How survivors feel about IICSA

There’s a forthcoming Webinar planned about the considerable shortcomings of IICSA. And a planned book THE UNTURNED STONES OF IICSA where survivors can write a chapter about issues they feel were neglected by IICSA. Currently I’m writing a chapter about the DE LA SALLE BROTHERS, but if anyone else wants to cover the same or similar ground, I’m fine with giving them a voice instead and I’ll take a back seat.

There are so many other areas of the Catholic Church that I want to look at.

Here’s the link to a brief podcast explaining in more detail.  And there’s an email address included for you to write to.

Episode Description

TRIGGER WARNING: STRONG FEELINGS EXPRESSED. Listening to the Pioneers of Authentic Change express their formidable concerns about the integrity of the independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse. Lisa Nandy MP, Raymond Stephenson from Shirley Oaks Survivors Association, (www.shirleyoakssurvivorsassociation.co.uk) Ian Mc Fayden, Andy from Newcastle, Malcolm Mansfield QC & Lloyd Evans from JWatch (see Youtube video IICSA:Part of the Problem

THE IPSWICH CONNECTION. A STORY OF TWO DOCTORS.

The victim who is able to articulate the situation of the victim has ceased to be a victim. They have become a threat. – James Baldwin

This is a work in progress. It’s about two doctors who were prime suspects in an infamous Ipswich murder case in the 1960s. They escaped justice for their crimes and both are now dead. It’s only indirectly relevant to most of the accounts on this blog, so please ignore this post if your interest is primarily in remembering school days at St Joseph’s College, Ipswich. Or if you don’t want to read an incomplete story, particularly one involving murder. As it’s a work in progress, inevitably there are some conjectures in my account that may well be wrong. In fact, I would be happy if they were proved wrong and there was an innocent or less disturbing explanation of the facts.

I’ve been wanting to write about one aspect – involving R & W Paul of Ipswich – for years, long before I even knew about the doctors and their Ipswich connection, but I held off because I was hoping to find the missing pieces of the jigsaw first. They may or may not eventually fall into place.

At this time, my recollections are not of sufficient clarity and detail to take further. After all, they concerned events that took place a lifetime ago back in the 1960s. Nonetheless, they are persistent.

In the end, I decided I had no choice but to write about them. Firstly, as a personal catharsis, so I can have closure. Secondly, because it is possible that my memories may cross-reference with others and therefore be of value. It has happened before on this site. The case of Brother James, for example. One courageous testimony by a survivor led to three other Old Boys of St Josephs, myself including, making similar statements about the crimes of Brother James.

So here goes.

The two doctors in question were Dr Martin Reddington and Dr John Byles.  The full story of their awful crimes, including at least two murders of children, can be found here: https://theneedleblog.wordpress.com/2015/03/

I will just highlight a few details in the Needleblog account. Firstly, the comments at the bottom of that post reveal even more about the Doctors and none of it is good. Secondly, it’s remarkable how often they were charged with child abuse crimes, found innocent or escaped justice by jumping bail and fleeing the country. They seem to have gone to Canada, South Africa and Australia and returned to the UK again and again without being apprehended. It’s reasonable to conjecture they had some useful connections to achieve this.

Although they were prime suspects in one murder, when they fled to Australia it was felt there was insufficient evidence to extradite them to the UK.

But Byles was going to be extradited for being the ringleader of the Holy Trinity paedophile ring described in the Needleblog account. He then skipped bail in Australia and committed suicide in 1975, leaving three suicide notes. The notes have not been made public. Reddington was arrested in Australia in 1977 for indecently assaulting a child. He regularly visited the UK without being apprehended by the police, and died in Surrey in 1995.

Now we come to the Ipswich connection. There’s a link on the Needleblog and the same link is here: Tattingstone suitcase murder. It describes the crime that took place in January 1967. Tattingstone is a village just outside Ipswich.

‘Detectives pinpointed the pair as suspects at an early stage. When the case was re-opened in 1977 the case became even stronger.’ Ipswich Star

The Doctors were regarded as prime suspects because in 1977, one of the suitcases used to dispose of the body was thought to have belonged to one of them. And Reddington, who was born in Colchester, had a surgery close to where the victim was last seen in Muswell Hill. Byles also lived in Muswell Hill. The murder victim, Bernard Oliver – a vulnerable 17-year-old – had been expertly dismembered by a doctor or someone with similar medical knowledge and skill. It was believed to have taken place somewhere close to where the two suitcases containing his remains were found.

Somewhere like Ipswich.

Then, astonishingly, in 2012, there was a new development: https://www.ipswichstar.co.uk/news/ipswich-new-lead-in-45-year-riddle-of-body-in-2723320. A witness, Mr Thurston, came forward to say that between 1am and 2am in early January 1967 he had seen a man wearing surgeon’s gloves standing inside the entrance to R & W Paul’s offices in Salthouse Street, Ipswich. At his feet were two suitcases. The witness and his friend were terrified by his scary appearance and escaped on his scooter.

It’s worth quoting a key section from the article:

Mr Thurston, now of St Austell, Cornwall, said he first attempted to speak to police ten years after the murder, but felt he was not being taken seriously and did not make a statement.

However, after reading Tony Oliver’s story while back in Ipswich for Christmas, he went in to the town’s police station to report what he had seen.

Lisa Miller, a spokesman for Suffolk Constabulary, said: “We can confirm an appointment has been made to see Mr Thurston and the information will be followed up.”

I’ve found no further article, but obviously the police would have looked closely at the R & W Paul connection. Whatever conclusion they reached, they presumably decided it was of no significance and/or not appropriate to make any of it public. And the case is closed, after all.

I came across the article by accident a year or so ago and was shocked by it for two reasons.  Firstly, because after the Knights of St Columba stopped paying my school fees, I had to leave St Joseph’s College at the age of fifteen, and then worked for R & W Paul as an errand boy between 1964-1965: less than two years before the Tattingstone murder took place.

As an aside: the criminal role of the Ipswich Knights of St Columba in this period, and how they covered up a paedophile ring at St Joseph’s College, has been described by another survivor. See The Shocking Truth about St Joseph’s. It’s confirmed by other survivors’ accounts. A post, incidentally, that neither the current Knights, the De La Salle Brothers, the Catholic diocese, Catholic Safeguarding, or St Joseph’s (now safely ‘under new management’) have chosen to respond to.

I knew R & W Paul’s offices in Salthouse Street very well. I worked out of the little mail sorting-house that was reached across a courtyard at the back of those offices. Riding my trade bike, I cycled in and out of the entrance that the witness described ever day for a long, boring year. So I know Mr Thurston’s account is true, because the detail is so accurate. And why would anyone make up such a bizarre story?

There was a second reason I was shocked.

My survival technique as a vulnerable kid was to block out most negative memories of my Catholic abusers. It worked incredibly well at the time, but, as is often typical for survivors, memories come back in mid-life. So I’ve spent a fair amount of time since making sense of them and piecing them together. And then taking appropriate action against abusers – with some success, I’m pleased to say.

Because, in my opinion, the most healing and satisfying therapy for survivors is for the hunted to become the hunter.

So for the last six years at least I’ve had recurring negative memories of strange ‘parties’ at R & W Paul at which I was present, aged 14-16. At first this seemed most unlikely to me, especially as I would have still been at school. And I believed that I escaped the Knights when I left school at 15, so that was the end of it. But the Knights didn’t see it that way. Just because they no longer were paying my fees did not mean they had lost interest in me. For them, it was all about power and overcoming resistance. And I resisted endlessly, I’m also pleased to say.

A survivor giving evidence at IICSA about his Catholic school explains it rather well. ‘Boys like me who resisted could look forward to having their educations derailed and wrecked… It was if these men were following an instruction manual they’d learnt by rote: grooming, accusation, persecution.’

I have a memory that one particular Knight got me the job at R & W Paul using his ‘connections’. My recollection was that he was an agricultural engineer, and he certainly dressed the part with his expensive clothes. In fact, I’ve since discovered from his death certificate that he worked for an agricultural engineers, Ransoms, Sims and Jefferies, as a paint shop foreman. Given his arrogant character, it’s likely that he told me he was an engineer to impress me, or it could be that my memory wasn’t precise in this regard.

But why I would need ‘connections’ to get such a truly crap job beats me. I had left school at 15 with no ‘O’ Levels, but this was an era of full employment and there were far better jobs available as I discovered later for myself. More likely, I was steered into the job for a reason.

Thus I remember the troubled kid who had the R & W Paul errand boy job before me. He had a posh accent, and had gone to a private grammar school, just like me. But there was some kind of problem in his life that he didn’t reveal to me during the week we spent together as he introduced me to the work. And he didn’t even live in Ipswich, like me. We were both surely over-qualified as errand boys. My feeling is that this lowly position was a placeholder for rebellious and ‘troublemaking’ teenagers after their education had been ‘derailed’. Here they could still be kept an eye on and used when required.

But that’s all speculation, of course, and finding difficult teenagers such work seems like a huge and pointless waste of time and energy to me – but then I don’t think like criminals who see vulnerable children as property.

So let’s look at the hard facts instead. I’d always thought the idea of parties at R & W Paul, Salthouse Street, was absolutely nuts. It’s an office block, after all. It’s the most unsuitable place for a conventional party, never mind deviant parties. Why not have their party using Paul’s Social Club near St Joseph’s? So I dismissed the idea even though, year in and year out, I’d get constant subconscious reminders about going to ‘weird parties at Pauls’.

Similarly, when I read the 2012 newspaper account, I thought once again that it was also nuts. Carrying out an operation to dismember a corpse in the Salthouse Street offices seems so unlikely. No one in their right mind would consider it.

It seems to be the weakness in the 2012 account. It’s simply not feasible for such a crime to be committed on the office premises. Once again, I dismissed it from my mind. Or tried to.

Finally, I studied the site on Google maps a week ago and realised it’s not impossible after all.

The impressive office building is still there – there’s possibly a preservation order on it – but there are substantial buildings directly behind it. They now belong to Hypercars and the company name and building style indicates they are of recent origin. They could have replaced earlier similar buildings.

The R & W Paul offices follow the curve of Salthouse Street before ending a short distance from Fore Street. In the 1960s, there would have been a substantial space behind the visible office frontage. It may have just been a wide expanse of courtyard or – more likely – it also contained further buildings, extensions or outhouses not visible from the street. Ordnance survey maps of the period represent it all as a simplistic solid block. All I can remember as an errand boy is taking letters from a little mailroom outbuilding, in which three of us worked, down through the open air courtyard, and into the main offices.

So yes, it is possible a building projecting into or even partly filling the courtyard could have been used for illicit purposes. It’s also possible I blocked the memory of it out for that very reason.

Suffolk had a bad reputation at this time. The Krays – who abused children –had strong connections with the county. Other crimes against children have been noted and collated here: https://angirfana.blogspot.com/2015/04/suffolk-centre-of-child-prostitution.html. And the Ipswich red light district around London Road was notorious back in the 60s, long before the serial murders in 2006.

I have a strong sense – and it’s more than a feeling – that I have come across one or both of these doctors in the criminal circles that surrounded me.

Byles had first stood trial for offences against children back in 1963, so he was active at that time. Catholic and non-secular groups overlapped and shared a common perverted interest in children, something that is rarely acknowledged or discussed today. So we sometimes have the false impression that there was something ‘separate’ or ‘limited’ about Catholic abusers. In reality, Catholic and non-Catholic, teachers, priests, vicars, laity and De La Salle brothers like Solomon, James and Kevin, were all exactly the same low life filth and many undoubtedly ‘socialised’ with each other and shared victims. Sexual abuse of children inevitably leads perpetrators into related criminal activities. In particular, drug abuse, trafficking and worse. 

Thus, these two doctors were members of the Holy Trinity Church of England paedophile ring, using the church premises to take pornographic photos which they sold commercially, and commit sexual assaults and carry out abusive rituals, according to evidence at the trial. Their fellow criminal, Raymond Varley, was wanted for other crimes connected with the even more notorious Dr Freddy Peats. Peats was also a medical doctor and a social worker with the Catholic Church, and part of an international child abuse and trafficking ring. He was eventually caught, and died in a Goa prison.

This kind of overlap between Catholic, Church of England and non-secular criminals may well be the reason I keep being prompted to think back to R & W Pauls and what may have happened there.

That said, I’d hate to conflate memories of these doctors with Ipswich abusers. I’d be so happy if I discovered I had in fact conflated the two. If it is true, I’m lucky to be alive.

There is undoubtedly a connection. My memory progressively provides me with further details, so I’m optimistic I will find more pieces of the puzzle in due course.

This is more than an account of just two rotten apples. It’s a whole rotten orchard.

A LICENSE TO ABUSE

I’ve just read Corden’s Introduction to Canon Law. It’s a book that is well regarded by Catholics. It explains the mindset of Catholic authorities.

In summary, Catholic Canon Law is an astonishing license to abuse for Catholic child sex abusers.

It helps explains the crimes of the De La Salle Brothers and Catholic priests.

From the examples below it is offering little more than a ‘slap on the wrist’ to abusers.

Also, in one case study, it refers to ‘mild’ sexual abuse by a priest to a parishioner. It outlines remedies under Canon Law, but never informing the police.

It’s a current book yet it dismisses abuse with the statement: ‘Even ordained ministers go astray on occasion.’ 

‘On occasion’ ?!

 I don’t think it came up at IIICSA, but it should have as it’s central to abusers’ beliefs.

It’s an Abusers Charter.

De La Salle brothers and priests could easily see it as a ‘nod and a wink’ of tacit encouragement, ‘just don’t get caught’.

If I’m missing something, I would genuinely welcome a Catholic cleric or theologian’s response which I will publish here unedited.

What astonishes me is that no one complains about these truly outrageous ‘laws’ which I know are still quoted today by laity and are thus in current use.

Some quotes follow:

Sanctions in the Church

Book Six of the Code

Even ordained ministers go astray on occasion…. Punishment is a last resort. Pastoral exhortation, kind admonition, familial correction, earnest entreaty, and even firm rebuke should all precede penalties.  C1341.

Even in the application of punishments, leniency and mercy should temper the severity of a canonical penalty… In penal matters make the more benign interpretation.

Some persons may suffer a partial impairment of their … awareness and for them punishment should be reduced.e.g….those who acted in the heat of passion, while drunk, compelled by fear, under provocation.

If the person is truly sorry for the offences and seriously promises to make amends, then he or she cannot be censured. C1347

Another observer clarified the Law further:

The revised Book VI of Cannon Law defies God himself. If a priest is drunk, under the influence of drugs or if the child “tempted” him to excess, then he cannot be removed from the priesthood because his offence is “beyond his control”

As I say, I would welcome a response from a knowledgeable Catholic.

As it stands, to me and other observers it’s a document not so much of wishy-washy out of date rules, but rather an endorsement and an encouragement of pure evil.

Why aren’t Catholics demanding these laws be revised and strengthened, and acknowledged as being subordinate to the laws of the land?

Surely this is an area Catholic Safeguarding should look at?

BOUNDARY BREAKING

As you’ll see from the page below Durham University are keen to talk to survivors and other informed people about abuse in the Catholic Church and its various organizations.



There’s also a link with further information.



I talked to the organizers this week and recounted some of my experiences as an Old Boy of St Joseph’s College, Ipswich, and also the central role of the Catholic laity, specifically the Knights of St Columba.



I found it a valuable and cathartic experience. Valuable firstly because it was useful to interact and explain some of my childhood history to researchers connected to but independent of the Church. But secondly because it means this website has been noticed and is finally being taken seriously. It needs to be. It’s a unique platform and resource with a considerable body of important evidence about abuse and abusers.



So thank you to everyone who has contributed their recollections of Catholic abuse so far, some of which must have been quite tough to relate.



The project is funded by a charitable foundation with further contributions from other Catholic institutional funders, but as the organizers made clear to me, the University is a public secular institution, and the Centre for Catholic Studies which is behind the research is part of the University and independent of the Church.

All research is conducted in line with the University’s expectations of integrity and impartiality and is subject to ethical review; confidentiality and anonymity is maintained.  

If you are interested, please contact Marcus Pound on m.j.pound@durham.ac.uk or Pat Jones at patricia.jones@durham.ac.uk.  

Please see the University’s web page for more information: https://www.durham.ac.uk/research/institutes-and-centres/catholic-studies/research/boundary-breaking-/ 

Durham University’s Boundary Breaking Project is looking for research participants.

Boundary Breaking: Ecclesial-cultural Implications of the Sex Abuse Crisis within the Catholic Church in England and Wales

Boundary Breaking is a project of the Centre for Catholic Studies (CCS) within the Department of Theology and Religion at Durham University. It is a three-year research project, working in collaboration with survivors and organisations in the Catholic Church in England and Wales. Our task is to explore the role of Catholic culture and theology in contributing to the creation of an environment in which abuse by clergy and brothers, and its subsequent denial and mishandling, was and is possible. The project is led by Dr Marcus Pound as Principal Investigator, working with Dr Catherine Sexton, Dr Pat Jones and Prof. Paul D. Murray.

Our aim is to examine the possible relationship between the abuse crisis and weaknesses or distortions in the culture, organizational realities, and ecclesial self-understanding of Catholicism in England and Wales. We hope to produce theologically informed reflections and recommendations on aspects of safeguarding and culture within the Catholic Church, to help the whole Church to respond proactively to the sexual abuse crisis. We will host an international conference (planned for January 2023) to present our research findings and generate discussion and action.

We are engaging with people from across the Catholic community and beyond: survivors, secondary victims including affected families, and individual lay members; parish groups (particularly in parishes where abuse has occurred) and key voices in both secular and Catholic safeguarding agencies; clergy and members of religious orders. We know that those who have been sexually abused experience devastating and lifelong effects, with clerical sexual abuse having a particular impact. The voices of victim-survivors, along with secondary victims, are potentially prophetic for the Church, and are essential to our study. Their testimonies directly inform the research.

If you are a victim or survivor of child sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clergy or a religious brother (member of a religious order) then we would like to invite you to participate in our research. We can reassure you that everything you say is regarded as confidential. We pay careful attention to ethical issues, and work within Durham University’s ethics frameworks which ensure that strict confidentiality and anonymity protocols are in place in all aspects of our work.

We are working within the limitations imposed by COVID-19, which means currently working online, through Zoom and other digital platforms.

If you are interested, please contact Marcus Pound on m.j.pound@durham.ac.uk or Pat Jones at patricia.jones@durham.ac.uk.

Please see the University’s web page for more information: https://www.durham.ac.uk/research/institutes-and-centres/catholic-studies/research/boundary-breaking-/

BROTHER LAWRENCE HUGHES JULY 1 2021 UPDATE

Feedback below from a De La Salle Old Boy regarding Brother Lawrence Hughes who is the head of the De La Salle Order in the UK.

The Old Boy’s concerns relate to physical violence by the De La Salles during the 1960s. 

He tried talking to the Diocese of Southwark and got a similar reaction to me when I tried talking to the Diocese for Ipswich some years ago. It’s why I gave up on Catholic Safeguarding.

There are currently four allegations by Old Boys against Brother Hughes of extreme physical violence against children during a later era : the 1980s. This is significantly more than standard corporal punishment which would be considered lawful for the times.

It seems to me entirely inappropriate that an alleged DLS physical abuser is investigating or responding to allegations of physical abuse by the DLS.   

And as a result being ‘less than helpful’.

Not to mention all the endless testimonies of  DLS survivors – see my recent summary page.  Testimonies which Hughes has not responded to.

This site is now read not just by various related Catholic organizations   but also by the new look, fresh start Catholic Safeguarding headed by Nazir Afzal

So my question is this:

What are you waiting for? How many allegations do we need  for you to take action?  If you are part of the solution, this matter needs your urgent attention. Today.

Or are you still part of the problem?

OLD BOY’S TESTIMONY:

 I went to St Joseph’s Blackheath and am of the same generation as you. I also experienced most of what you did and I can tell you more if need be.

I wrote to the Diocese of Southwark about 5 years ago to make them aware of my experiences at the school. Initially they ignored me but I persisted and eventually one of the staff took me seriously and advised me to contact the police. I did not want to do that as most of the staff would now no longer be alive. They put me in touch with the head of the De La Salle order in the UK and we corresponded via email during the pandemic. He was not very helpful and he did not reply to my emails for ages and ages.

His name is Brother Lawrence Hughes! Our correspondence was less than helpful!

I then saw your WordPress article and then saw the name of the Head of the school, Brother Lawrence Hughes and then everything fell into place.

MORE SHAME OF THE DE LA SALLES 12th June 2021.

Excerpts below from a survivor of the De La Salles.  It’s from the Irish Examiner and the full article can be read at the link below. I believe Brother Laurence Hughes is responsible for the DLS in Ireland as well as Britain.  That same order that today’s St Joseph’s College, Ipswich, still likes to be associated with by saying it’s ‘In the La Sallian Tradition’

Whatever happens to Hughes – I predict he will retire soon –  the whole DLS order needs investigating, just as the Benedictines were investigated by IICSA and the current Scottish Inquiry. AND whether all connections with St Joseph’s, Ipswich, have been severed. I suspect there’s an unofficial connection just as there was with the Benedictines at Ampleforth.

https://www.irishexaminer.com/opinion/yourview/arid-40312103.html?type=amp

My education was non-existent. I suffered severe mental and emotional trauma at age of six and seven — the consequences of which only became real when my own six-year-old son started school.

As was common in Ireland then, no one at home believed me. In fact, I was made to feel responsible for my abuse. This was counter-trauma, I’ve since learned.

I’ve asked for an education from the De La Salle order. I was treated with utter contempt by a representative. The order didn’t have the courage to meet with me in person, so they sent a messenger to scold and embarrass me. All I was asking for was a chance to be educated.

I am the remains of a beautiful little boy who was violated and has been in hiding ever since. Who had the same chances of surviving this
valley of tears as any other privileged middle-class farmer’s son in 1966.

I am a victim. I was used by an adult, whose job it was to care for and nurture me (nurture, care, console were words I didn’t know existed then). His job, as directed by the Department of Education and the De La Salle order, was to educate. But like thousands of others, he did the opposite.

A 22-year-old brother of the De La Salle order realised one of his fantasies with the help of my little six-year-old classmates. I was the centre of this fantasy.

His use of me continued for two years. Just two years was the entire time he spent in the school and the order. When he left Macroom he applied to the Vatican and was released from the order.

Where is he now, I’ve often wondered? Has he had a family? Did he enter another profession? Is he happy?

Has he continued to abuse?

The Catholic Church is an organisation whose sole reason for existence is to make money and to continue to wield power. Male dominance over utterly helpless women and children.

I’m sorry for myself that I didn’t have an education. Other members of my family did.

The Catholic Church failed a young man from Leitrim. They failed the De La Salle order and they failed the Department of Education.

I have tried and failed countless times to educate myself. I am the victim. I have been failed. But I’m not a failure.

BROTHER LAURENCE HUGHES –UPDATE JUNE 12 2021

A new testimony just received concerning Hughes. That makes a total of four testimonies of physical abuse against this man who is the current head of the De La Salle Order in Britain and Ireland.

James commented on BROTHER LAURENCE HUGHES   Brother Laurence Hughes , He should leave the order and retire . I am a old boy from St Joseph’s Ipswich. He beat a boy around the head at the swimming pool & gave him six of the best with the slipper. He is a sadist. I know the boys name , I watched what happened to him . This is 43 years later. Approve     
  
  

SCOTTISH CHILD ABUSE INQUIRY – DE LA SALLE BROTHERS

The institutions highlighted in bold were announced as being added to the Inquiry’s investigations in March 2020

  1. Roman Catholic orders
  • De La Salle Brothers
    • St Joseph’s, Tranent
    • St Ninians, Gartmore, Stirlingshire
    • Kenmure St Mary’s Boys’ School, Bishopbriggs
    • St Mungo’s, Mauchline, Ayrshire
    • St John’s Boys’ School, Shettleston

There are numerous Catholic orders of ‘holy’ monks and nuns listed, but I’m only mentioning the DLS here.

All these are new names to me. There have been others mentioned elsewhere – DLS approved schools for example

It seems the crimes of the De La Salle order are truly endless.  If this was any other group, other than Catholic, it would be banned as a criminal organisation.

Yet St Joseph’s College, Ipswich, today,  is proud to be IN THE LA SALLIAN TRADITION

That’s like saying IN THE GARY GLITTER TRADITION

You really have no sense of shame to be PROUD to be associated with paedophiles

I’m amazed that your current pupils have not protested at this vile connection that you are so proud of.

DE LA SALLE SCHOOL LIVERPOOL – MISSING BOY

This was a post from a Survivor of a De La School in Liverpool in the 1980s.

Presumably it’s now the DLS Academy in Carr Lane East, Liverpool which is still being run by the DLS.

I felt it should have a separate post for two reasons. Firstly, in case it helps to highlight or explain the disappearance of a missing boy the author mentions: Mark Garvey.

Secondly, because it highlights how there is so much more to come out yet where Catholic abuse is concerned. Thus there were two missing children from my era connected with the Catholic community. (Not the De La Salles) I don’t have enough hard information (yet) to go into details and I don’t want to distract from this important post.

But my premise is that ‘brutal sadistic paedophiles’ of whom there were plenty at St Joseph’s College, Ipswich, don’t necessarily know when or how to stop at ‘just’ abuse. So there are some potentially awful implications.

For this reason, the De La Salle Order when in Ipswich, the Knights of St Columba in Ipswich who backed the DLS,  St Joseph’s lay teachers from the 60s to the 80s (one of whom used a cat o’ nine whip on a child – see my summary) all need properly investigating.

It’s all on my SUMMARY THREE PAGES ready for investigators to look at.

Hello, i just want to mention i too went to a De La Salle school in Liverpool although it was not a boarding school their were Brothers, of worst sort you could imagine. They were brutal sadistic pedophiles in which One of them was convicted twice of sexual assault named brother Paul. In no way im i exaggerating when i say i was strapped easily Fifty times for the slightest infractions, they would get off on it. There was also a brother who would try to proposition you by sidling up next to you an sing under his breath the Pet Shop Boys i got the brains you got the looks lets make lots of money ?. This took place for me in the 1980s. One thing all ways comes to my mind and that is the disappearance of a young man called Mark Garvey who apparently would frequent the brothers house that was attached to the school i dont know if that was looked into it should be.

CHARTWELL MANOR GRAPHIC NOVEL – REVIEW

Chartwell Manor by Glenn Head a Comic Memoir Published by Fantagraphics $29.99 Out in the UK on 3rd June 2021! Available for pre-order now.

Robert Crumb describes it as a masterpiece and I wholeheartedly agree. It’s an extremely important graphic novel about a truly foul American boarding school run by a Catholic pervert, Lynch, and the impact it had on generations of children who literally passed through his evil hands.

It’s appealing to a general public because it is a tale of fighting adversity and it does have a genuine upbeat ending. It’s especially relevant to survivors and professionals studying this field because it shows the effect on kids better than any print memoir or text book could ever do. The illustrations bring it to life in a way that I doubt words alone can achieve. Only a movie could top it and this graphic novel deserves to be made into one. It’s professionally plotted, written and story-boarded and feels like a three act drama.  So it’s low-hanging fruit just waiting to be picked by a director.

The first part of the book is relatively easy going, showing the hideous nature of the school without being too visually graphic.  But it’s the rest of the book, after Glenn leaves Chartwell and descends into an urban Hell, where we enter difficult and uncharted territory. And it’s here that the story really comes into its own.

At this stage, you might feel this is starting to sound depressing and back away? Please don’t. It’s actually very positive because it’s about the truth and the truth is always, ultimately, positive. Contrary to what the sneerers might say (‘Is this a “poor me” book?’ Answer – No way.). Or the stoics  (‘You’ve just got to put up with it.’ Answer – No you don’t. And being stoic doesn’t work.). Or the denialists (‘Are you sure you’re not exaggerating?’ Answer – The truth is usually far worse than our edited memories.) Yeah, the truth really does set you free.

So, after school, we see Glenn encountering denialists in the form of his parents, trying to be stoic and inevitably failing as stoics always do and paying the price. (Alcohol, relationship issues, emotionally shut down, you name it.), and hesitating to tell the story of Chartwell for fear of it being a ‘poor me’ tale. Although it’s grim, I didn’t find it remotely harrowing. We’re all adults, after all.  

It’s a classic hero’s journey with a lot of false starts, falls from grace, and frustrations along the way. Hero’s journey because this is real life, not Clark Kent bullshit, and every pupil who survived the monstrous Lynch is a hero. Eventually Glenn achieves closure which for survivors is always retaliation (preferably legal). In my experience, there is no other way that works. Certainly not forgiveness, forgetting or prozac.  His retaliation is the publication of his book.

I run an Old Boys website about my old Catholic school, St Joseph’s College, Ipswich, which was not unlike Chartwell (named after Churchill’s retreat) so I had a special interest in reading it. Naming and shaming abusive teachers and schools on a website (and in reviews) is another successful form of retaliation.  

Here’s hoping Chartwell Manor is the start of a genre of comics and graphic novels exposing these horrible and serious crimes against children, rather than a one-off volume. Graphic art is a particularly good way to dramatise the characters and the often complex issues involved. 

Glenn has shown extraordinary courage in sharing his poignant and emotional story of endurance and strength with us. I hope many more survivors’ stories will follow him.

Chartwell Manor is available in the UK on Amazon from 3 June and you can preorder it now.