(That you WON’T have read about)
You may well have read that Ampleforth College, ‘the Catholic Eton’, has been banned from taking new pupils and that it intends to appeal. It was banned because of its appalling record on child sexual abuse CSA which was highlighted at the independent enquiry IICSA.
That was almost a month ago with all the media covering it from the same press release yet with no follow up on what is surely the biggest Catholic story of the year.
Soon after, Ampleforth decided NOT to appeal, but rather to try to satisfy the authorities that children were no longer at risk. There is a media blackout on this important development. I suspect this blackout will continue until when or if Ampleforth is back in business.
Thus the Catholic Herald didn’t report the original ban, never mind what happened next. I tweeted them three times to ask them why? With no response, of course. It’s so obvious why – everyone’s been ordered to keep quiet about the latest events at Ampleforth which involve not just historic CSA, but current CSA.
The only place you are likely to read about any of this is in the Tablet, to its great credit. Here’s the latest position in a very balanced article by Jonathan West.https://www.thetablet.co.uk/blogs/1/1674/ampleforth-must-get-serious-about-child-protection-or-it-will-deservedly-close-says-this-campaigner
What I take away from this article is there a very real chance that Ampleforth may close its doors forever.
That the jewel in the Catholic Crown may end its existence and why, you might imagine would already be the subject of opinion pieces, further research and articles in the Guardian, Independent, Times, Mirror, Sun, and Mail, not to mention coverage by the BBC. It’s a huge story. But apart from predictably bilious articles in the Telegraph and Spectator alleging the Church is undergoing religious persecution, there is nothing in the mainstream media.
In my view, it’s because there is a behind the scenes veto as it brings an important pillar of the establishment into disrepute. So the public must know little or nothing about it. Or if they do, its significance must be seriously downplayed.
Serious Catholic crimes abroad may be written about, yes, but never such crimes in the UK. So two days ago the Mail covered a case of Catholic organised crime, a clerical, laity, and female (nuns) paedophile ring operating in Germany in the 1970s.
It’s the first time, as far as I know, that the British media has acknowledged ORGANISED CSA crime exists in the Catholic Church, albeit in Germany. And with a focus on the laity. So that, at least, is progress,
Regular readers of this blog will see the similarities to organised crime that I’ve written about as a survivor myself. These events took place in the 1960s involving the Catholic Church, St Joseph’s College Ipswich, the De La Salle brothers and the laity, cantered around a Catholic elite who were Knights of St Columba, Ipswich province.
I’ve cited similar Catholic organised CSA crime in Australia and the USA, including an Oz academic study which proves the existence of organized Catholic paedophile rings beyond reasonable doubt.
Thus far, no academic or media or survivors organisations or the IICSA itself has shown any interest in UK Catholic organised crime because it either steps out of the safe tramlines of the ‘just one rotten apple in the barrel’ theory or because they’re aware of the veto. And they want to keep their jobs.
In case you’re thinking, ‘Well it was just Ipswich in the 1960s that had a few Catholic wrong uns, but they’re all dead now, so what does it matter, get over it,’ let me disquiet your mind.
This year another important Catholic CSA scandal emerged that was barely reported on. Once again it involved the kind of players who featured in Ipswich in the 1960s. Specifically a Catholic school, a De La Salle brother, and a Catholic elite laity in a paedophile ring.
The DLS brother was the notorious school principal Brother James Carragher now on his third jail term. He’s been sentenced to a total of THIRTY years for CSA and physical brutality. He’s at the centre of the survivor’s allegations, so there’s no reason to doubt the veracity of the account.
The Sun mentioned the paedophile ring in passing and I followed it up in the survivor’s book they were reporting on: The Boy In The Cellar by Stephen Smith. In Chapter 24 Stephen describes the Catholic school he attended as a paedophile’s sweetshop. He relates how the friends of Brother James ‘all wore suits, drove Jaguars and spoke with a posh accent’…. ‘I’d often see men – visitors to the school – sitting on the bench choosing (I presume) who they wanted to rape or abuse… St Williams, it seemed, had become a sweetie shop for visiting paedophiles – a shop that Brother James held the key to.’
Although Brother James is now in jail, AFAIK the DLS order has not followed up this serious account of Catholic crime, a paedophile ring involving the laity. It’s just been treated as yet another rotten apple case. James is serving 30 years, case closed.
So the laity involved have got away with it. As they always appear to do. It seems it’s the priests or brothers who have to ‘take one for the team.’
The IICSA also seem to settle for the rotten apple theory. Nothing about the laity here. https://www.iicsa.org.uk/key-documents/16715/view/ERY000015.pdf.
The similarities to organised Catholic crime in Ipswich in the 1960s is remarkable. The Catholic elite laity I knew certainly drove expensive cars and were professionals. I remember them as doctors, magistrates, engineers and so on. As a kid, I always thought they were ‘posh’ because they all seemed to wear sock suspenders and have different, ‘expensive’ blue and white striped underwear.
There are four organisations that need to be held to account as detailed in my past posts:
1)The De La Salle Order who still teach children today. And whose current head made a serious physical assault on a child, according to an old boy’s account.
2)The Catholic Church through the Ipswich parishes of St Pancras and St Marks run in my era by three paedophile priests , two or whom are listed as Knights of St Columba.
3)St Joseph’s College, Ipswich, today, which has no connection with these historic crimes in Ipswich. It has cut itself free of the DLS order, just as Ampleforth is cutting itself free from its Benedictine monk founders. But today’s St Joseph’s still draws constantly on its proud past and achievements and proclaims its school is ‘in the La Sallian Tradition’. It has never acknowledged the endless CSA crimes that were committed at St Joseph’s at least until the end of the 1980s. Crimes the college is fully aware of. That has to be put right.
4)The elite Laity in the shape of the Knights of St Columba, Ipswich province. Today’s Knights, who presumably include similar professionals such as doctors and magistrates, would surely repudiate the crimes of their predecessors. Once again those crimes must be acknowledged.
And the question – when did these likely transgenerational crimes stop? – needs to be addressed by all of them.
The ‘sit tight and say nothing’ or respond with studied passive aggression is the usual approach used by the Catholic Church and it was remarked upon and criticised at the IICSA by lawyers for survivors. It goes almost without saying that this is the most likely response by the four organisations above. It’s served them well so far.
But consider this, gentlemen, If the bell can toll for Ampleforth, it can toll for you. If the greatest Catholic school in the land can be laid low by survivors, then you could be next.
If Ampleforth can go down, then there is hope for all Catholic survivors.