First up, I’m ONLY relating the evidence here in the context of systemic De La Salle abuse.
Because I’ve seen too many accounts of Catholic religious orders thwarting accusations with ‘No. That’s not our responsibility. It’s the diocese/ the school/ the individual. It is nothing to do with us.’
But this is very much to do with the De La Salles.
It demonstrates the organised nature of cover-ups within the order.
FATHER JOLLY – CHAPLAIN OF ST JOSEPH’S COLLEGE, BIRKFIELD.
Central to this De La Salle systemic abuse cover-up is Father Bill Jolly, St Joseph’s College chaplain, parish priest for Chantry council estate, and a Knight of St Columba.
Jolly’s father, a passionate religious zealot, was the founder of the Ipswich Knights of St Columba province before the war. This is not an irrelevant footnote. The Jollies had wealth and status in the Catholic community and Father Jolly – the owner of a yacht moored at Pin Mill – was no ordinary Knight. He was de-facto ‘the Crown Prince’, the heir to his father’s organization. This helps explain why he took such a central role in the events below.
Jolly was also a sexual abuser himself. But only, AFAIK, as parish priest of Chantry Estate where he exercised a ‘droit de seigneur’ on selected poor and vulnerable children on the council estate like myself. But this was outside the remit of the DLS so I have not related it here.
However, I still think it’s useful to briefly describe the man. He was a calm, aloof, detached, ascetic man with an upper class accent. The actor Charles Dance always reminds me of Jolly. Jolly’s cold, laconic and remote character contrasted with his occasional nervous and high-pitched giggle. He was a diabetic who had several coma episodes in the time I knew him. I’m told he was also a heavy drinker. He gabbled his way through the Mass, without any feeling and at high speed and – as a devout Catholic altar boy – this troubled me greatly. I was reassured by my mother that did not detract from his holiness but I was never convinced. Especially when he abused me. He lived in a cottage on the edge of or inside the DLS school grounds. He had a housekeeper there: Mrs Head, a Catholic widow.
Whatever his terms of employment with the diocese or the DLS, he was facilitating systemic DLS abuse at the school.
This included using his role as school chaplain: taping pupils’ sexual confessions in the DLS school chapel. This means he was abusing pupils of St Joseph’s College who were the responsibility of and in the care of the DLS.
Therefore Jolly is very much the concern of the DLS.
In fact, he is as much the concern of the DLS as lay teacher Mike Mercado whom the DLS are currently (December 2021) ‘looking into.’
EVIDENCE OF JOLLY’S INVOLVEMENT WITH SYSTEMIC DLS SEXUAL ABUSE AT ST JOSEPH’S, IPSWICH.
In this account – in 1964 – St Joseph’s pupil ‘X’ was violently sexually assaulted by Brother James. He was sent to a private hospital in London to recover. This hospital seems to have been arranged by and under the control of the Knights of St Columba.
Jolly visited X there to discover just how much this victim of DLS sexual abuse remembered. So Jolly was acting as a Knight and the DLS liaison person. X relates:
The left hand side of my head had been shaved and I was wearing some sort of white netting over my head. A couple of days went by and I was asked if I was well enough to see a Priest. I said I didn’t feel up to it but Father Jolly just seemed to barge his way into the room and greet me like a lifelong friend. I did not want to speak to that man so when he asked me by my name how I was feeling I had a brilliant idea I said “what did you call me, is that my name who are you.” I started shouting Nurse Nurse – I do not know this man please ask him to leave. He kept insisting I knew him very well and kept asking if I remembered how I got here. I told him I could not remember him or anything else and I wanted him to leave.
The Nurse came back and was very professional indeed and told Father Jolly he must leave because he was upsetting me and she would not take no for an answer. He waited outside the door to my room and asked the Nurse what is going on with that boy quick as a flash she said someone had given him a massive overdose of anesthetic and he is lucky to be alive. Father Jolly said surely he will recover his memory in time she said there was not much hope less than a 10% chance I’m afraid he was left too long before he got proper treatment. Father Jolly left after that.
The Nurse came back in the room and gave me a huge smile and said that sorted him out. I asked her why she had lied and helped me – she smiled and said I went to a Convent boarding school and I recognize his kind a mile off and besides I have seen all the welts on your hands arms and back and I’m pretty sure I know how you got them.
This next account happened approximately a year after the assault on X. He had now returned to St Joseph’s and normal school life. After a transgression involving the track run, he was sent to clean the school chapel as a punishment.
Unlike my own memories which are ‘patchy’, Old Boy ‘X’ has an impressive photographic memory. You will see it in this account : his enviable detail about even small things like the track run. As he explains:
I go into great detail because it may jog someone’s memory to confirm my account. I was both cursed and blessed with a photographic memory that is a great asset for examination purposes but a nightmare for the rest of your life when you simply cannot forget the things you desperately want to get out of your head.
X now tells how he overheard Jolly in the confessional talking to a school boy penitent:
“Impure deeds what do you mean, boy? Impure deeds? You can’t lie to God, you know, if you want my absolution” and “do you mean you’ve been playing with yourself – well do you, if so you must tell me” “and how many times” and “have you been playing with any other boy” and “what is this other boys name”.’
Later, X cleans out the confessional and:
I was absolutely flabbergasted to find one of those old cassette tape recorders the ones with the four or five piano keys on the front lying on the floor. It was open and the tape cassette had been removed but the machine was still very warm. I simply could not believe that a priest would record the confessions of children.
X later concludes:
The recording of those boys confessions could be of no other use than to alert the Brother Director of the College – in case a victim of sexual abuse wanted desperately to be in a state of grace and obtain absolution and ease his tormented soul.
If X is correct, then this is evidence of systemic DLS abuse.
It’s possible it was also for Jolly’s own gratification.
This evidence cross-references with my own experience of Jolly as a sexual abuser and an organizer of paedophile events with the Knights outside the school.
Once again, a personal abuser and also involved with systemic abuse.
As Jolly’s assaults on me didn’t happen on DLS property, I have not detailed them here, but they are available to an investigator.
THE KNIGHTS OF ST COLUMBA
The Knights describe themselves today as “A lay Order of Catholic men, pledged to support the Church and clergy.”
As I’ve shown, that support is regardless of the cost to children. Children are expendable in order to protect the good name and reputation of the Church and its religious orders.
Once again, I need to stress that I am only concerned here with how the Knights worked in partnership with the DLS. Or were the Eminence Gris behind the DLS.
And how they facilitated DLS systemic abuse.
Then and now the Knights are a secretive order so my assessment of the relationship between the Knights and the DLS has to be confirmed but the events speak for themselves.
If any Knight would like to explain things further, their views would be most welcome on this site. If required, their anonymity will be respected.
Criminal matters relating to the Knights – and not directly involving the DLS – have already been forwarded by Catholic Safeguarding to the police’s Operation Hydrant.
Catholic Herald and other accounts confirm that the Knights were responsible for the setting up of the school before the war. Either as financiers or brokers, it’s never made clear. But it’s obvious from the evidence that the Knights and the DLS are closely intertwined and this helps explain the background to X’s account and the way the Knights got involved.
EVIDENCE OF THE KNIGHTS OF ST COLUMBA’S INVOLVEMENT IN DLS SYSTEMIC ABUSE AT ST JOSEPH’S
This is once again X’s account of Brother James sexual assault on him.
In further private correspondence with X he has related to me MORE aspects of Knights/DLS systemic abuse. Thus a Knight later arrives at the hospital, sees X’s wounds, and exclaims, ‘Oxford shall hear of this!’ Oxford is the DLS HQ.
X describes the Knights in further comprehensive detail. As this was in private correspondence with me, I haven’t featured it here.
But I can provide an investigator with the relevant information if necessary.
But, frankly, I think the above account tells an investigator everything they need to know.
There are many revealing aspects of systemic abuse here alone which an investigator would need to unpack and shouldn’t require further analysis by me.
But to emphasise just four elements:
*A boy nearly died and this crime was covered up by the DLS and the Knights.
If he had died it would have been manslaughter.
*This private hospital had been used before and probably since to deal with victims of Catholic child abuse. This has profound implications that are surely relevant to a police investigation. That hospital needs identifying and when (or if) it was no longer used. We can’t just take the word of involved organisations – the DLS and the Knights – that it stopped.
* X’s school fees were paid for by the Knights and/or the DLS. The Knights acted as an arbitration service providing compensation for X’s injuries.
To quote X:
“Well I cannot tell you the details of the deal I got but I was most insistent on one thing I was not going to be expelled from St Josephs. They agreed to everything but insisted I must never return to St Joseph’s again, guess who won the argument but with a lot of conditions attached.”
*Brother James carried on teaching at St J’s, despite his evil crimes.
Neither my older brother nor I passed the eleven plus, our widowed mother had no job and we were poor. Yet, astonishingly, our school fees to go to St Joseph’s – approximately for 4 years each – were paid by the Knights. Why? We all know there is no such thing as a free lunch – especially where the Catholic Church is concerned.
Unravelling the reason is still a work in progress, which is outside the terms of this inquiry. Thus far.
But I mention it because it is further evidence that the Knights paid school fees under dubious circumstances.
I envy X’s photographic memory. By comparison, mine is patchy. Thus after Brother James assault on me at age 12, I remember exploding with anger to my mother and refusing to be silenced. Then suddenly I was presented with a brand new, top of the range bike, with twist gear grips, no less! But how? We were poverty-stricken. I have dim memories of the Knights providing this luxury gift and being told some nonsense about joining their ranks as a Squire when I was older. I lack X’s detail, but I remember that bike and how it shut me up.
Just as X was silenced.
The Knights seem to be the troubleshooters whom the DLS call in when their crimes are likely to be reported – which I most certainly intended to do.
The DLS and the Ipswich Knights of St Columba have known about X’s account for over a year.
I know this is correct from insider sources. And it is a most serious allegation. It should have been acted upon immediately.
According to Catholic Safeguarding, if they become aware of any abuse, historic or current, it is, as a matter of procedure, reported immediately to the police.
So the DLS and the Knights will have similar Safeguarding procedures. Yet they did nothing.
Not enough evidence? How much more evidence would you need than the testimony of a man with a photographic memory?
Anyone who is innocent, or believes their organisation was innocent, would have also responded with an inquiry, an explanation or a rebuttal. Or an acknowledgement that is was, alas, true.
Instead, both organisations have kept silent, until social media and newspaper pressure have forced the DLS to appoint an investigator.
Without that pressure, the DLS would have remained silent, hoping the allegations would just ‘fade away’.
Even now, the DLS response is impersonal (no communication with this site), guarded, minimal, mildly sceptical, mildly hostile and guided not by their consciences, but by their Suits.
A pathetic DLS apology derided by all Survivors was written by their Suits.
The Knights also have nothing to say except to flippantly invite me along to their ceremonies.
My understanding of ‘systemic’ includes where there is an organised cover-up, a silencing (e.g. through an NDA), or an investigation is thwarted by being ignored by an organization, obscured or not reported to the police.
This is therefore a form of systemic abuse by both organisations today.
After Christmas I’ll write a final summary of other evidence of systemic abuse by the DLS, featuring lay teachers, other DLS teachers and other DLS schools.
Then I will forward the evidence files to the relevant organizations for the independent investigator.
Thanks to everyone for your valuable input and testimonies. You’ve made a huge difference already. And there is more to come.
This is never going to go away and they know it.
Have a great Xmas and I’ll do my best to forget this horrid business during the festive season. Hope you can, too. All the best Pat