Thanks to a St J’s Old Boy for school photo from the mid 80s.
Mike Kearney, sitting, 6th from the left
Mrs Kearney, sitting, 2nd from the left
And unless I’m mistaken that’s Bill Moss,my old English teacher, second row fifth from the right.
My first reaction on looking at the photo was surprise at how Mr Moss seemed to have aged. And how short and suntanned he seemed. And how Kearney didn’t look that different to how i remembered him. He seemed remarkably young and not noticeably obese as one Old Boy remembered him recently. But a big guy. What did come over to me was his energy. He’s not as relaxed as some of the others. He comes over as very affable and likeable. But of course it’s a photo.
I just showed it to an Old Boy friend from that 80s era who immediately identified one of the brothers as ‘An absolute psycho who assaulted a couple of boys in my second form dorm.’
Doubtless other Old Boys from that era will know who he is referring to. He sounds quite notorious – but after my time. I shan’t identify him here.
And my friend added ‘That place was poison’
Sadly, that was my experience, too. There was a third teacher in that photo who was also an abuser. That’s a considerable number to still be there by the 80s. And I don’t think a fourth – the infamous Mercado – is present. It bears out the theory of transgenerational rings established in an academic study of a comparable Catholic set-up in Oz. Like so many other survivors I so wish it was different.
When did it stop?
Or did it?
I remember talking to the Catholic Diocese some years ago about all this. I thought that was the right way to deal with my memories as a survivor. The spokeswoman enthusiastically explained to me how there were strict protocols in place now and the Church had just appointed a non-Catholic social worker to vigorously investigate any complaints. i was reassured for a while.
As you may know, I think the non-Catholic lasted less than two years before resigning. I think she’d signed an NDA because she avoided saying why, but indirectly indicated it was because she had no proper budget and there was great opposition to her within the Church.
So now the Church has reverted to the old system under a new name.
Classic cover-up technique. Nothing’s really changed. It’s just Catholic abusers have to be so much more careful now.
I found the Facebook entry on the same page as the photo – quoted below – quite painful to read because it’s so far removed from the truth. You can only be genuinely proud of the past if you also acknowledge the crimes of the past which have now been proved beyond any reasonable doubt. I cannot believe they are not aware as my site comes up early on the web and there’s also my autobiography which was classified as a best seller. Anyway, here’s the quote:
‘We are very proud of our Old Birkfeldians, the school’s alumni, who provide of course the best example of what a St Joseph’s education produces and the best advertisement for our school.’
If they are really so proud, why not help survivors to expose and deal with the truth, so we can all have closure on it?
Why isn’t this painful subject ever acknowledged?