers, alongside Burrows and Wace.

Some may have also been members of the Legion of Mary at St Pancras. My eight-year-old self didn’t fully understand the difference between the two organisations.

But I have focused on the CWL because the five women concerned were all middle-class high achievers, which seems to be the hallmark of this organisation. Two of them were spinsters. There is also the CWL’s close connection to the Knights who were provably abusers. But principally because one of the key female abusers was a close friend of the famous Barbara Ward, Baroness Jackson of Lodsworth – Wikipedia.

Barbara Ward went to St Mary’s Convent Grammar school in Ipswich (I went to the adjacent St Mary’s primary school). She then went on to be President of the Catholic Women’s League in the 1940s and introduced my abuser to her husband who was almost certainly a Knight. This was long before my time. And I’ve absolutely no reason to think Ward was an abuser. 

But Ward shows just how intellectual, well-connected and powerful the Catholic Women’s League were when I had the misfortune to come across some of their members, including her close friend.

Exactly like the powerful Catholic laity described in the link above.

Although their abuse was as perverted as any abuse, it had a certain ‘logic’, which perhaps helped them with their justification for their obscene gratification.

I won’t go into graphic details here, but it was a physical form of aversion therapy (not like today’s conversion therapy as fair as I know), an attempt to thwart puberty using psycho-coercive double binds.

It would have had different names in the past, but various forms of aversion therapy – some quite barbaric – were commonplace from Victorian times through to the 1950s. It was still very scary.

Why did they do it?

Because of the abuse I suffered at the hands of Burrows and Wace, I was definitely ‘acting out’ as so many children do.  For instance, I recall drawing and talking openly about what the priests did to me. So it may have been an attempt to physically put a stop to a child’s ‘play’.

But it actually feels rather more ambitious and organised. There were several of them involved, for instance. Even though I was earmarked for the priesthood from an early age (I was signed up for the seminary at age thirteen) I don’t believe that fully explains their behaviour.

It was certainly a ‘procedure’ they were used to.

However, it’s not my responsibility to understand their sick mindset. Or explain how it all worked in detail. I bear the psychological scars and that’s enough.

If your cognitive dissonance is kicking in at this point, and you find it hard to believe that respectable, middle-class Catholic women could behave in such a manner, let me tell you that in the same decade, a number of Dutch boys were castrated on the orders of the Catholic Church because they had shown gay tendencies. In the 1970s, on the orders of his British Catholic school, a young teenager was given hospital electric-shock treatment to similarly erase his gay character. There are other examples.

Aversion therapy seems designed to suppress, reduce or redirect a child’s sexuality. In practical terms, it limits your power over your own body. Instead, these women had control over my body. I’m pretty certain they saw their abuse as ‘holy work’. I’d love to tell you they failed miserably, but, annoyingly, its effects actually lasted until I was aged sixteen.

These fanatical women knew what they were doing.

If you’re a Catholic Safeguarder, or a member of the priesthood, the Knights or the CWL, you may well be thinking, with some relief, as you read this, ‘Ah. But it’s impossible for him to prove.’

Well, it’s true it’s hard to prove. Most survivors must have either accepted their programming, maybe they even thought it was good for them, or are too embarrassed or ashamed to talk about it.   

I’m not.

The best proof I have is the fortune I spent on recent weekly therapy, over the last three years, deprogramming the abusive program these women had instilled into my psyche.

And also the evidence of my therapist who has previously given evidence to the Ipswich police. This resulted in an abusive Ipswich Catholic teacher recently being arrested.

So I wouldn’t be too relieved if I were you.

Needless to say, I would be delighted if the CWL decide to challenge my account.

I know Catholics practice secrecy from the Pope downwards, but this really needs to be brought out into the open.

SAFEGUARDING

You might suggest that Catholic Safeguarding could help me with this matter.

Not a chance, I’m afraid, so I should explain why.

You may believe Catholic Safeguarding are there to help past survivors and investigate past clerical and laity abuse

They’re not.

Catholic Safeguarding is actually in a terrible state today, the worst it’s ever been. And, in case you think that’s just my negative opinion, there is already media concern and research on this aspect.

Furthermore.

The CEO of the CSSA (Catholic Safeguarding Standards Agency) admitted the following to me:

‘IICSA was obviously put in place with the intention of dealing with this but quite honestly I think they were overwhelmed and in the end they presented their final report and it is difficult to know what it all achieved.’

All IICSA’S recommendations (The Elliott report etc) have been ignored by the Church, even though the Bishops claimed otherwise.

As the Daily Telegraph reported: ‘Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse had previously concluded Cardinal Nichols was more concerned with protecting Church’s reputation.’

Today, the CSSA only deals with current issues up to two years old.

‘This of course leaves those that have been subject of abuse over two years ago have very little redress.’

The CEO confirmed my own experience that the police (Operation Hydrant) will only deal with cases where the abusers are still alive.

And:

‘Our remit does not include an investigative branch. The process is that the diocese or religious life group (through the Religious Life Safeguarding Service (RLSS) investigate concerns when raised.’

So where St Pancras is concerned this means that the diocese will investigate.

I’ve been here before during Eileen Shearer’s COPCA era when I first raised Canon Burrows with the diocese. I learnt that Catholic Safeguarding diocese members are unpaid, they do nothing (e.g. they didn’t even look up records) they simply dump complaints onto the police, who can do nothing (see above). The diocese Safeguarders know this and – under the  convenient excuse of ‘we have a mandatory reporting duty’ – they are wilfully and knowingly wasting valuable police time.

The diocese Safeguarding officer also reassured me personally everything would be ‘so much better’ with Shearer’s recent appointment because she was a protestant. So nothing would be covered up anymore.

I was briefly impressed.

Shearer resigned shortly afterwards.

But it’s worse. The investigating officer is from the diocese where the crime took place, so he or she is still part of that Catholic community: they will certainly know the organisations concerned at the very least, they may even be members of it, and they are thus not independent.

This has put off many survivors from reporting abuse and that’s no accident. It’s exactly what the Church intended.

Returning to the laity.

The CEO of the CSSA said to me:

‘I agree with you over this issue around abuse by the laity does seem to be largely ignored and certainly has given me some pause for thought.’

Most of my claims against the Catholic laity can be deemed historic (over two years old) and therefore will be ignored, which is, of course, outrageous as we survivors have to live our entire lives with the results of their crimes committed against us in childhood. But two cases are actually current and one relates to the East Anglian diocese. The other to an adjoining diocese.

In both cases there was a lack of police checks and thus vulnerable people and children may be in danger.

Today.

There was no response from the CSSA and Police Operation Hydrant when I raised this with them both.

THE LIKELY RESPONSE FROM ST PANCRAS, THE CWL AND THE KNIGHTS OF ST COLUMBA

From past experience with the Knights and the evidence presented about them on this site, I fully expect the parish priest of St Pancras today, the Catholic Women’s League and the Knights of St Columba to do nothing.

They don’t seem to see it as their duty to children past and present to look into this most serious matter.

They will prefer to keep their heads down and hope it will all go away.

Or at best, to write back to me with some dismissive hand-wringing, ‘We’re sorry what happened to you, but there’s nothing we can do. We have no records and thus no way of looking at your allegations.’

But in 2023 silence – or such a dismissive lack of interest – is not a good look.

Even if the Catholic insurance company has advised or even ordered them, ‘Say nothing. Admit nothing.’  

(It’s sad when a Christian religion is controlled by an insurance company.)

Today, not responding to hard evidence of abuse means only one thing.

Collusion.

If you have been made aware of crimes past and current, and you choose to respond with silence or in some Pontius Pilate manner, it means you are colluding with the original child abusers to keep these crimes hidden from public view.

SO WHAT CAN BE DONE?

If you’re a Survivor you might feel nothing can be done. That – post IICSA – the Church has managed, with its own admitted poor Safeguarding (see above) to still successfully silence its critics. 

That’s not the case.

‘Naming and Shaming’ abusers at my Catholic school on this site has worked very well in the past and has led to positive results which I’ve described in previous posts. With both local media (EADT) and national media (Sunday Times and the Tablet) covering and investigating the accounts I have brought to light.

It’s only now that I’ve been able to focus on the parish I grew up in, and the clerical and laity abusers, male and female, who harmed me as a child.

So I would hope for similar results here. I’m sure it will be of equal interest to the media.

Particularly local media.

And if you are a survivor of abuse by any of these people I’ve described here, and would like to share your experience, please get in touch. As always, your anonymity is guaranteed.

However, if you are a member of the congregation at St Pancras and are rightly shocked by what you have read, I would appeal to you to raise some or all of these issues with your parish priest.

It is clearly his personal duty to act.

Diocesan Safeguarding is not an alternative. It is provably flawed for the reasons I’ve given and I strongly believe is deliberately designed to waste everyone’s time.

Even if you discount some of the allegations I’ve made, there is still a great deal left that should be looked at, discussed, and which you would hope would be of great concern to your parish priest.

Based on the past, I fear your parish priest will not take responsibility, but I would love to be proved wrong.

Furthermore, my experience is that – even today, despite the Church being called out for its crimes at IICSA – Catholic congregations will not respond to allegations of child abuse within the Church. They will look the other way at clerical and laity crimes.

This is because of the Oath of Allegiance they took and similar ties that bind.

However, I would hope that there are some exceptions who are not sheep and have the courage to challenge their shepherds.

In any event, at some point in the near future, there will be further investigations into the Catholic Church and this post and others will be useful in providing evidence.

Meantime, no one in the parish of St. Pancras can now say ‘We didn’t know. We had absolutely no idea these terrible things went on.’

You’ve been told.

And anyone curiously searching the web for nostalgic memories of St Pancras will come across this post.

They will be appalled to see the Church’s dark history in which the crimes of priests such as Canon Burrows and Father Wace and Ipswich female and male Catholic laity are laid bare for all to read.   

That is the legacy of shame for all the world to now see that St Pancras, its current parish priest, as the representative of the Church, the CWL and the Knights of St Columba will have to live with from now on.

Unless they choose to take a path of light and look at the truth.

Otherwise, it’s a dark cross all of them rightly have to bear.

BROTHER LAURENCE HUGHES – THE MISSING APOLOGY

THE DE LA SALLES – THE MISSING INVESTIGATION

As you may have seen on my previous blog, the RLSS  – Religious Life Safeguarding Service –  have successfully arranged for DBS police checks on Cistercian monks on Caldey Island.  

So it’s a great step forward for Caldey Island Survivors and the RLSS are to be congratulated for their supportive work.

It suggests that, despite, IMO, the questionable nature of all Safeguarding organizations as ‘fronts’ to protect religious orders and priests, that individuals can still work within the system and create real change.  Even though independent agencies are the real answer.

But this still leaves the serious matter of the De La Salles and the RLSS long outstanding.

Currently there is a missing apology and a missing investigation.

Both are of considerable current importance to survivors of the De La Salles.

 I’ve got a little tired recently of reading in posts here how wonderful the DLS  were with barely a grudging nod to survivors, and often with the qualification, ‘But I never saw the brothers do anything wrong myself.’

Well, of course you didn’t because you weren’t at risk!  

It’s like we survivors are necessary collateral damage to fulfill the perverted desires of the De La Salles, while you high achievers got on with your splendid careers, thanks to these wonderful and ‘holy’ brothers you admire so much.

Such high achievers should reflect that, in my era, at least 10%  of every class were physically and sexually abused by the DLS. (I can break that down for skeptics.) That makes the DLS a criminal organization and it’s impossible to identify, with any certainty, who was good and who was evil. Only the blatant ones, a very few of whom were caught. Please reflect on that before you continue to sing the praises of a questionable organization that is still operating today and still has its hand out for more funding to continue its ‘holy work’ in the Global South.

So onto the missing apology and investigation.

I’ve been holding off for some time on both the foregoing, not least because the SCOE, the Safeguarding organization for religious orders of which the De La Salles was a client, was disbanded earlier last year and replaced by the RLSS, a new safeguarding organization.

Before it disappeared, the SCOE didn’t pass any information about these two matters above onto the RLSS.

But of course the SCOE was directed by the DLS who could have easily updated the RLSS.

In both instances, the Safeguarding organizations are limited by their client, the DLS, who actually have the real power as the RLSS have indicated to me.

To reprise, when it existed, the SCOE/DLS assured me there would be a public apology for the horrific corporal punishments delivered by Brother Laurence Hughes previously head of the DLS. He has been ‘reduced to the ranks’ following an investigation which is now complete without criminal charges being made.

I’ve been told that it’s almost impossible to bring criminal charges for physical abuse after such a long time period.

The important issue of how Laurence Hughes dismissed abuse complaints while he was head of the DLS has never been addressed.

Given that he has been reduced to the ranks, it should be.  It means that those complaining of child abuse received a hearing from a man who committed savage physical abuse on children.

Here’s what the SCOE actually said to me on 15th July last year.

I have been waiting for confirmation on the outcome to the investigation
following receipt of allegations made against Bro Laurence Hughes (LH).

De La Salle (DLS) in the near future will be making a statement about of the
outcome of the investigation and I understand this statement will contain an
apology to victims and will be published. I will ask DLS to make the
statement easily accessible, through their website or to others if/as
requested (* see note below).

I understand that LH no longer holds any leadership or safeguarding role
within DLS.

AFAIK the DLS did not make a statement in the ‘near future’ as promised.

It was also stated, as you can see, that it would be a prominent apology, rather than the earlier example of a DLS apology on a separate and general matter. That was a vague and general apology to all survivors of DLS abuse. Such a cursory ‘sorry’ was buried on the DLS website only after I’d shown the announced apology was actually missing.   Even the Tablet had to acknowledge this was untoward.

And the DLS also said in a newspaper interview last year that there would be a thorough investigation of all the allegations about the DLS in Ipswich and elsewhere in the South of England which it suggested were ‘unheard of’.

As I’ve told the RLSS the cases against Brothers James, Kevin and Solomon in particular are overwhelming and need public acknowledgement by the De La Salles.  They also involve the Catholic laity who helped cover up the crimes of James and Solomon.

Since then, there has been nothing about this ‘investigation’ which I do not believe even exists.

There have been meetings between the RLSS and DLS with no outcome and emails from the RLSS assuring me of their best and genuine intentions.

Because they are a new organization I believed I should give them the benefit of the doubt and also in the interests of due diligence.

So – after an extended delay on the apology and the investigation – we are no further forward.

The DLS have done an excellent job of stalling for most of last year and their RLSS has played a role in this. 

The DLS – according to the RLSS – have not been very communicative with them either. Whilst I have some sympathy with them and the frustration they must feel, my priority is we survivors who have been harmed by the DLS.

The comments below relating to the CSSA (the ‘general’ Catholic Safeguarding agency) apply equally to the RLSS.

I think both commentators on twitter put it very well.

Reference Group 

@Smartcairns11·

Nov 11

Every ‘respectable’ persons engaged as the face of ‪#CSSA‬ must be responsible for their use by church leaders as a ‘smokescreen’ of safeguarding to disguise, facilitate false trust &  add more layers to leaderships cover up and concealment of clerical sex crimes.

‪@nazirafzal‬ ‪https://twitter.com/Smartcairns11/status/1590654903328051200…‬

Countess Sigrid von Galen

@instcrimjust

Nov 10

Those ‘respectable’ persons are dangerous accomplices, as they create a smokescreen & illusion of safeguarding to disguise & facilitate cover ups & ongoing crimes. All inquiries have shown that the churches can’t be trusted & safeguards are PR stunts. ‪https://twitter.com/Smartcairns11/status/1590654903328051200‬

Despite the positive result at Caldey Island, after my personal experience with the SCOE, the RLSS and the DLS, I see nothing to disagree with here, not least because Safeguarding organizations have very limited power.

Of course the real culprits are the De La Salles who would seem to be more formidable opponents than the Cistercians and who are treating survivors with absolute contempt.

Not the behaviour of supposed ‘holy’ men.

GOOD NEWS FROM CALDEY ISLAND SURVIVOR

Hi everyone, some good news.

Our campaign with the help of the RLSS ,

Religious Life Safeguarding Service .

All Monks on Caldey Island must be DBS police checked and all persons working as volunteers etc for the Monks must be DBS checked also.

This is a massive step for our campaign to get independant safeguarding for children staying and visiting Caldey island.

No longer will the Abbey be able to hide wanted Paedophiles from the police.

Rev Kevin Simpson the so called safeguarding Monk on Caldey refuses to meet me on zoom because of our campaign.

The more the Monks are silence about safeguarding , the more the abusers will abuse children in the future .

RLSS will be checking up on the DBS data base to make sure the Monks etc. will comply.

Thank you everyone for your ongoing support.

Kevin ,Carol , Caldey Island survivors campaign. xx

DE LA SALLES IN SOUTH AFRICA

More information about the De La Salles in that part of the world. A source there is continuing to investigate the brothers. He tells me:

” Br Tim O’Sullivan and Albert O’Driscal have left South Africa and are now resident at Miguel House Castle town.  They spent almost 10 years keeping their heads below the parapet in this part of the world.

Could it be that they were seeking refuge from a sordid past.”

LIST OF BROTHERS AT ST JOSEPH’S COLLEGE IPSWICH 1974 – 1980

My name is Seán Michael Lea – I was a Border at SJC Oakhill – then at Birkfield from 1975 to 1980. I left at the end of the 5th Year – and went to my local Grammar School then onto Surrey University.Most of my career was in Retail Leisure and Hotel Management. I retired in 2021.

I’ve got to say Pat that during my years at SJC I never experienced any abuse or ill treatment from any of the Brothers. I was also never aware of any of the guys in my year being subject of any form of sexual abuse. There was also to my knowledge no innuendo of any form of sexual abuse by either the Brothers or Lay Teachers.

Maybe my circumstances were somewhat different from the average pupil at SJC. I was the College Head Sacristan and Master of Ceremonies. I served Morning Mass every day and as therefore got certain extra privileges eg on Liturgical Feast Days eating with the Brothers in their Ref etc. I was also President of the SJC Railway Society and the Brothers in particular Bro Damian (Director) allowed me to organise regular weekend trips to eg National Railway Museum York or Bressingham etc. Also at the time I intended to become a Jesuit Priest so maybe that protected me from abuse.

As I had a lot of day to day contact with the DLS Community in Ipswich I thought it would be helpful to supply you with a full list of names and dates that the various Brothers were at Ipswich from 1974 to 1980.

Oak Hill 1974 – 1980

Headmaster Bro Mark. After Oak Hill Closed Mark went on to teach at the DLS University in Bethlehem. He later returned to the UK to join the DLS Community in Bournemouth. I visited him several times between 2003-04 when I was General Manager of The Carlton Hotel in Bournemouth.

The House Masters were Bro Bede & Bro Charles. I know that Bro Bede later went onto work at St William’s Reform School at Market Weighton East Yorkshire which closed in March 1994. I believe that Bro Bede left the DLS Order around that time.

Also in residence at Oakhill was Bro Osmund. He was Retired and had no Teaching or House Master Duties.

Birkfield 1975 to 1980

Headmaster Bro Lawrence Anthony aka Squealer taught several subjects including History & RE He left Ipswich in 1978. He had replaced Bro Edwin Gerald (who had left the Ipswich Community in 1974 but was the Chair of Governors so regular returned for meetings) Bro Lawrence Anthony was replaced in 1978 by Bro Damian who had previously been at Beulah Hill.

Bro Owen 1st Year House Master still at SJC in the mid 1980’s

Bro Benet 2nd Year House Master until 1978 but remained in Ipswich. He later went onto become Bro Provincial at the Provincialate at Half Moon Lane Herne Hill London. He assisted Mr Michael Thuell aka WallEye who was the 3rd Year House Master during my entire time at Birkfield. Mr Thuell taught History and British Constitution. As of 1978 Bro Benet was replaced as 2nd Year House Master by Bro Laurence Hughes who joined the Ipswich Community in 1978. Bro Laurence Hughes later become Bro Visitor of the DLS Order in Great Britain.

Bro Paul RE Teacher – he assisted Bro Owen and took us on numerous weekend camping trips around Dunwich etc. He left the Ipswich Community in 1978. In the mid 90’s he left the DLS Order and went to work in Peru and was tragically murdered there in 2019.

Bro Aidan taught French and lived in the cottage by the tennis courts with Bro Cuthman. Aidan didn’t have any House Master Duties.

Bro Cuthman aka Fluff taught Classics and Latin. He didn’t have any House Master Duties whilst I was at Birkfield.

Bro Ives – 6th Form House Master left Ipswich in 1977. He was assisted by Mr Rose who taught History.

Bro Laurence Treanor aka Lispboo (due to his lisp) joined the Ipswich Community in 1978 and was the House Master at Goldrood as of 1979.

Brother Richard Allen aka Egg Head a previous Assistant General of the DLS Order based at The Generalate in Rome. Richard arrived at Ipswich in late 1977. He was House Master at Goldrood (4th and 5th Years) in 1977 but was only in post until 1979. He remained at the Ipswich Community for a few years. I met him several times in the late 80’s whilst on visits to Rome. He had returned to work at The Generalate.

Bro Terence – taught various Science subjects – he had no House Master Duties and lived alone in The Lodge at the entrance to SJC off Belstead Road. He was the College Rev Bro Sacristan with myself as Head Sacristan and MC.

Bro Lawrence taught several subjects including English & RE he didn’t have any House Master Duties. He left SJC Ipswich in 1978 when Bro Laurence Hughes arrived.

There were several Brothers at SJC called Lawrence and Laurence.   So there were 3 in total during my era

Bro Lawrence Anthony – Bro Laurence Hughes and Bro Lawrence Treanor.

Bro Peter was Deputy Head and Sub Director of the Community and lived in the House by the entrance by the Art Block / TD & Woodwork. He later joined the Community at St Peter’s Bournemouth. I attended his Funeral in Bournemouth in 2004.

Regarding their various ages – the only ones I’d assume could still be alive in addition to Bro Laurence Hughes would be Bro Aidan Bro Owen Bro Charles Bro Lawrence Francis and possibly Bro Bede.

I do know that Bro Benet died of cancer in April 2009.

MORE DE LA SALLE CRIMES

We weren’t taught. We were tortured’: Hopes of justice for alleged victims as, 50 years on, boys’ school monk faces extradition

By Marion Scott

October 30, 2022, 4:04 am

Scottish prosecutors have begun extradition proceedings against a former monk accused of abusing boys at a residential school over 50 years ago.

Alleged victims who accused the De La Salle monk of a catalogue of abuse were told the former teacher had died but new information revealed he had, in fact, spent years teaching in Canada.

Moves are under way to bring the man, now in his 80s, to Scotland to face abuse allegations. A petition warrant has been raised in Scotland and passed to the Crown Office’s international unit which will attempt to begin extradition proceedings in Canada.

THE TRUTH ABOUT NAZIR AFZAL

The Chair of the CSSA – Catholic Safeguarding

Something is clearly badly wrong with the CSSA:two key members have mysteriously resigned and in the wake of the shaming IICSA report Nazir Afzul was surprisingly upbeat.

Let me remind what the IICSA final report had to say: The investigation into the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales revealed a sorry history of child sexual abuse where abusive priests and members of religious orders and institutions preyed on children for prolonged periods of time. Between 1970 and 2015, the Church received more than 3,000 complaints against more than 900 individuals connected to the Church. In the same period, there were 177 prosecutions, resulting in 133 convictions. Millions of pounds have been paid to victims and survivors in civil proceedings. Since 2016, there have been more than 100 reported allegations of recent and non-recent child sexual abuse every year. The true scale of abuse over a 50-year period is likely to be much greater.

Responses to disclosures about child sexual abuse have been characterised by a failure to support victims and survivors – in stark contrast to the positive action often taken to protect perpetrators and the reputation of the Church.

The reactions of Church leaders over time were marked by delay in implementing change, as well as reluctance to hold individuals to account or to make sincere apologies. On occasions, they conveyed a grudging and unsympathetic attitude to victims and survivors. In order to shake off the failures of the past, real and lasting changes to attitudes are needed.

Although there have been some improvements to current safeguarding arrangements, more recent audits have identified weaknesses. The culture and attitudes in the Roman Catholic Church have been resistant to change.

Nazir Afzal. Chair of Safeguarding, shows no signs of regret or contrition or apology on behalf of the Church he represents. In fact, his tone is onwards and upwards, business as usual. Here he is:

https://www.thetablet.co.uk/news/16043/-we-are-here-to-stay-questions-to-the-director-of-the-cssa

But in another interview with the Tablet he goes further. He notes the importance of Canon Law which – if it defies the Law of the Land – is a criminal offence. That’s what de facto he is supporting even though IICSA have recommended the confessional be unsealed and it is the law in Australia. He didn’t know about the law in Oz! Here’s how I covered it in a tweet

When @nazirafzal talks about sanctity of ‘canon law’ in context of the confessional he is de facto placing it over Law of the Land. He has previous – obliquely defending categories of paedophilia and showing that organisations like the Church are not as bad abusers as families.

I would refer you to a past post where he actually comes out with a tweet in support of those who would mitigate the crimes of paedophiles by categorising them in different age groups. A classic device by the Catholic Church and also by paedophiles themselves.

It gets worse!

In the other interview with the Tablet he is dismissive of IICSA’s recommendations where the confessional is concerned. That’s a very serious matter.

Here’s how I tweeted about it:

@nazirafzal claims predators’ confessions to abuse in the confessional are ‘extremely rare’. Academic Marie Keenan proves him wrong : 8 out of 9 clergy abusers she spoke to ‘disclosed their abuse during confession.’ When is someone going to hold this Fraud to account?

Marie Keenan’s information is in the same article! Keenan is Ireland’s leading academic on abuse and is highly respected. Nazir is clearly and knowingly guilty of spreading disinformation. That’s appalling when you are head of the CCSA.

A group of Catholic survivors were so disturbed by his behaviour we recently wrote a letter with a great deal of thought, detail and restraint.

Concerns re CSSA

Dear Sirs,

Following the publication of the IICSA report and the Elliott review (Elliott, 2020), which was accepted in full by the Catholic Bishops’ conference, survivors were hopeful that finally change was going to take place within the RC church in its dealings with safeguarding matters.

We welcomed the appointment of Nazir Afzal as the first Chairperson of the new Safeguarding structure, trusting that he and the new board would work to drive through the very necessary changes that were so badly needed.

Over the last year, while there have been some small signs of progress, the spirit of optimism, which survivors had, has steadily waned away as we have witnessed what is happening at grassroots level.

Our experience over the last year is that survivor engagement is generally not following Ian Elliot’s recommendations.

Instead, survivors’ experiences have included

-being redirected to the body within the Church who was responsible for their original abuse and then re abused them when they summoned up the courage to come forward to disclose that abuse.

There was an attempt to set up of a new survivor reference panel last autumn. Survivors known to Catholic Safeguarding were not made aware but stumbled across an advertisement on CSSA website by chance. Immediately, they could see many flaws in what was being proposed. Additionally, it was not advertised in a way that was likely to be seen by survivors.

Survivors wrote collectively to the new board raising their queries. It was only after a considerable amount of chasing that a date was set for a meeting. The way it had been proposed that a new panel would be set up, and then the difficulties in trying to engage with the board to voice concerns began to seriously undermine trust in CSSA.

At the meeting they were told that the board “had got it wrong” regarding the way it proposed to set up the new survivor panel. 

The board met with them on 2 further occasions. They were told that until a new panel was formed that they would be used as an “informal panel” and that the board would send an invitation to meet with them in April, to introduce them to a Communications officer who CSSA had appointed and would be the point of liaison with survivors.

Survivors have never received the promised invitation. One survivor chased with regard to it and has now met with Board members. The onus should not lie with survivors to have to keep chasing and no attempt has been made to offer survivors the opportunity of an introduction to the Communications officer.

It has become clear that there is lack of understanding among the board members that clerical abuse carries with it additional and very far-reaching impacts on survivors, because of the spiritual dynamics inherent in it. This issue demonstrates the need for CSSA to engage with survivors in the way Ian Elliot has described, but at present that engagement is not happening (except perhaps in a very limited way with a very small number of survivors)

There is little or no evidence of an interest or willingness to engage with or listen to survivors to try to understand the reality of our abuse, or of trying to live with it since it happened, and the way in which that has been compounded by the church’s unwillingness to provide any meaningful help or support. Many live with a sense that they are not even believed, others are left with the sense that they are troublemakers.

There have been inappropriate and extremely insensitive comments about paedophilia on social media by a board member. When challenged no attempt was made to either apologise or withdraw the comments.

We were told by one board member

“One thing it is important to say is that the CSSA is formed to implement robust standards for safeguarding in the Church going forward from 2021. We will not be able to right the wrongs of the past but to look forward to make sure things are done well in the future.”

A representative for a survivor spoke to Nazir Afzal recently and relayed back that she was told

“CSSA will not be providing support for any survivors.

Any disclosures re matters that occurred prior to CSSA forming would need to be taken to the police for investigating.

When CSSA starts auditing it will not look at anything which has happened prior to June 2021

CSSA is not independent as actions will have to get clearance from Rome”

These comments suggest that CSSA intends working in a way that is a far cry from the sort of survivor engagement Ian Elliott recommended.

Over the last year survivors have experienced a repetition of the ignoring and marginalising tactics which the Church has used for so long with survivors. If this continues nothing will change in the way the Church responds to survivors and their suffering and pain will continue to be lifelong.

In the Elliot Review it was recommended that a formal case consultation service would be set up to manage allegations and concerns and that this entity would be a ‘critical friend’, able to support and encourage but with a major change of emphasis from it being advisory, to being empowered to challenge and uphold professional standards, holding the constituent(s) to account.

We cannot find evidence of this being implemented.

The complaints procedure which we have had sight of falls far short of that described in Elliott review. It permits recommendations on the part of CSSA, but does not seem to have powers of enforcement and will also only become involved in a complaint when every other avenue has been exhausted-thus leaving survivors with no option but to continue re engaging with a body who has been harming them.

Nazir Afzal publicly encouraged survivors to contact him saying he wants to hear from them (Tablet article-24th March 2022). Our lived experience is somewhat different and is endorsed by Danny Sullivan, a former Chair of NCSC in the same article.

“It is welcome that at last after some almost nine months in post Nazir Afzal is making public comments about his role”.

Citing a “thoroughly disheartening” recent experience with the safeguarding process, Sullivan, speaking to The Tablet, criticised the Church’s continued intent to “self-police” regarding abuse allegations. “Nazir Afzal talks about protecting children but so far there seems no urgency about supporting current victims of abuse who are not apologised to for their abuse or worse still not treated with the care and sensitivity due to them according to CSSA’s current protocols.  They are certainly not treated as the priority bishops said they would be after the IICSA report.”

Can CSSA answer the following questions so survivors have full clarity on how it proposes operating.

1.If CSSA is not going to provide support for survivors how does it envisage that things will “be done well in the future”?

2.Why is CSSA saying that it will not to provide support for survivors, given that it was recommended so strongly in the Elliott review ( which was accepted in full by the Catholic Bishops’ conference?

3.Survivors generally take many years to summon up sufficient courage to disclose their abuse, meaning that almost all disclosures are historical. Can CCSA confirm whether they perceive that it is an important part of Catholic Safeguarding’s role to support survivors when they disclose their abuse, to then pass it to the police?

Survivors who have disclosed their abuse to Catholic Safeguarding prior to CSSA being formed have very frequently been revictimised. Can you describe the service you are going to offer to these survivors? This is not a matter where the police will become involved.  However, it is imperative that CSSA addresses the serious trauma that survivors have experienced to enable them to begin to recover from it. If CSSA is not going to provide this service, can they explain the reason for this decision?

4.Why is CSSA not going to look at anything which happened prior to 2021? This will cover up a great deal of the Church’s catastrophic failings possibly forever. It is extremely protective of the body who has abused a great many very vulnerable people and will serve only to help those who are responsible for abusing. Does CSSA believe this is acceptable?

5.What steps is CSSA going to take now to put right the serious breakdown in trust with survivors which has occurred since it was formed in 2021?

6. When is CSSA going to actively engage with a wide number of survivors, including all those who indicated interest in working with CSSA in autumn 2021?

7.Does CSSA intend to rewrite the present complaints procedure so it is in line with Ian Elliot’s recommendations and protects the interests of survivors. When will this be done?

8.If CSSA needs clearance from Rome for its actions how does it justify describing itself as being a regulator?

We look forward to your responses.

With many thanks,

A group of Catholic Survivors

References

Elliott, I. (2020, September 21). Independent Review of Safeguarding Structures and Arrangements in the Catholic Church in England and Wales. Retrieved from The Catholic Church Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales: https://www.cbcew.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2020/11/Independent-Review-Safeguarding-Report-2020.pdf

This is the reply we received

14th October 2022

Dear Survivors,

Thank you for your open letter ‘Concerns re CSSA’ this week.

On behalf of Nazir Afzal (Chair) and the Board we were very saddened to read it. Thank you for stating your concerns clearly for us to consider.

In the first instance we will table your letter for discussion with our new Survivor Reference Panel at our next meeting which is likely to be in November to seek their advice and guidance.

We welcome your input; we may not be able to answer all of your queries in detail at this time but again assure you of our wish to engage with survivors on an ongoing basis

With our very best wishes,

Jenny Holmes,

Board Member

This is typical of the prevarication and dismissive tone of the CSSA of which Nazir is Chair. As we have chronicled in the past, the CSSA have endlessly stalled in the manner above. And will go on doing so.

The CSSA needs investigating as a matter of urgency and Nazir needs to resign.

He said to me that he received a standing ovation from the Bishops when he took the job.

He will not get a standing ovation from survivors.

Let me state the obvious to Nazir:

In your interview you are remarkably upbeat after the IICSA report summarised the disgusting crimes of the Church you are safeguarding.

IT’S FOR SURVIVORS TO SAY IFYOU ARE DOING A GOOD JOB . NOT YOU. AND NOT YOUR PAYMASTERS, THE PRINCES OF THE CHURCH.

THE ANSWER IS : NO. YOU ARE DOING A TERRIBLE JOB AND SPREADING DISINFORMATION AND IGNORING SURVIVORS IS UNACCEPTABLE.

YOU DO NOT HAVE THE CONFIDENCE OF SURVIVORS. YOU HAVE ENDLESSLY PREVARICATED. YOOU HAVE PROVIDED DISINFORMATION. YOU HAVE NOT FULLY ENGAGED WITH US. YOU HAVE BEHAVED LIKE A SPIN DOCTOR. YOU HAVE SAFEGUARDED THE PRINCES OF THE CHURCH, NOT SURVIVORS OF ITS CRIMES.

YOU MUST RESIGN.

TRIGGERS

Often on this site, there are graphic accounts of abuse by lay teachers, priests, monks and De La Salle  brothers.

What is more rare, though, is the psychological abuse that often goes with it.  And how it can be triggered today by relatively minor incidents. 

Catholics, abusers or not, always seem to seek control over children. Maybe it’s the same with other religions.

But it is especially heinous in Catholic communities because they are so authoritarian, so convinced of their rightness and even holiness, they cannot and will not be challenged.   

Their role model, of course, starts with the Vatican and the Pope when he speaks ex-cathedra.

Thus, as I’ve related some time ago,  a staunch Catholic doctor (a functioning alcoholic) and his hospital matron wife needed to bring their typically rebellious sixteen year old daughter ‘to her senses’. This involved her being drugged and incarcerated in the general ward of a mental hospital over Christmas.

Her rebellion was the usual thing – staying out late, bad company, surly attitude, punk clothes and so on. I don’t recall anything unusual or horrendous. But in any event, if every rebellious teenager was sectioned to bring them to their senses, the mental hospitals would be filled to overflowing.  What I do recall that was horrendous was her parents’ close examination of her clothing which, in my view, crossed boundaries.

Undoubtedly they used their connections to get the necessary two Doctors (IIRC) to have her sectioned.  When my daughters told me this, I was so appalled, I contacted the hospital and said the girl could stay at our house with her friends, my daughters, over Christmas. The hospital agreed.  I just had to ask her parents’ permission.

This I duly did. Their response I believe is so typically Catholic, it’s worth writing about again. They told me they were bluffing when they intended to keep her in a mental ward over Christmas, alone with seriously disturbed teenagers. They were going to have her released on Christmas Eve when she’d learnt her lesson and promised to behave herself in future. I told them I was delighted that the family would be united. ‘No, you’ve spoilt it now,’ the matron mum glared at me. ‘So we don’t want her back.’ The girl duly spent a happy Christmas with our family and IIRC now has a couple of university degrees and a successful career. But I happen to know she still bears the scars of her ghastly Catholic family.

Similarly I bear the scars of my ghastly Catholic family.  And that’s probably why I chose to intervene. It was triggering me.

My Catholic family circumstances were different, yet ultimately the same. My mother was mentally ill, so she had delegated her authority  to a group of  four or five Catholic worthies to similarly ‘bring her rebellious teenage son to his senses’. Some, but probably not all, were Knights of St Columba.  All were sexual abusers of children.  And they controlled the financial purse string to my fee-paying education at St Joseph’s College, Ipswich, and thus my destiny.

If you look at photos or film of the Knights today, they’re still puffed up with their own arrogance and so were these gentlemen. They saw no contradiction between sexually abusing children and their own self-proclaimed  ‘holiness’. I have no idea how that works. I suspect they compartmentalised their lives and didn’t make any  connection  between their conscience and their vile crimes. Or they think if it’s good enough for bishops, priests and De La Salle brothers to sodomise and sexually molest children, so it’s good enough for them. Or they see it as an initiation rite, like a frat club.  

If anyone has any insights, knowledge or theories, I’d love to hear from them. I think my theories above are correct, but Catholics are hardly going to explain their crimes today.

What is truly remarkable is how I fought back and how they wouldn’t give up. They were determined to impose their will on me.  I’ve no real idea how I survived and eventually won, albeit at a price. They stopped paying my school fees and so I left at age fifteen and became a messenger boy for R and W Paul in Ipswich.   Even then, they still tried to impose their will on me, which I find astonishing. If I was them, I think I’d  be pragmatic and say, ‘We’re not going to win with this annoying little shit. Let him go. There’s plenty more where he came from.’ 

But Catholics simply don’t think that way. They have to win. Maybe the challenge of  ‘breaking in a wild horse’ appealed to them.

It was only when I was sixteen and left home that I was finally free of them.

In my healing work in recent years, I realised I was dealing with at least four sexual abusers, and it was necessary to understand each one’s style, as I was being psychologically assaulted from four different directions.  Sometimes separately. Sometimes in unison. That takes some unpacking. Thus one, a violent thug teacher, used the heavy-handed, boot camp disciplinarian approach. A second, a barrister, used legal threats combined with suggesting I’d be better off moving to an Ipswich hostel where he’d have me all to himself. A third, an English teacher, appealed to my writing ambitions before ultimately turning on me. A fourth, seemed to be the treasurer of the Knights and I can only remember two things about him. First, his impressive marbled Parker pen with its gold nib, ready to write out a much needed cheque for my school fees. ‘On certain conditions, young man…’And second, the terror his two sons – who  also went to St J’s – regarded him with. Let’s not talk about the fifth man. Too big a subject other than to note he was always whining, Uriah Heep style, ‘I always tried to do the best for you boys.’

I clearly won my battle against these five Catholic heavies, although I still find that remarkable. But I didn’t get off Scot-free, it left a scar and that’s where the Triggers come in.

Some months ago, I was triggered when some of my readers said I shouldn’t even be researching Web3 ‘because it was evil’. They were outraged!  It triggered memories of the Catholic Index and reading Heaven and Hell by Swedenborg. When the teacher thug I’ve described found out, he was outraged! He went nuts.  I’d completely forgotten it, but now the memories came rushing back.(More in an earlier blog)

Naturally, I ignored the Triggers.  After all, if I could stand up to a thug when I was 14, I wasn’t going to let anyone today dictate what I should or should not read.

Recently, the same thing occurred when I brought out my Web3 book, a minor project, ecologically and ethically valid. The complexities and rights and wrongs of Web3 needn’t concern us here, only the attempt by a small group of readers to stop my project, to mould me into someone I’m not, to insist I behave differently, to impose their will on me, without any debate,  adopting a ‘holier than thou’, finger-wagging, moral standpoint just like those awful Catholic worthies I’ve described when I was a kid.

They weren’t interested in polite discussion, only in reacting emotionally and dumping their emotions on me. Angry, sad, reproachful, etc.  Doubtless triggered by something in their own pasts that makes them act disproportionately. Maybe they needed an outlet, a scapegoat, for whatever is wrong in their lives.

As you might expect, it, once again, triggered emotions in me from long ago.

But it also reminded me of one way I defeated the finger-waggers as a boy.  

Music. There were so many battle hymns against authoritarian bullies and I still sing them in my head to this day.

The words of Lesley Gore were a life-saver.

You don’t own me
You don’t tell me what to do
Don’t tell me what to say

Don’t try to change me in any way
You don’t own me

I don’t tell you what to say
I don’t tell you what to do
So just let me be myself
That’s all I ask of you
I’m free and I love to be free
To live my life the way I want
To say and do whatever I please

Such music helped me survive as a kid and those words are particularly relevant today and I shall direct them at today’s Triggers if necessary.

If you’re wondering why I’m fairly  relaxed about it, then I should let you into my secret. Over the years I regularly use such Triggers in my stories and they make for excellent negative characters. I’ve written them into two of my current published series. For example, a science fantasy series where the High Priest of the Archeologists, who bury all forms of progress, has banned technology, and has an especial hatred for Web3. Needless to say, he comes to a bad end which I found most cathartic to write. I’m now thinking of a third way I can use them.  

It’s a great way to deal with the finger-waggers and turn their lead into gold.  

I hope others have found similarly constructive ways of dealing with Triggers.

INFO ON BROTHER JAMES RYAN

Just received this passionate appeal from a survivor of the monster Brother James which I’d like to pass on.

Thanks to all those who have already been in touch. Your revelations about James have been an eye-opener. He’s far worse than I realised.

Two things are now established beyond reasonable doubt which many of you may not be aware of. Firstly, James had one or more nervous breakdowns following his ferocious sexual assault on a boy at St J’s Ipswich in around 65, which caused him to leave the school in a hurry and – after an interval – end up at Beulah Hill. From his behaviour there, he was clearly mentally ill, although I believe he was also mentally ill in the early 1960s at St J’s Ipswich.

He was also a functioning alcoholic. I have a detailed testimony which makes a convincing case for this.

I’m told this is true for many of the DLS. Solomon, for example. My older brother who went to St J’s Ipswich, too, blocks his trauma memories to survive. So I can’t discuss them with him. But over the years he constantly refers to the DLS well-stocked wines at St J’s Ipswich. And I find myself asking why? When otherwise the subject of our school and what happened to us is strictly off limits.

James was obviously much worse at Beulah Hill because two accounts there describe how he ground chalk into the palm of his hand as a kind of stigmata.

It’s clear the De La Salle organisation knew all this and yet continued to allow this dangerous, perverted and mentally ill maniac to teach children.

Here’s the appeal from a survivor of this evil man:

I would appeal to all persons on this blog that have suffered abuse at the hands of Brother James Ryan and other De la Salles to have the courage to swallow your fear and inhibitions  and hold theses abusers to account by taking legal action against the order. Or to pass on any relevant information to patmillswriter@gmail.com

LATEST ON CALDEY ISLAND AND THE RLSS SAFEGUARDING

Here’s the latest on the RLSS . Survivor Kevin contacted them. They are the safeguarding organisation that has the Cistercian monks as their client. Not a good sign for the future dealings with De La Salles

Hi Pat.

I spoke on phone tonight to RLSS safeguarding, she did not do her homework about Caldey and knew nothing other than the video and letter on your blog.

They have no powers to force Caldey Monks into safeguarding children etc so cant help other than writing to caldey Abbot and the police regarding their concerns.

In my view there no point in RLSS what so ever.

Kind regards Kevin