TO TELL THE TRUTH

BROTHER SOLOMON aka MIKE MERCADO. And MIKE KEARNEY

Below is 1967 film footage of Brother Solomon appearing on an American TV show ‘To Tell The Truth’ in the days when he was The Swinging Monk.

There have been numerous (double figures) accusations of horrible and serious abuse committed by this man. They have all been been noticeably ignored by the De La Salle order of Brothers and their proud successors ‘in the La Salian Tradition’.

As a day boy, I escaped Solomon’s abuse, but I personally know of others – in the DLS schools in Ipswich and Beulah Hill – who were not so fortunate. Their accounts of his abuse make for unpleasant reading

TRIGGER ALERT
If you were one of his victims, I suggest you pour yourself a stiff drink before you watch this video. Or even pass on it. Believe me, it is like entering a time machine. Even though he’s wearing a toupee, he’s instantly recognisable.

To Tell The Truth’. Hah! That’s the one thing the DLS brothers have never done. His fellow abuser Brother James wrote a truly glowing and lying tribute to Solomon in the school magazine – which I remember thinking (even at the time, as an eleven year old) was a complete and utter lie. This was after Solomon left mysteriously and literally overnight after complaints had been levelled against him. At the time, we boys firmly believed he went to some kind of DLS reformatory for sexual predators on Jersey, before subsequently going to Beulah Hill where he continued abusing boys. Then, some years later, he returned to St Joseph’s Ipswich as lay teacher and Housemaster Mike Mercado. St Joseph’s Ipswich would have known about his sordid past and predictably, he went on to abuse a new generation of boys before being thrown out again in 1985. Possibly heading off to Joe Homan’s Boys Town in India either before or after his return to Ipswich.

This has prompted me to re-read Mercado’s farewell letter to parents in 1985. It may be of possible interest to survivors of his crimes. He says he was ‘fully aware of what was going on with the Order’ (whatever that means) and talks darkly about intending to write an expose (which he never did, unfortunately). He says he was dismissed for ‘misconduct’ at a governor’s meeting, a charge he strongly denies..

And he laments and says it’s ‘significant’ that Kearney (‘senior lay-master whom I have known since 1958’) was not present at the meeting to defend him.Or subsequently.

That’s interesting to me personally, because it ties in with my strong recollections of Kearney as yet another abuser and also someone who never kept his promises and could not be relied upon. His ‘betrayal’ has left an annoyingly strong impression on me, so I’m not at all surprised that he did not support Mercado. That was not his style.

Today, Kearney has a school prize named after him – an example of the continuity between the current school and its dark past in the DLS days. I’m still filling in my own blanks about Kearney, who I know was very different to his public facade as a tough but fair chemistry teacher. There was a whole lot more to this guy. It’s time consuming, but it’s the only way I’m likely to get closure on him. Any recollections any old boys have, good, bad, or otherwise, about Kearney, do share. It could be helpful. Thank you.

As for Mercado, according to old boy Chris Mullin, ‘he ended his days playing the piano on a pier in a south coast resort, I believe.’

6 thoughts on “TO TELL THE TRUTH

      • I believe so. Another old boy told me that she would be exasperated by their bad behaviour and call in hubby to thrash misbehavers in front of the class. With a sigh, he would dutifully carry out her instructions. I guess she didn’t have his strong right arm or considered it inappropriate to whack boys herself.

        This was in the 80s. My recollection from my own era – the 1960s – is that he was married back then, but his wife was not a teacher. In fact, I believe she was sick and may have passed. If so, perhaps he got married again.

      • She was my English teacher 1980/81 and she was Robin to Brother Owen’s Batman. She accused me of being ‘smarmy’ when I displeased her. She passed this on to Brother Owen – who was my house master – and he slippered me in the common room. I then spent the next 4 weeks of her lessons facing the wall at the back of her classroom. I seem to remember that I was allowed to sit down after a few minutes. Happy days!

  1. I wasn’t good looking enough or athletic enough to have been the focus of attention for any of these monsters. Seeing his face in this old clip has just reminded of the rumours that persisted whilst at school and later of the things that “allegedly” happened. We now know of certain events that happened in the mid 80’s at St Joseph’s that eventually led to his removal. I know of events that were just brushed off because they weren’t worthy of comment because they happened all the time. A smack on the backside before lights out or an off colour comment or joke.
    People like Mercado were real villains but the fact they were protected by the Church and the organisations that worked with it shows a level of complicity and secrecy that leaves me breathless.
    On a final note, my experience of 5 years at a De La Salle school not only cured me of my belief in God but also made me realise that the Brothers were unfit to look after children of any age. The De La Salle Brothers should have had nothing to do with teaching or moulding young minds.

  2. I remember Br Solomon was also on Nationwide TV or something like that. He roared at me once in his office. I was terrified by the experience and nearly passed out. Someone put a spoon in my blazer and I put it in the classroom bin. I owned up after him roaring at the class with threats of what would happen if no one owned up. I was roared at in his office. A truly Christian act! Rides Intrepida?

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