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I received an email from an Old Boy which included this section below:
It reminds me of a time when for pretty much no reason whatsoever Brother John from Oakhill cornered a 7 year old boy repeatedly punching him in the face. At the time we went to support him and reported it to Mr Mac the then sports master and a decent human who had words. I suspect this was 81 to 83.
The boy in question was called Stephen Souter and I would happily give evidence should he wish for any support in the matter. It is still burned in my brain some 42 years later as a gross miscarriage of justice.
The Spanish article link is featured below in a rough translation. (“he” becomes “she” sometimes in the translation.) ‘Lowlights’ from the article include the usual De La Salle cover up and resistance to investigation and the De La Salle abuser saying to his victim ‘See what you made me do.’
January 26, 2022 11:26 p.m. Updated on 01/27/2022 10:45 a.m.
FOLLOW THE AUTHOR
“See what you make me do?” Alejandro Palomas, the well-known and award-winning writer from Barcelona, will remember this phrase until the day he dies. He is sure of it, he says. More than 40 years have passed since she heard it repeatedly from the person who claims it was her abuser, a friar from the La Salle de Premià de Mar school in Barcelona. The novelist was just 9 years old at the time and that marked him forever, but despite having left clues in his books and in some interviews, he had never taken the step of telling it publicly. Until today.
The abuses that Palomas denounces, and that she recounts in great detail, include numerous gropings, attempts at masturbation and even a rape during summer camps. All between 1975 and 1977 by Brother L., he affirms, a friar and teacher at that religious school for boys that was La Salle de Premià de Mar.
After so many years, Palomas explains that he has decided to recount the hell he experienced in that school for various reasons. In the first place, because his mother has already passed away. “She felt uncomfortable that she hadn’t done what she thought she should,” explains the writer. Also because he recently read in El País that the La Salle institution refused to open a general investigation into the abuse of minors in the centers, and that outraged him. And lastly, because she simply wanted to explain “the truth”. “I wasn’t lying, but I was hiding something from the world that could make something change. I don’t want to die dirty, with this inside,” he is now honest.
Nadal Award in 2018 for the book Un amor , National Award for Children’s and Youth Literature in 2016, Palomas has published more than twenty novels and has thousands of readers. In one of her works, A son , the protagonist, the young Guille, says that she wants to be Mary Poppins. “Many times I have been asked why,” says Palomas. The answer, she adds, goes back to the night of colognes in which she claims that brother L. sexually assaulted her. “I thought: if I could get to the window and throw myself, but not kill myself. How do I do it? I have to know how to be Mary Poppins”, remembers the writer.
I have not been lying, but I have been hiding something from the world that can make something change. I don’t want to die dirty, with this inside
Faced with the public pointing out of the abuses, the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools (La Salle) has responded with a statement in which it assures that they have “immediately” activated a protocol to gather more information about the case and transfer it to the Prosecutor’s Office . This medium has also asked to speak directly with Brother L., who is now 91 years old and lives in a residence of the institution, but the religious entity has rejected him claiming that he is “incapacitated.”
First, the touching in the car
Palomas ended up at the Premià school at the age of six, after his family moved from Barcelona to the neighboring town of Vilassar de Mar. He was a shy, hypersensitive, effeminate boy. Palomas says that she suffered bullying from the day she entered until the day she left. But that wasn’t the worst. The worst, he points out, was that in the 4th year of EGB Brother L., a language teacher, head of sports at the center and a figure “very lovable” and “very loved” by all, chose him as his target, he denounces. This man was also a friend of his father, who was involved in the parents’ association.
Being close to the family, says Palomas, it was that brother who used to take him home by car, from Premià to Vilassar, when he got sick in class. Something that happened to him often, he says. It was on those journeys between the two towns that the first abuses began, he explains. “I stretched out in the back seat, because I used to have a high fever. While he was driving he was touching me and reaching for me with one hand. He would do it for a while and, when he didn’t, he would masturbate through his pocket. He would see that he tickled you, but he put his hand on you, he touched your testicles, he tried to put his finger in your ass…”, says Palomas. “He interspersed touching with masturbation,” he summarizes.
While he was driving he was touching me and reaching out with one hand. He did it for a while and, when he didn’t, he masturbated through his pocket
That happened several times, says Palomas today, but he does not know how many. He does remember that on one occasion it was more. “He stopped the car in a river. He got out and sat with me in the back. While I was stretched out, he put my head on his knees,” he describes. “He pulled down my pants, my underpants and I was left with nothing. Then he tried to masturbate me while he was masturbating under my head,” she continues. “That time he finished, he came and sulked. ‘You see what you made me do!’
Alejandro Palomas, during the interview with elDiario.es Xavier Jubierre
Hell in the camps
That lasted until the end of the course, explains Palomas, but it was in the summer, during some camps that were held in a La Salle country house, where the writer today says he suffered the most brutal episode of all the abuses he suffered. One of those days of colognes was finished by Palomas in the infirmary because they had hit him in the eye with a stone and the lenses of his glasses had pierced him. “And who was in charge of the infirmary? Brother L.”, he recalls.
That man, he says, made him stay overnight in the infirmary, supposedly for observation. “What he did was tie my hands with a strap and told me it was so that he wouldn’t touch my eye, because it could hurt me,” he explains. Palomas lay looking out the window, that window through which he would have liked to fly out, like Mary Poppins, just as he would write years later.
“He appeared three times that night,” Palomas lists. In the first two he explains that he “groped” him and tried to “stick his finger up his anus.” “But he didn’t get it, because I moved in bed.” “The third time he inserted his penis into me. He penetrated me, I think not all the way because it hurt a lot. And he didn’t do it dry, it came with something that was sticky, I don’t know if it was soap… I don’t have any proof, but I think he ran , because it cleaned me up a lot”, he describes.
He put his penis in me. She penetrated me, I think not all the way because it hurt a lot. And she didn’t do it dry, it came with something that was slimy
That caused him to bleed, he says. After a day it coincided with the fact that they received visits from their parents at the camp and he asked to leave.
From stays to confession
The following year, in 5th year of EGB, Palomas says that the abuse continued, but in a different way. For a few months, he points out, they occurred in the so-called “permanences”. A few non-teaching hours after lunch that he spent in Brother L.’s office, under the pretext of perfecting his writing. That year, moreover, the friar was his tutor. “We did a lot of writing and he loved how I wrote. After eating, when we had a long break, he came to pick me up and took me upstairs,” he says.
“There was no rape, but he touched me all the time. He put his hand on his penis, he put his hand on my ass, he tickled me… Especially at that moment he wanted me to touch him,” he explains. And he adds: “When he came he told me: ‘Do you see what you make me do?’ I will die with this sentence. He would get angry with me, get in a bad mood and tell me to go back to the patio,” explains the novelist.
That lasted a few months. “Until one day, before Christmas, when I ran away.” Palomas remembers that he left school at noon and took the train just to go home. It was then that he told his mother. “She was ironing and she had the radio on. She said ‘how are you?’ and I started to cry and cry. Everything I hadn’t cried. I couldn’t stop,” he narrates. Palomas remembers and details: “I told him that Brother L. did things to me and that he hurt me.” His mother, He adds, he reassured him and suggested that they go to lunch and talk about it with his father when he got home.The details of that subsequent conversation he assures that he does not keep them.
Some time later, her mother would explain to Palomas that her father had transferred what had happened to the school. “There they had told him that it would not happen again, that the school had been in charge of putting an end to the situation but that they asked for discretion because it was an internal matter,” he explains. However, Brother L. was not set aside. He remained his tutor that year and continued to teach for years.
They told my father [at school] that it would not happen again, that they were putting an end to the situation but that they asked for discretion because it was an internal matter
Given the refusal of the institution to facilitate contact with the brother, this medium has asked to obtain the version of other professionals from the center at the time, to find out if anyone had evidence of the abuse transferred by the family, but a spokesman for La Salle He replies that for now they are collecting the information.
“We are very aware that the events that have been attributed to people linked to our Institution are despicable and cause deep pain to all those who have suffered them. Therefore, respecting the presumption of innocence as required by law, We only have to express our maximum rejection and affliction for what happened and ask for forgiveness for the suffering suffered, “they add.
Image of the La Salle Premià Enric building (Wikimedia Commons)
A life conditioned by abuse
Since he told his parents, the writer says that the friar began to have an attitude of rejection and even punishment towards him. “He turned me into someone non-existent and put me through bad situations in front of others,” he says. As for the touching, he suffered them again only on one occasion, once he coincided with him alone, that same course, in the gym locker room. “Again the tickling, it cornered me… But I was lucky that the hour ended and some older people arrived. And then it stopped,” explains the novelist.
Palomas studied the entire EGB at the Salle de Premià, until he was approximately 14 years old, and then he went through various institutes. For years, he never spoke of what happened. Not at home either. “We silenced this until I was more than 20 years old. We didn’t talk about my time at La Salle,” he admits. Among other things, he is convinced that his father, who at the age of 65 would divorce his mother and who also recently passed away, was ashamed of it. “For him I think it was a stain on his status, of the parent associations… I felt that we didn’t talk about it because it had stained his resume,” he explains.
With his mother he did share it again. Already grown up. “She told me that she should have gone” to report him to the school, he explains.
The abuse and sexual assaults that he denounces having received from Brother L. conditioned his growth as an adult, his social and sentimental relationships, and his writing. His works, especially his best-known trilogy – A dog, A son and A love–, are usually developed around family conflicts: silences, waiting, mistrust, insecurities. Palomas had never hidden that part of his personality was reflected in all those stories. But what he had never told was the origin of that character.
“I see myself as someone alone. I’m odd and I always will be. I don’t trust anyone, not even my best friend. I can’t… I live in a glass bell. When I go to hug a friend, I touch glass. Then I touch to the friend, but first, crystal. I don’t know how to explain it any other way”, he concludes.
I see myself as someone alone. I am odd and always will be. I don’t trust anyone, not even my best friend. I can’t… I live in a bell jar
Ten years ago, he considered making this same public statement, but backed down. “I was afraid that it would end my writing career, that I would become the one who is dirty,” he admits. He spent more time like this until he found the news of the abuses in other schools of the same institution. “I said to myself: that’s it. I do not care. Enough. I can’t keep watching this news and pass it on. I can not anymore”.
Some details from Southbourne below. 1973. I recognised Kevin and Leo instantly before checking the text. And maybe Wilfred was at St Jo’s Ipswich previously. Curiously, Brother Kevin looks the least threatening.
A friend is trying to find out about the Jesuit era at Southbourne when her father was educated there. So any recollections would be gratefully received.
Although focussing on Scotland, the information below is important for all Survivors of the De La Salles everywhere.
I’ve had a reply from the SCOE, the Catholic Safeguarding Agency that deals with the De La Salles. It’s detailed in full below, but the element I’m going to focus on in this post is the Scottish Redress Scheme organised by the Scottish government to help Survivors, even though the sums on offer as compensation are low. But Survivors discovered that the De La Salles would not even sign up to this scheme.
However, here’s what the Rev Des Bill of the SCOE had to say :
In respect of the statement about the Scottish redress scheme, my understanding is that DLS are wishing to engage with this process and are still in discussion with the Scottish Government, so this is still ongoing.
In response, Survivor Rocky checked and here’s his informed reply:
Regarding the DLS and Redress Scotlands contributors list and my options. The DLS lied to you Pat!! The closing date for organisations to become contributors has expired and the DLS said no!!. Therefore my civil options will Not be affected if i sign the waiver and, as reluctant as i am, accept the Redress. The simple truth is that they said No to Redress. To contribute, you have to accept Liability and Apologise as part of the scheme. They can`t do that because it will leave them open to liability in England and everywhere else in the world.
I will pass on this information to the SCOE and request they discuss this with the De La Salles and enlighten us all and Rocky in particular. The DLS claiming they’re still engaged when the matter is firmly closed requires a manipulative use of words more commonly known as ‘smoke and mirrors’. It’s not the first time the DLS have used this technique as related previously on this site. Even their terse ‘Public’ Apology, drafted by a lawyer, was nothing of the kind. It would need to be in a national newspaper to reach any kind of audience of Survivors, as I’ve said previously. And specific apologies are also required.
Rocky also expanded on exactly why the DLS said no. As follows:
Reading the rules for Redress it seems that the particular paragraph which caused them to refuse point blank to participate in the scheme or to contribute in any way towards the scheme, was the Acknowledgement.
This requires an apology, as well as financial contributions to the Scheme and “The Brotherhood of the Order of De La Salle” can never do that because it opens them up in England to liability. A precedent would be set. They are in a world of hurt!! They know now that the floodgates have opened, because of their arrogance and refusal to accept that they!! not anyone else!! abuse us!!. This most corrupt of Catholic Orders wants the taxpayer to pay for their crimes whilst they shelter in court rooms and ironically… use the law and fancy barristers to delay, obstruct for years until the victims give up or die. Every solicitor and barrister in the UK will be launching legal claims against this odious Order on behalf of thousands of victims.
Also, the SCOE themselves do not come out of this well, either. They have passed on this brief response from the DLS without, in my opinion, doing due diligence as to its authenticity, clarity, or real and full meaning. Safeguarding Survivors should be their priority, not the DLS. Thus far, it’s clearly the other way around. Here’s how Rocky asked me to put it to the SCOE:
The SCOE know full well that the DLS had a chance to join Redress but refused!, without any reason given. You cannot join Redress retrospectively and to say its my “Understanding” that they are still engaged in talks that finished 2 months ago, is a monster fib. They point blank refused to join the scheme and English taxpayers like myself who subsidize Scotland billions every year, will end up paying for DLS abuse in Scotland. The Redress scheme is expected to cost 300 million and DLS the main abuser of children in the world will contribute nothing and will not apologise. Ask SCOE for an answer, Pat, because passing on lies is equally as bad to a Survivor and they should be ashamed. They should find out the truth about Redress and stop lying to us all.
If the De La Salles have lied – or been ‘economical with the truth’, or ‘manipulative with the truth’ through a calculated, misleading choice of words – and if the SCOE have adopted a partisan position to defend them, then this is most serious. The SCOE are meant to be safeguarding Survivors, but it seems protecting a powerful and wealthy organisation comes first. If this proves to be the case, as it did previously with the ‘Public’ apology, it cannot be ignored.
There is a great deal at stake here and this matter clearly needs the attention of the mainstream media both in Scotland and the UK.
Finally, to be abused by the De La Salles as children is bad enough; to be abused by them all over again as adults is beyond words. Lying/being ‘economical with the truth’/or ‘manipulating the truth’ was a proven part of DLS abusers’ armoury when we were kids, and it seems they are still at it today.
I’ll be sure to post the SCOE Reverend Des Bill’s response.
EMAIL FROM THE SCOE
(A St Jo’s Survivor tried Safe Spaces mentioned below and he tells me he was not impressed and has not continued with them)
I acknowledge receipt of your emails of the 6thand 8th January.
I will forward the emails and statements contained within them to Operation Hydrant for their attention.
I would encourage any person who is a victim off abuse, or witness to it, to make direct contact with the police.
If any person believes they have not had an appropriate outcome to any previous disclosure of abuse that they have made, then they should consider speaking to the police or seek their own legal advice to assist them.
As stated previously SCOE are awaiting the conclusion of any related police investigation and recommendations made to them before considering what additional actions may be considered in respect of DLS.
As you are aware DLS have made an apology about the abuse suffered by any person who attended any of their schools and the statement is published on their website.
I would encourage any victim to consider seeking support through ‘Safe Spaces’; the organisation set up to help people who are victims of abuse within any church setting, within the Catholic Church in England and Wales and Church of England to assist them in finding a way forward in addressing the issues they face. https://www.safespacesenglandandwales.org.uk
In respect of the statement about the Scottish redress scheme, my understanding is that DLS are wishing to engage with this process and are still in discussion with the Scottish Government, so this is still ongoing.
I would suggest any person alleging abuse in a Scottish setting to report this to the police in Scotland and seek their own legal advice.
Finally, I can confirm Barry Hudd is not a religious brother.
Many thanks to Herb for drawing my attention to this American site.
25 De La Salle Brothers stand accused of being sexual offenders.
It’s admirable the way the site has collated the information. The sources are on the right hand side and expand on and illuminate the terse facts.
Here are three examples. They seem similar to De La Salle crimes in the UK and doubtless throughout the world.
She says Costigan had been abusing her for seven years when, as a sophomore at West Catholic High School, she took a handful of pills and tried to kill herself. She told someone at the hospital about the abuse, her mother banned Costigan from the hospital, and it was rarely spoken about again.
Clancy was 37 years old when she decided to confront Costigan, the man she held responsible for her years of self-doubt, depression, self-degradation and disconnection from others. There had been some rough times, but she had her life in order. She had raised two children, had a good job and was in therapy.
When she contacted the archdiocese and asked them to help her track down Costigan, they were reluctant.
“He’s a Christian brother,” they told her, “and not under our jurisdiction.”
But Clancy didn’t relent, and after some time the Philadelphia Archdiocese set up a meeting between her and Costigan, who is now dead but was retired at the time. At the meeting, she looked the man in the eye and told him she “was no longer the 9-year-old girl he had raped.” She was “reclaiming her soul,” she told him.
Costigan denied the crimes, and told Clancy he “would pray for her.”
Doe claims that Furches “sought out John Doe on a regular basis, using his authority as principal to call him out of class or approach him in the school locker in order to engage in inappropriate contact. Several times each week, Furches would isolate John Doe in his office or the shower after swim practice to sexually abuse him by reaching into his pants and touching his genitals.”
He claims that during his senior year, “Furches required that plaintiff report to his office several times a week, ostensibly to monitor his progress at calculus, but in reality in order to sexually assault him under threat of withholding his diploma.”
The complaint continues: “At the completion of his remedial studied, defendant Furches demanded that John Doe go to dinner with him, once again threatening to withhold his diploma if he did not comply. At this dinner, Furches ordered two bottles of wine which he shared with plaintiff, although he was only 18 years old at the time. After dinner, Furches and plaintiff returned to Furches’ car, where Furches demanded that John Doe perform oral sex on him, which he refused. Instead, Furches performed oral sex on plaintiff. Afterwards, the defendant warned John Doe that he should keep quiet about the abuse because Furches was a powerful man and no one would believe him.”
Doe claims that he dropped out of college, “was unable to maintain a steady job for many years,” and that he “turned to substance abuse in order to cope with the long term psychological effects of the mistreatment which he suffered at the hands of Furches.”
Doe seeks damages for battery, premises liability, negligence, infliction of emotional distress and vicarious liability. He is represented by Clark Harmonson, with Gilstrap Harmonson, of El Paso.
Brother Raimond Rose, whose real name is Charles Anthony Rose, lives in Chicago, in a Christian Brothers residence near the De La Salle Institute, a high school for boys.
Robert Fuller, who settled last month for $1.1 million, said the former De La Salle religion teacher and Key Club adviser plied him with alcohol and molested him on a ski trip in early 1982.
Fuller, now 38, said he was a 14-year-old freshman “geek” whose father suffered from multiple sclerosis when he and four other boys stayed with Rose at a house in Tahoe Keyes.
Fuller recalls the drive up Highway 50 and the Old Milwaukee beer that he said Rose bought them near the state line. Rose had sex with Fuller in the shower, he claims. The next night Brother Raimond got pushy in the bed upstairs, he said. Drunk, he tried to fight off Rose, then relented.
“That’s when I was – sodomized,” said Fuller, sitting inside the mobile home he shares with his girlfriend in Salem, Ore. “He knew what he was doing. I was completely vulnerable.”
A year later, Concord police investigated Rose after parents reported a separate incident. A police report cited several instances of Rose allegedly taking students on trips, loading them with alcohol and propositioning them. In at least one case, he reportedly offered a student money.
Police questioned several De La Salle students. The school’s principal then, Brother Jerome Gallegos, sat in on some interviews. As rumors spread about Fuller at school, Fuller denied them to police. Another freshman on the trip, Thomas Freeman, first told police he witnessed Rose committing oral sex on Fuller, but then recanted. The case was dropped, the report shows.
Freeman, 38, now says he saw Rose in the act with Fuller but felt pressured by authorities, and Fuller’s denial.
“The principal of the school was in the same room. It was very intimidating,” Freeman said. “Hearing Rob was denying it left me with, ‘What am I doing here?'”
Police never questioned Rose, the report said. When the allegations surfaced, the Christian Brothers quickly moved him back to the district in Minnesota where he lived before coming to De La Salle. There, he admitted himself to a psychiatric unit for counseling, De La Salle officials told police. When police questioned them about the move, a school official said they were “somewhat naive” in sending Rose away.
A school leader told police they had confronted Rose and he “fell apart and admitted the alcohol problem and also providing alcohol to the students, but denied any sexual advances.” Later, school officials said they sent Rose east unaware that the alleged incident involved touching.
Along with money, Fuller finally will receive his high school diploma.
“I have felt a freedom I’ve never known,” he said. “I’ve been able to tell people, ‘Yes, I got a lot of money, but here’s why: I was (molested).'”
Rose, now 71, declined to discuss the allegations in a brief telephone interview from Chicago. “I’m saddened by the whole thing of us, about myself. The word remorse is not strong enough. I’m sorry,” he said. “I’m not connected with the school (in Chicago). I haven’t been connected with anything in the last 15 to 20 years. I’m just retired. I’m not anything.”
Fuller shuddered at Rose’s apology. “It boggles the mind,” he said, gripping a cigarette. “Sorry don’t feed the bull.”
A further letter from Rocky which I have passed onto DLS Safeguarding and SCOE.
I hadn’t realised that parents had to pay for their children to go to a DLS approved school.
In this case where their child was grievously tortured and abused.
Rocky is asking that the DLS pay that money back to him which would still be admitting nothing.
My Mum and Dad both worked. Dad full time driving lorries and Mum part time and full time for the 6 years i was in the care of the DLS. Part of my sentencing to Approved School was that, after asking my Dad if he worked? and had he brought wage slips as instructed? The Sherriff then ordered a deduction from his wages at the rate of £8.00 per week. Starting from Nov 1963 rising to £25.00 in July 1969.(They were both working full time by 1969.
This money was to pay the cost of my welfare and upkeep by the DLS at St Ninians.
As has been proven in court recently the DLS plainly did not look after my welfare. I nearly died from gangrene and but for the skill of a gifted surgeon and only after many days of agony, being injected with massive doses of a new type of Penicillin, did the gangrene subsided enough and i only lost my finger instead of my life!! aged 10.
So im asking the DLS Order to return to me with interest all the monies deducted and paid by my trusting Mum and Dad 63/69 and by my calculations it should be a mere pittance to you. You did not earn my parents Money!! They were betrayed!!! Give it back! You obtained it under the worst pretence of all, God!! You used their faith to cover up my abuse.
Do you think any parent would willingly pay to have their 9 year old abused repeatedly and daily for 6 hellish years.
Pay the monies back to me. Your admitting nothing DLS, only that you took money from my mum and dad and were returning it because you realize it was a mistake taking it from them in the first place and that its the Christian thing to do and the RIGHT thing to do DLS.
Ps Edit it anyway you like Pat
How much out of curiosity is £ 8 in 63 rising by £2.50 every year to £ 20 in 69? How much was £20 in 69 worth in todays money? I reckon £75,000 give or take, but i only got a “B” in maths.(Laughing) Send them my bill Pat
It’s an example of how the Knights would seem able to successfully ‘kill’ a news story.
By comparison, when Laurence Soper, Abbot of Ealing Abbey, was given an 18 year prison sentence for child abuse, his case was reported by the BBC, The Guardian,The Tablet, The Times, The Sun, Express, numerous websites and also covered by IICSA.
And yet Ronald Smith’s case was an equally big news story.
He had spent more than 40 years abusing young boys between 1972 and 2014.
There were three reports to the police about him during those years which were never prosecuted!
The account relates that:
‘Despite already being a convicted sex offender (in1973), allegations against the Catholic member of Colchester’s St James the Less and St Helen Catholic Church in Priory Street in 1994, 2000 and 2011 did not end in prosecution.’
And was a DBS check run on Smith? It would also seem not.
In summary, why was a convicted sex offender, an uneducated, semi-unemployed man, with no DBS check, organizing children’s events – associated with or run by the Knights – at a Catholic church up to 2014?
And why was the story minimized with no further reference to the Knights connection to the crimes?
Are all today’s UK Knights who deal with children or parishioners given a DBS check? Given that Smith was probably not DBS checked and another source tells me that current Knights of St Columba – in a different diocese – aren’t DBS checked, it seems unlikely.
I’ve raised these concerns with Catholic Safeguarding who have passed this post onto Operation Hydrant. Personally, I think, with today’s children possibly at risk, as I’ve exampled, that the Knights should set up an Independent Investigator to look into this and other allegations about them on this site. Just as the De La Salles have done. If the Knights are as concerned about child safety, past and present, as they claim, It should be a priority.
It concerns me that the response of all Catholic Safeguarding agencies to any allegations is to just pass them onto Hydrant or the regular police without comment or interaction. It does feel to me that they’re dumping everything onto Hydrant but without the intermediary which Hydrant tell me they require. And that they are not looking at important issues that this and previous examples on this site raise. For instance – do the Knights of St Columba have DBS checks? NOT according to my source. That’s not so relevant to Hydrant who are primarily concerned with actual offences, but has everything to do with Catholic Safeguarding and protecting children and preventing offences ever taking place. Thus far, I’ve had no response to this issue by Catholic Safeguarding.
A recent, typically terse response from the De La Salles to Survivor NW1 is copied below.
The DLS strategy is clearly defensive rather than compassionate and healing. This is a pity as a more heart-based and genuinely spiritual response would work better for them, even at this late stage, but I guess their Suits don’t understand this. They’ve pulled up the drawbridge of their castle and think they can repel all boarders as they’ve done in the past.
Recent posts on this site bear this out. The Scotland case for instance.
And Barry Hudd told a reporter that a Hydrant historic investigation into the DLS could take a considerable time to be actioned.
Why he should say that, I find concerning.
IIRC, I believe he also said that there had been no successful civil actions against the De La Salles. Or words to that effect.
Why he should say that, I find concerning.
It would be easy after such negativity, their response below, and the Scottish case, to form the impression that the DLS believe they are impregnable. That they always win. That they have the best lawyers to defend them and so on.
And therefore it might be easier to give up and try to forget what they did.
I believe that’s what they want us to think.
So it’s worth remembering the progress so far:
1)Their Provincial was suspended following complaints on this site.
That would be previously ‘unheard of’ (to use Barry Hudd’s phrase).
We are still awaiting the results of that investigation which is taking a curious amount of time. Even so, it must come.
2) Their public apology, written by lawyers, was pathetic and wasn’t public but it was the result of social media pressure and it was highlighted in the press.
3) Media attention is not good for the DLS. There’s been plenty of it and there is more in the works.
I believe DLS motivation is ultimately about money and business, for all their pious words. The social media and media attention on the DLS is not doing their business any good.
Every new shocking revelation about the DLS may make parents think twice about sending their children to a DLS school.
International survivors of the DLS are now coming forward with their complaints because of this social media and media attention.
4) The SCOE have passed complaints onto Hydrant. Hydrant will act, even if it takes a while.
5) The DLS have commissioned their own independent investigator to look at the allegations in conjunction with Hydrant. (The independent case manager they mention below)
The DLS have been curiously and predictably secretive about the details, but – nevertheless – it’s an investigation.
And that feels – potentially – like real progress as the investigator is independent.
6) There are a number of current police investigations involving DLS lay teachers.
7) A Scottish survivor is taking legal action against the DLS. It’s something I’m considering myself. Anyone thinking along those lines, I’d recommend a conversation with Richard Scorer at Slater and Gordon. He’s an expert on the crimes of the Church.
So the DLS castle is not as impregnable as they seem to suggest. We are already scaling its walls.
NWI below says it needs an open and independent inquiry into what happened.
I absolutely agree.
Such inquiries can take forever to happen, which may be a good reason for lobbying for one sooner rather than later. Its possible terms of reference are also a matter for a future post. But when I read yesterday that a Survivor was so upset by the conduct of the DLS, he intended to set himself alight outside their Oxford offices, it reminded me that there is something desperately wrong here that needs urgently looking into.
Serious abuse issues – such as at St Jo’s Ipswich – are thus not completely ‘unheard of’, as Barry Hudd claims.
Also, how the DLS have provably known about the most notorious DLS abusers for years and yet did nothing until it was highlighted here. IMO this amounts to systemic abuse
The IICSA inquiry into the Benedictines was only five out of ten, with many shortfalls, but at least it provides a potential role model. And it did make some difference to a number of Survivors and to the Benedictine schools.
I now have concise, easy to follow files on all the major DLS crimes which could be sent to relevant people, like government ministers.
Everyone’s thoughts on how to lobby for such an inquiry and its feasibility are most welcome.
Here are NW1’s thoughts:
NW1 here. as you know I’ve been seeking justice in my own case. Recently, I write to the order to ask whether they would be voluntarily providing details they hold about known abusers. The inference is that they will only provide information when it is requested from them by police.
“I acknowledge your own ongoing frustration and anger towards DLS, and I am sad for your own suffering and any ongoing distress. DLS cooperates with the police on any investigation and share fully any records held as requested.
However, should you hold information that the police need to be aware of I would encourage you to disclose any details to Suffolk and Dorset police.
SCOE and DLS will consider if any further action is required post the outcome of current police investigations; and any recommendations that the police, or an independent case manager, who is advising SCOE on these matters make.
Recently, DLS did publish on its website an apology to any person who may have suffered abuse either by a brother or lay member of staff at any of their schools.”
There will not, therefore, be an open and public reckoning by the DLS Order of the suffering caused to hundreds of their victims, The “apology” they published on their website, which you have previously mentioned in this blog, is all we are likely to get. Unless we call for an open and independent inquiry into what happened.
As you are in charge of DLS Safeguarding, I do think it’s relevant to inquire if you are a member of the De La Salle Order as at least one survivor believes.
A survivor of St Ninian’s, Rocky 1954, asked me to bring this matter to your attention. See his letter below.
3 months have passed since DLS Brother Michael Murphy was convicted of terrible offences against myself and 28 others at Edinburgh High Court. How can an order of the Catholic Church(DLS) have no liability, no culpability, no redress, no conscience, no sense of guilt or even horror at what was done in their name!!. Scottish Redress have informed me that the DLS have declined to contribute to the scheme.!! They use the best barristers in the world to fight an attritional battle against aged and infirm victims knowing that every legal argument or complex delay saves them millions in compensation. Every year hundreds of these elderly survivors die, so delay pays. I want, we want satisfaction but the DLS won`t even give us an apology. They answer to no one, regardless of pretences. The Salesians are Contributors to the Redress Scheme and as much as it galls they at least have acknowledged their guilt. Give them (the De La Salles) my contact details Pat and see how long it takes for me to get an apology or explanation why its taken so long and what they intend to do about myself and the other 28 who were so greviously abused and in my case lost a finger at 10 years old while in their sole care.
The matter is further explored on this post
It highlights how two Survivors of the De La Salles feel about your order’s lack of response in the Benedict case. As a fellow Survivor of the De La Salles I stand with them.
Here are Rocky 1954’s contact details. (In my email to Barry Hudd)
I’ve included the Rev Des Bill in this communication. I’m aware Scottish Safeguarding is yet another organization but hope you can pass it on as before, Des. Or let me have their contact details and I will.
And I think this matter is also of concern to you.
Two Survivors of Brother Benedict (Michael Murphy) have been in touch with me.
Both have the same issues with the De La Salles.
Namely, they have received :
And they have both rejected:
POOR COMPENSATION FROM THE SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT.
This Redress scheme by the government is doubtless because they feel some responsibility.
The government have invited the De La Salles to contribute to this fund and they have declined.
But other relevant organizations – the Salesians (who also abused the first case below) and Save the Children (for charitable reasons)– have contributed.
FIRST – THE CASE OF ‘ROCKY 1954’
He wrote to me today
3 months have passed since DLS Brother Michael Murphy was convicted of terrible offences against myself and 28 others at Edinburgh High Court. How can an order of the Catholic Church(DLS) have no liability, no culpability, no redress, no conscience, no sense of guilt or even horror at what was done in their name!!. Scottish Redress have informed me that the DLS have declined to contribute to the scheme.!! They use the best barristers in the world to fight an attritional battle against aged and infirm victims knowing that every legal argument or complex delay saves them millions in compensation. Every year hundreds of these elderly survivors die, so delay pays. I want, we want satisfaction but the DLS won`t even give us an apology. They answer to no one, regardless of pretences. The Salesians are Contributors to the Redress Scheme and as much as it galls they at least have acknowledged their guilt. Give them my contact details Pat and see how long it takes for me to get an apology or explanation why its taken so long and what they intend to do about myself and the other 28 who were so greviously abused and in my case lost a finger at 10 years old while in their sole care.
Just to remind you, here is Rocky 1954’s original account:
Dear Mr Mills,
I am a survivor of abuse by both the DLS brothers and also the Salesians of St John Bosco order. You can refer to me as “Rocky1954” if you want to relay my story. I was the lead witness in the trial of Michael Murphy. A bit of background. I was born in Whitburn West Lothian Scotland and attended the local Catholic school. I persistantly truanted and was sent to St Ninians @ the age of 9. this was Sept 1963. Benedict raped me. He put my hand in a vice and crushed my little finger. Infection set in and i was given primitive medical care at the school and only after my whole arm swelled up and turned blue was a doctor called. He was very angry at the Matron an alchoholic and took me in his car to Stirling. Upon arrival at Stirling Royal Infirmary i was diagnosed with gangrene and for 4 days i was in and out of coma, while they were debating amputating my arm. A surgeon came from London. 3 more days on a new antibiotic and i responded to it. My finger was gone.!! 2/3 amputated. I was learning Piano and was grade 2. After the operation i had no coordination in my left hand and no feeling on one side of my elbow. My mum and dad didnt know i had been in hospital till i came home on leave. The headmaster Bro Thadeus set up an elaborate scheme where another boy on promise of release said he did it. Benedict had nothing to do with itand they were believed. I had no idea about previous trials in Scotland, ive lived in Leeds over 50 years and im afraid Scottish news is not freely read in England. I travelled to Edinburgh at the age 67 and gave my evidence. He was convicted of the offences against me. Assault causing serious injury leading to loss of limb. Lewd and Libidinous offences, which cover the serious and repeated Sexual Assaults.
Rocky also added today:
If any other survivors of DLS approved schools in Scotland want my details or to contact me through your good self thats also fine. I have never seen such an intricate web of deceit and smoking mirrors as the DLS.
SECOND – THE CASE OF DOOGSTER 61
Good to hear we have one contributor to the Scottish government redress scheme Pat. Nothing from De Salle. The Scottish scheme requires a signature to waive your rights to pursue legal action. I,m afraid I wont be grasping the 30 pieces of silver and besides, the De Salle refusing to contribute leaves me no alternative but to pursue litigation.
As for the apology? More chance of the Pope chapping my door with an Easter hamper. It would mean nothing to me now. I have already got my justice with the conviction of Brother Benedict. Now they can justify it financially. Incidentally, the maximum the Scottish government are prepared to pay is £100K. Now, after waiting for justice for 52 years, that equates to £36 per week. Certainly seems the Scottish government are trying to protect the perpetrators in order to receive contributions from them. They should be suing them directly never mind asking for meagre contributions! I,m sorry but if any victims have the time and health on their side, then I suggest litigation is the only route for financial recompense.
As a fellow survivor of the De La Salles, I stand with Doogster and Rocky – and so many more, like Rafael – in their search for justice.