Here’s a challenge from Old Boy Nosssh. You can read his full comment at the bottom of this post.

St. Joseph’s College, Birkfield, Ipswich, how about allowing an investigation into crimes committed there? 

So how about it St J’s.? I know you’re aware of this site.

Yes, I know you are a different regime. But you have the contacts with the DLS and the local Catholic Diocese.

They will listen to you. You know that the infamous Brother Solomon was the Jimmy Saville of St Js. That’s beyond any reasonable doubt, and that’s going to be picked up eventually by the media. It’s a strong story – his victims in double, possibly triple figures, his links to Homan’s Boys Town, his TV appearances, how he inspired a famous comic character, oh, yes – and how he owned a fun pier, too. I think it was at Weston Super Mare.

You still inherit, benefit from and recognise a past that’s good, yet you deny or ignore the bad. You still say ‘In the La Sallian Tradition’. That means something awful for many survivors. See below. You still have a prize named after a questionable teacher, Kearney, whose sado-masochism (bunsen burner pipes as lashes. Highly diluted sulphuric or hydrochloric acid as a drink) makes him entirely inappropriate to be upheld as a chemistry role model in these modern times. And I’m still investigating Kearney with the likelihood of revealing far more about him.

And doesn’t it concern you that the abuse cases on this site alone are now reaching record numbers? Are you still not going to say anything? At least a message of sympathy for survivors? Or won’t your insurers allow that? Surely such a human and Christian response would be more important than what an insurance company thinks? Or maybe it isn’t? So are you going to remain silent until you are fetched? E.g. When the media eventually takes an interest in these historic crimes – which ended somewhere in the 1980s, or perhaps even later, according to one source – and exposes your school’s dark past.

I think we survivors are owed at least a comment from you, even if you have to hedge it with legalese to cover yourselves against fear of litigation. There’s always a way – if you want to find it. Or if that’s too much to ask, why don’t you take down your obvious connections with a sad and  awful past that has harmed so many boys. Surely the fate of those past children who went to your school – and the price they had to pay surviving abuse – must mean something to you?

The longer you leave it, the darker it looks. Your school’s past isn’t going to go away. Acknowledging it is the right and proper way for everyone – including yourselves – to have closure. 

Here’s Nosssh’s full comment, in response to my post THE IMPORTANT OF FIGHTING BACK:

I am yet another survivor of St. Jo’s. The guy responsible for abusing and controlling me is still around and I know where he lives so almost every day I have to resist that crucifix-ramming urge! Years ago though I had to blurt the words out loud, long before I understood why, that I forgave him in order to get on with my life. Maybe it’s easier or better that the most of the actual details remain blanked out (little snippets are there; that blue flecked paint used on the toilet wall, having to decide outside the gym to shut down part of my brain to deal with what just happened and get back to class after the lunch hour siren had gone and appear normal to friends…). At last I understand exactly what happened because my sister reminded me of a few details about the guy I’d chosen to forget. Anyway, survival is all about management and choosing to be better than your abuser. It’s such a shame so many have suffered at the hands of DLS “brothers” and their pedo associates (lay-teachers). Closure is massively important to all of us who’ve walked those hard years so St. Joseph’s College, Birkfield, Ipswich, how about allowing an investigation into crimes committed there and do us all a favour. That word Tenacitate eh, what a bitch 😉


  1. I went to a De La Salle school in London and experienced violent behaviour throughout my time at the school. In Northern Ireland they are having a Truth and Reconciliation Commission as part of letting go of the troubles and they asked that we report any violence or other misdemeanour. I emailed the Diocese Office in London and was put in contact with the current head of the De La Salle order in England, a brother named Lawrence Hughes. I then saw that your article named a Brother Lawrence Hughes as a violent teacher. Needless to say I have had a less than satisfactory dialogue with him and I wondered if the current head of the order is the same man that you mentioned.
    I cannot remember any teacher who did not cane, strap, beat or punish me. I would appreciate your thoughts.

  2. Doubtless there are those who would claim I have “false memory syndrome” and I’m sure theyd have their reasons for doing so. I’ve also no doubt that if I were to be cross examined in a court room, I’d have a hard time when pressed on details of events I now know I blanked out survive. This doesn’t discount the other facts however. A long list of facts and behaviours I could write which all point to one thing: childhood sexual abuse. It’s been reported to police only because I couldn’t bear the thought that my abuser might still be at it and if a case came up in future with me saying nothing now, I too would be complicit. I would encourage other victims to do the same
    . I could name at least three other troubled ex pupils (one tormented by another former teacher as yet not mentioned here) who to my knowledge, have so far chosen not to go that route, I guess just to get on with life as best they can. I respect that. To all who continue to live with the long-term effects of abuse, may your recovery be swift and sweet.

    • Thanks for sharing. Anything anyone wants to know about false and recovered memory do get in touch. I may be able to help as I’ve become a very reluctant expert.

      Firstly, false memory is a fake syndrome. An American organisation started it under dubious circumstances with a proven connection to Dutch paedophilles -not reported by the Guardian etc. It’s now defunct.

      The British organisation is still going. I attended two of their meetings incognito in the 90s because I wanted to understand them. I was struck by how wealthy the organisation was and how it had strong upper class and media connections. When someone mentioned the classic ‘Courage to heal’ book by Bass which helps survivors connect memories, there was an audible hiss of hate from the audience.

      As I’ve previously written, Frank Fitzpatrick’s case and 53 others proven in American courts of law show recovered memory is real. None of them have been reported by the British media which clearly has a questionable agenda.

      Of course there will always be fantasists like Carl Beech and dysfunctional people who make up stories to get attention. But the majority of us pursue our recovered memories reluctantly, responsibly and with due diligence.

      The key is to connect with the feelings -I found listening to relevant music helps a lot. E.G. Listening to an emotional song about loss or loneliness or whatever the dominant feeling is. After the feelings are released i often get details which I can then double check. I used a private detective in the past and details were confirmed by him ahead of a confrontation with an abuser.

      So it can be done and suppressing and blocking it all out takes too much hard work: I find it easier and more uplifting to recover my past. Good luck to others who are on a similar journey. Give yourself plenty of time and make sure you have some support. Ultimately it’s a journey of discovery, which is a positive experience

      • I was a boarder at Birkfield from 1954 to 1962 and, with one exception, was totally unaware the abuse by staff was rife so was very shocked to read your blogs.
        The exception was Br. Solomon who had a reputation of inviting boys into his room at night although we had no proof of what was going on.
        I discovered later that he had a reputation before he joined the order as a member of the RAF band.
        The greatest shock for me was regarding Pop Jolly who I got to know quite well and liked.

      • Thanks, Bryan. Like you, I liked Jolly – I was his leading altar boy , I helped paint his yacht and went out on it a few times. It was in mid-life that memories about him I blocked came back. At first I was sceptical, but then the memories increased and got darker. So I was relieved when at least one other Old Boy confirmed my recollections of him. Doubtless boarders like yourself were relatively safe from him. Abusers always go for poor and vulnerable kids – like myself. Unlike Solomon, Jolly wasn’t stupid – he picked his targets with great care.

  3. My abuser was Bro. Kevin. Both at Oak Hill and at Birkfield. I reported the assaults to the Met police in 1995. They asked Suffolk police to arrest and question him. He was bailed and then they decided not to proceed with a prosecution.

    About 5 or 6 years ago I was contacted out of the blue by Dorset police who said they’d had more reports of sexual abuse. They came and re-interviewed me. Kevin was re-arrested, bailed again. After some months, the CPS again decided not to proceed with a prosecution for lack of evidence.

    I have no idea if he’s alive today. If he is he’d be in his late 80s? 50 years on I hate him as much as I did then.

    • Yes, I would think Brother Kevin would be in his late 80s now. Other old boys have posted or messaged me privately about his abuse, both sexual and physical. One survivor I spoke to last year was seriously considering contacting the police, but I haven’t heard from him since. Possibly he’s decided to let it go.

      This highlights the problem which the Catholic authorities (St Joseph’s, the DLS brothers and the Catholic diocese) know very well and has worked to their advantage. Firstly, that some (but not all) of the St Joseph’s abusers are close to the end of their lives and it’s difficult to prosecute them after all these years.

      Secondly, we survivors try to let it go and forget the whole awful business. Some survivors succeed – in a couple of cases I know of – with the aid of prozac. Others can’t let it go and, like you, I fall into that category. I don’t want to block my memories with tranquillisers and I function fine – provided I direct my anger appropriately by highlighting the crimes of the St J’s DLS brothers, lay teachers, and their associated priests and organisations. I know there’s at least one other website about abuse at St J’s which does the same thing.

      The Catholic authorities in one form or another do need to respond.

      Unless their moral compass is completely skewed.

      Their silence about these numerous crimes says a great deal about them. But it is, of course, typical of the Catholic authorities world-wide.

      Naming and shaming is one way forward and, for me, it does provide a temporary and partial catharsis. I’m looking at other options, too.

  4. I was terrified of Br Solomon. He shouted at me once… that was enough!! Who can remember Mr Delaney who mysteriously disappeared after an incident in the lab?! Daily “slippering” etc.
    The only Brother I remember who had great integrity was Br Rogation.
    I remember the history teacher beating up a boy because he didn’t know the date of the Treaty of Utrecht or some other date. Called him a ***** moron.

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