BROTHER LAURENCE HUGHES

HEAD OF THE DE LA SALLE BROTHERS IN THE UK AND IRELAND

https://www.delasalle.org.au/blog/district-of-ireland—appointment-of-visitor
Bro Laurence Hughes pictured front row, far right, from a photo of St Joseph’s College teaching staff in the 1980s

I recently posted a school photo of St Joseph’s College Ipswich, from the 1980s. As I’ve said previously, three Old Boys (myself and two others) have identified a total of five abusers in the photo above. 

In fact there were six abusers in this era if one includes the infamous Mike Mercado (not present).

This seems a considerable number of abusers for any one group of teachers and has disturbing implications which I have previously written about.

An Old Boy then advised me as follows:

‘Brother Laurence Hughes (on the extreme right of the photo) is now head of the De La Salle Brothers in the UK and has made statements at various abuse enquiries. He must have at the very least been aware of abuse at St Joseph’s.’

So I looked Brother Laurence up and saw that he has spoken out strongly against child abuse.

Here are two examples. The second quote refers to the notorious Brother James Carragher, surely one of the most evil men to have ever joined the De La Salle Order.

EXAMPLE ONE (from The Scotsman)

‘Brother Laurence Hughes, head of the De La Salle Brothers in Great Britain and Ireland, told the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry he would have expected other members of staff to have known what was going on.

‘Br Hughes said he had already met with survivors abused by the congregation in Northern Ireland and was prepared to do so in Scotland.’

EXAMPLE TWO (from an ITV News report)

‘Carragher is a former member of the De La Salle Brotherhood.

The group released the following statement.

“We totally condemn, without reservation, any action or behaviour which harms young people. The behaviour of James Carragher was a deep betrayal of the Order’s mission to the young and of the trust that was placed in him as a De La Salle Brother. He was dismissed from the Order following previous conviction.

Brother Laurence Hughes, De La Salle Brothers

……………………………………….

A different Old Boy from St Joseph’s in the mid-1980s recognised Brother Laurence in the school photo and had this to say:

‘Brother Laurence. An absolute psycho who assaulted a couple of boys in my second form dorm. He asked to see me once after lights out so I combated it by turning into an objectionable little bastard and he then kept away.’

I asked this Old Boy for permission to quote him anonymously which he gave me.

He then added:

‘This is the dude who would invite 11 year olds into his study after lights out. He bandaged my foot once after a rugby injury and was creepy as fuck.’

Other Old Boys from St Joseph’s may wish to share their recollections of Brother Laurence Hughes in the comments here. Or you can email me in the strictest confidence at pat@millsverse.com.

As you can see from the foregoing, anything you wish to say will be kept strictly anonymous and your privacy respected.

It’s also worth adding that the current St Joseph’s College, Ipswich, has had nothing to say on the huge number of testimonies on this site of child abuse at St Joseph’s in past eras.

The crimes took place before their time but the current school still maintains many proud links with its past, whilst ignoring the endless cases of past abuse. This is certainly a cause of pain for me as a survivor and doubtless many other survivors. 

The testimonies prove beyond any reasonable doubt that serious offences took place in the 1960s to 1980s. Often they are related by different Old Boys in different eras yet describing recognizable modus operandi of the same clerical abusers.

KEARNEY: RECLAIMING OUR IDENTITIES

A post from Nosssh

I recall Kearney regularly exploding with rage in classrooms next door and desperately hoping I didn’t have to contend with him (as well) in my next year group (1970-75). I spent each day trying my hardest to stay invisible or better still, absent because of the inappropriate actions of one teacher. Thus a promising ‘A stream’ pupil (demoting himself to ‘B stream’ to avoid Mr _) left as soon as possible to face the world armed with the single o-level he still cared about and a lot of anger. I would urge anyone on the list of 70+ names I’ve just jotted down (in best “Moggs” voice) to please consider reporting anything they might regard as suspect. Seemingly many/most of my peers sailed through St. Joes with no issues but believe me, some of us are only now able to start processing what happened there to try and reclaim our identities. Others have died before even starting that process.

That’s a powerful statement which needs commenting on.  Especially on behalf of my earlier 60s St J’s  generation who are that much closer to our mortality.

After all: Why let these evil individuals get away with it? 

That’s what today’s  St Joseph’s College, the Catholic Church and the De La Salle Brothers clearly want by their silence in the face of so much evidence.

 Fortunately, Kearney lasted through to the 80s. So if my generation or the 70s generation doesn’t nail him and expose the full nature of his crimes, the younger 80s generation may.  This isn’t going to go away. I find that thought rather comforting.

Because these characters are – by definition –  serial offenders.  They’re predators and they would have abused again and again and again.

It’s usually those of us from vulnerable backgrounds (my mother was a widow) who these characters pick on, which made me a prime target.  It explains why other Old Boys from St Js – probably from more stable homes – will say endlessly, ‘Well he never did me any harm.’  Lucky you.

It prompted me to repeat here a direct message which I’ve kept anonymous.

Hi pat, I came across your WordPress article.. About Ipswich in 70s, I was there, I remember many of the people and places you talk about but buried it deep… Always knew I’d have to face it one day…. Keep it up

Reclaiming our identities is what makes the process of ‘facing it’ worthwhile.

Here are some pointers to where I’m personally going where Kearney is concerned.

1)KEARNEY THE BEAR

Firstly, a recent description of him from an Old Boy from the Mid 80s

Summer 1985 in your photo. Mr Kearney too, but his description would not have been as Pat says. At that time, he was big but overweight, and with a short beard. We used to call him “the bear”. The skin on his hands was so thick he could use his thumb to cover the test tube where he was heating concentrated sulphuric acid without a second thought…

According to Wikipedia

In male gay culture, a bear is often a larger or obese hairier man who projects an image of rugged masculinity

A gay website confirms the term was in use in the UK by the 1980s.

Or maybe Kearney was called ‘the Bear’ just because he was a big guy. 

Not in my experience.

It ties in with my recollections of him. I remember him as an abuser. I’ve been slow to talk about it on this site because I was looking for other indications on the subject before really opening up.  Maybe I should be the first one to take the plunge, just as two other Old Boys courageously outed Brother James as a sexual predator before I said anything about my own horrendous experience.

‘The Bear’ is one indication – of course it’s not proof and there could be an innocent explanation for his nickname even in the streetwise 1980s.

But sadists usually have a sexually abusive dimension to their character and Kearney was most certainly a sadist.

He also had a personal connection to my family which appalled me so much, I cut out all memories of him.

That was my survival system.

If that sounds extreme, ask yourself – would you want a sick individual like Kearney to be a ‘close friend’ of your family?

Exactly. 

I think that might help explain why I still bang on about this wretched guy after all these years. Yes, it is personal.

2) KEARNEY AS A SADIST

That’s my abiding memory of him. I don’t recall his temper exploding as above, but I do recall his sadism as he lashed kids with the Bunsen burner pipe.  This was born out recently by an Old Boy who described his sadistic racism.

3) KEARNEY BREAKING BAD

This is the toughest one because it’s new territory even for the vile teachers we’ve all described on this site.

Long before the fictional Walter White, chemistry teachers have been prosecuted for the illegal manufacture of drugs and illegal use of chemicals. Available materials were used for all the obvious reasons – including as predecessors to rohypnol. So it’s not that remarkable. Some of the processes  and uses are quite straight-forward, unlike the complexity of Breaking Bad.

I would so prefer this to be some twisted fantasy born out of my job as a science fiction and fantasy writer.  A product of an over-active imagination. If only!

I’m afraid it is not.

It’s a lingering memory that needs acknowledging. Unlike other Old Boys, I only have snapshot memories of the past. My ‘polaroids’ are clear enough, but they don’t provide a continuous ‘video’ narrative. There are gaps. Hence my hesitation.

And please consider this: The man’s memory has already been tainted beyond repair by recent testimonies of various Old Boys as well as myself. His name doesn’t need further blackening. He’s already a monster. So why would I need to do and say anymore?

Because it happens to be the truth.

And in stating and exploring that truth, it’s far more than a catharsis, it helps me reclaim my identity. Who I was.  What really happened to me. Who I am today. So it’s  empowering for me personally.

It’s well worth it.

There’s a second reason that’s particularly relevant in the area of ‘Breaking Bad’. Anything involving drugs has huge implications that always involve others. I’m sure I don’t need to spell them out. We’re all worldly wise. Breaking Bad and other films show it clearly.

The drug scene in Britain in the early 1960s – my era – is rarely covered in film AFAIK. It’s a bridge too far for most. Quadrophenia is one example – but it only shows working class kids as users.

I can’t recall the ‘respectable’ middle classes ever being shown taking recreational drugs, which seems most unlikely, ahead of the late 60s when cannabis, LSD and heroin were all featured in movies.

But the 60s started long before the Beatles.  The Christine Keeler series and the Keeler film gives some indication of what really went on in my era and earlier. This was the era when I had the misfortune to make Kearney’s acquaintance both in school and out of school. And there are strong hints in the film Darling. But most of it seems to be off limits. It’s like there’s an unwritten rule ‘Don’t go there’.

There’s also the transgenerational nature of abuse rings which the Oz academic study I’ve written about proves, beyond any reasonable doubt, is hardwired into their systems.

One thing I will swear to is this: Kearney was a member of one – or possibly two – of those transgenerational rings. (I say two because one of the rings seems to have been non-Catholic.)

When it stopped, I have no means of knowing. Presumably with the dawn of more vigilant times in the 1990s?  When the Church and its various aligned organizations, like St J’s, came under critical scrutiny and it (supposedly) weeded out its prime abusers.

It would be nice to think so.

That’s certainly what they want us to believe

KEARNEY THE RACIST

Kearney, my old chemistry teacher at St Joseph’s College, Ipswich, is, annoyingly, someone who is still very much on my mind.  Even though it was a lifetime ago, the guy still haunts me. Frankly, I could do without it as I have a great and rewarding quality of life and have far better and more important things to think about than the crimes of this evil individual.

There’s a reason why Kearney is still there in the forefront of my mind. Other notorious abusive teachers at St Joseph’s– such as Brothers James, Solomon and Kevin – have been fully outed now. They’ve been rightfully named and shamed with subsequent closure.  

But Mike Kearney is rather different.

Not least because he’s a complex character and it’s  a necessary part of my healing to understand who he really was. I truly wish I didn’t have to, because it’s like looking into the darkness of another man’s soul.  It’s taking time to gather my recollections and to fully comprehend and define the nature of his abuse. It’s sometimes quite painful, because it’s like I have to travel back in time to relive the original experiences and to make sense of them, but I’m getting there.

Sorry to be a little mysterious, but I will relate it more fully  in the future.

Meanwhile, it’s relevant in the current climate to show again an earlier comment about Kearney relating to his racism.

It was originally posted in November 2016. So it’s worth noting that St Joseph’s would have been aware of his racism for over three years and have chosen to ignore it.

If they claim they weren’t aware, well, they are now.

This post refers to a period in the mid 1980s at St Joseph’s, when Kearney was, presumably, coming close to retirement.  There would have been more black students  in that era than in mine.  I only recall one African boarder in my class.  So I doubt I’d have seen Kearney’s racism in action.

 Marcus commented on ROLL OF DISHONOUR   One more point – one of the teachers I just couldn’t work with was Mr Kearney – he was an aggressive South African who again picked on us non-white students more than anyone – apartheid was alive and kicking in his (and Mr Andrews) classes. He was clearly a survivor from when it was ok to be a racist bully in the classroom. An example would be when I was in the third year (year 9). I was being cautious with chemicals and test tubes. He picked up the tube and put it against my skin, which burnt my skin – he defended himself by saying that if I can put it on the table then I can put it on my skin. It was ONLY because of him I didn’t take Chemistry as an option (I did take Physics and Biology), it’s a pity as it stopped me from taking science options at university (although Computer Science was my first choice anyway). 
  
  

Given that Kearney was at St Joseph’s in the late 1950s, according to his close colleague,the paedophile Mike Mercado/Brother Solomon, it’s reasonable to assume Kearney was in South Africa in the 1940s and/or 1950s.

This was when the apartheid state of South Africa was at the height of its power.

I recall his harsh, menacing voice very well.  I don’t remember his accent being particularly British, South African or Irish (the derivation of his name). He could, of course, have connections with all three countries.

But certainly Kearney had the arrogance of a believer in apartheid in the way he dealt with me.  Although it was also tempered with a certain caution and wariness, too. And with good reason, I’m pleased to say. I was no easy victim, you see, although he did come perilously and scarily close to victimising me. For him, breaking my spirit was really important, and, at the time, I didn’t understand why.  Teaching ‘obedience’ and ‘humility’ is imbued in Catholic culture, of course, but this was something else. Something much more.

So why did he waste his energy dealing with some annoying, Bolshie kid  who isn’t going to do what he wants and– between the time I  was 14 – 16 years old – had challenged him on personal matters outside the classroom and seriously pissed him off?  So what?  At the time, his reaction and his vengeance always seemed disproportionate to me. In retrospect, I realise I hugely underestimated him and the impact my rebellion had on him.  Such is the confidence of youth.

Knowing he spent some years in racist South Africa, knowing he was a sadist (detailed in past testimonies on this site), who enjoyed inflicting pain and knowing he was later – in the 1980s – nicknamed ‘The Bear’ and its likely meaning,  helps me finally start to make sense of him.  

Consequently, I’ve been able to build an authentic and accurate picture of this man which is still a work in progress, because I want to get it absolutely right.  

It will be my personal memorial to Mike Kearney.

My sincere thanks to Marcus above for helping me understand him.

Coming from an impoverished and vulnerable home background, and dealing with Kearney who had a measure of personal control over me,  outside of the school, I have some small sense today of what it must feel like to be non-white.

To be on the receiving end of a racist’s abuse, their seething, barely suppressed anger, hate, vengeance, malice and their need to victimise and control.

I can tell you, it feels bloody terrible. It makes me feel like I’m nothing. Like I’m an object. Like I was entirely at his mercy.  And he knew that and he loved it. I think he even enjoyed my spirited and angry responses, so he could retaliate and bring down his psychological equivalent of a sjambok on my back. He certainly had a few psychological weapons in his armoury.

At the time, I zoned out, I disassociated many of the feelings as a survival mechanism to get through my early teenage years. So now I’ve got to feel them to get closure. It’s not much fun, but I try to pace myself and it has to be done.  And I firmly believe it’s better than prozac, alcohol or otherwise numbing the feelings. Hopefully, I won’t have to feel the whole shebang.

To reprise, Kearney is a man who is provably a violent criminal. Punching a 13 year old boy in the face (see an Old Boy’s recent past testimony) was not an isolated incident.

A man who doesn’t appear to have been a very good chemistry teacher – according to another calm, balanced and insightful recent past testimony.

A man who came from a racist country at the height of its racism, and behaved in a racist and covertly violent manner – as shown in the testimony above.   

And today, the current St Joseph’s College, Ipswich, has a Memorial Chemistry  prize to proudly honour this man’s memory.

Well, maybe not quite so proudly today.

They previously announced the Kearney prize regularly  in their Summer newsletters, but I see the 2019 newsletter no longer makes the award information public.

Whether that’s in response to this blog I can’t say. Certainly the De La Salle Order hurriedly took down their glowing obituary to Brother James as a ‘gentle and timid man’ when various Old Boys, myself included, highlighted his psychotic rages and violent sexual assaults and rapes on schoolboys on this site.

And the Knights of St Columba, Ipswich Province, have removed their list of past Knights (which I have a copy of) from their website. Possibly because I was writing about them as their list of deceased members included paedophile Canon Burrows and  Father Jolly, school chaplain at St Joseph’s,  who was almost certainly a Knight. And a member of a Catholic paedophile ring.  

(Sources: See my past testimonies on Burrows and Jolly. And another Old Boy’s testimony on Jolly and how he tape-recorded school boys  ‘impure sins’  confessed to him in the confessional.  And see my Dark Networks post for an authoritative academic study proving the existence of transgenerational Catholic paedophile rings and how they function. )

So St Joseph’s might choose to ‘update’ their prize list and remove Kearney’s name from the memorial prize on the grounds that he was a racist– even if they don’t care about his criminal violence and other matters still to come. 

If numerous councils, schools, universities and other public bodies can disassociate themselves from racist characters in their pasts, and tear down their statues and remove their names, I really think St Joseph’s should follow suit.  Particularly as the school must be more multi-racial today than in earlier decades.

There are other precedents.  I’m told on good authority that the Joe Homan charity is likely to be renamed so its evil founder – an ex De La Salle Brother who also taught at St Joseph’s College –  is no longer honoured.  (See past testimonies detailing his horrific and violent sexual abuse towards children)  That renaming process is currently a work in progress, but I hope it has a positive outcome.  If so, that’s excellent news and I hope it helps survivors and gives them some closure on Homan’s numerous crimes.

As you can see from the above, Catholic sexual abuse was endemic at St Joseph’s College, Ipswich in the 1960s and it seems to have carried on in a similar vein in the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s. It was not all clerical  abuse. There are several instances where lay teachers were also abusers.  Hence the validity of a transgenerational organised ring as confirmed by one survivor here as well as myself and backed up by the academic study of ‘Dark Networks’ in  similar Catholic schools and churches in Oz

Today’s St Joseph’s College is very different although they still proudly describe themselves as in ‘The La Sallian Tradition’ . This is an obvious insult to survivors who, as children, were brutalised and raped by De La Salle Brothers. And they still want to honour a racist teacher.

Why they should choose to hold onto these aspects of the past and maintain their  provocative links, I find disturbing because it lacks any obvious motive. It’s easy enough to get rid of the association, to give some plausible ‘modernising’ excuse, so there’s no loss of face, and they can still espouse worthy Catholic values without being connected with a religious order which included numerous violent sexual predators.  Any web search on the De La Salle order will show this beyond any doubt. That way they are rid of people like me reminding them with our testimonies appearing on search engines where parents can read the damning evidence.

The fact that the school haven’t fully cut the connection with their past makes me wonder if there is a hidden motive or some covert pressure on them to maintain their inappropriate links to the College’s past.

I think it’s time they entered the 21st century and did the right thing, don’t you?

The Mike Kearney Memorial Prize

An Old Boy commented recently on Kearney:

I went to st joes from 1984 to 1991. My experience of mr Kearney was not a good one. He punched me in the face once in chemistry as a third year. My dad went to the school and he apologised.

This is not a historic crime that can be conveniently lost in the mists of time. It’s relatively recent and it was clearly serious.

Yet today’s regime at St J’s still have a Chemistry prize in this scum’s memory

Any teacher who punches a thirteen year old boy in the face is scum.

By the 1980s it would also be a criminal offence.  

Kearney had obviously not evolved as a human being from the 1960s when he was equally vile.

Or does this somehow come under the heading of necessary tough discipline? That’s what one female apologist and admirer of Kearney claimed when she wrote into this site about a year ago.

 A trawl through my site will show other examples of Kearney’s physically abusive behaviour, to which I will add my own experiences at some stage.  I’m still researching Kearney and his past.

Today’s St Joseph’s College knows that the College’s past teachers were physically and sexually abusive and they have remained silent on the subject.  It’s impossible not to know – the evidence is overwhelming and is added to every day.

But here it would seem it’s absolutely okay because of Kearney’s scholastic achievements.

So why not have a Brother James Memorial Mathematics prize. Because he was a truly brilliant maths teacher – I was terrible at maths until James taught me. His teaching made a huge difference to my life.

Or a Brother Solomon Memorial Music prize.

I owe my deep passion and love of classical music directly to him.  And I’m sure many other pupils feel the same way.

Or a Brother Kevin Memorial Latin prize.

I was hopeless at Spanish, but Brother Kevin taught me Latin and I quickly excelled at it.

But of course all these three teachers are also now proven physical and sexual abusers.   There are so many devastating testimonies against them, it’s no longer a matter for debate.

So why the exception with Kearney? Is it because he’s only known for his physical abuse, so that’s sort of okay?

St Joseph’s :  Do we have to wait for something really shocking that Kearney did before you change the name of your prize?

Punching a boy in the face isn’t shocking enough for you?

How bad does it have to be? I’m curious.

Or is it that the ‘greater good’ is Kearney’s teaching  which trumps any crimes he committed. 

In this respect, your regime is definitely following in the La Sallian Tradition, a tradition you’re clearly proud of.

You might want to reflect on all this the next time you give out your Kearney Memorial Prize. 

And so might the recipient of the Prize. It’s not a Prize that is worth accepting when it’s associated with a proven abuser.

Meanwhile:

Shame on you.

BROTHERS KEVIN, JAMES AND SOLOMON

Broken Rites in Australia are a potential role model for us here in the UK on whether and how survivors could go forward in the case of the three abusers above.

If you’re not familiar with Broken Rites, here’s their summary page

Our Catholic background

Broken Rites Australia is not connected with any religious denomination. However, each member of the Broken Rites executive team had a Catholic background and each of us has been hurt by Catholic Church sex-abuse – and by the church’s habit of cover-up. We are therefore motivated to do research on this problem.

The first Broken Rites cases, which we began researching in 1993, resulted in a number of Catholic priests and religious Brothers being convicted in the criminal courts. This news prompted more Catholic survivors to send information to Broken Rites about other cases.

The Broken Rites executive team are semi-retired professionals, with experience in research and advocacy. We donate our time to do this research.

Our articles are written in a professional, non-sensational manner.

Our articles expose the perpetrator (and the cover-up) but we protect the privacy of victims.

http://www.brokenrites.org.au/drupal/node/246

If you look at their case studies, you will be awed by their diligence, restraint and pursuit of abusers. Their evidence was the basis of the Dark Network academic study clearly showing that  there were – and perhaps still are –  a significant number of organised Catholic paedophile rings within the Catholic Church in Oz.

The studies can be a little overwhelming to read. There are so many. And, if that’s true for Oz, it’s surely also true for the UK.

In the UK, we don’t, alas, have any organisation like Broken Rites that collates and pursues these cases. Maybe  because Australia has a larger Catholic population?  

And what happened to us at St Joseph’s College, Ipswich has never locked into a wider group of UK Catholic survivors, with more expertise to draw on, so we’re at somewhat of a disadvantage. 

Even so, Broken Rites are an encouraging and valuable role model and a possible source of advice on ways to go forward.

From looking at past correspondence, I have the strong feeling many of us would like to pursue this further, but are aware of our lack of time and expertise and also how the various organisations of the Catholic Church are expert at blocking, delaying and generally obstructing the path of a survivor seeking acknowledgement or compensation.

Whilst there are many  clerical abusers detailed on my site, there are three who stand out above the others: Kevin, James and Solomon.  I don’t think anyone could doubt the validity of these cases, based on the numerous testimonies on this site. 

One thing that has  held us back is the fact that these cases are ‘historic’. James and Solomon are dead. Kevin has dementia and may well be dead by now.

So I think it’s useful to quote from a Broken Rites case where the abuse was similarly ‘historic’ and the survivor still received compensation.

It concerns Father John Byrne, a Jesuit priest.

http://www.brokenrites.org.au/archives/nletter/page239-jesuit-john-byrne.html

Byrne died in Melbourne on 23 December 1974 aged 62.

A church investigation confirms abuse

A former student, Mark, says that he was sexually abused by Fr John Byrne at Xavier College’s preparatory school (Burke Hall) in Melbourne in 1971 when Mark was aged 11. Mark says it was sadistic violent abuse. Mark says that this abuse, plus the church’s cover-up, disrupted his teenage development and his later life.

In 2005, Mark lodged a complaint with the Catholic Church’s Professional Standards Office (the PSO) in Sydney. On 23 December 2005 a senior Jesuit, Fr Geoffrey King, who was in charge of professional-standards matters for the Australian Jesuits, wrote to Mark, stating:

“I must say that your account of events at Burke Hall bears very much the ring of truth . . . It is certainly true that John Byrne was moved from Burke Hall during 1972, and there seems good reason to suspect that it was as a result of some problematic behaviour on his part.”

In May 2006 the PSO appointed a solicitor/mediator to investigate Mark’s complaint and to interview priests who were colleagues of Father Byrne. The Jesuits could not assist with the investigation but when Mark referred the solicitor/mediator to some of the pupils who were in his class, significant corroborative evidence was found. On 30 October 2006, the solicitor/mediator reported that Mark’s allegations “are justified”. The PSO then wrote to Mark, confirming that Mark’s allegations had been substantiated to the “adequate evidentiary standard”.

The PSO arranged a facilitation meeting with Mark at which the Jesuits offered Mark a “financial gesture”, provided that Mark signed away his rights to seek a more appropriate figure. Mark declined this “gesture” as it was an amount that he considered not to be commensurate with the damage done to his life.

However, eventually Mark and the Jesuits reached agreement about an amount of settlement, and the Jesuits then sent their compensation cheque to Mark.

The key points that jumped out at me were that Byrne died in 1974 and the case was pursued in 2005 and the survivor received compensation in 2006.

That’s encouraging.  There may well be other cases on the Broken Rites site that are historic where the Church has acknowledged its crimes.

Of course the De La Salle Brothers and the structure in Oz are different, but it suggests there are similar ways forward.

From my point of view, I would dearly love to pursue this, but – for now – I have to keep my energies and researches focussed on the congregational and lay aspects of Catholic abuse.

But, if anyone wants to pursue the cases of one or all of these Brothers, or other Catholic abusers,  because you seek acknowledgement, apology or compensation, I’ll happily help in any way I can.

And – of course – all the testimonies on this site are available to you. I can forward any requests you may have of them so their names and details remain strictly confidential.

That said, the evidence against these three criminal Brothers is so vast, I’m not sure it would be necessary.  

I think the De La Salle organisation will already be very  aware of their crimes. Brother Kevin, for instance, seems to have been driven out of his Suffolk village by local youths who knew of his behaviour.

If I was pursuing this myself, my primary objective would be an acknowledgement from the De La Salle Brothers that these three Brothers were abusers and to make a general apology on behalf of the order.

I would write to Broken Rites for advice in case they can steer me away from obvious pitfalls and then write to the DLSB at Oxford. Either quoting all three cases for a collective response. Or a case that affected me personally. namely Brother James

But other survivors will have different objectives and strategies, dependant on their circumstances, and I’m happy to assist them if I can.

What also prompted me to write this post was looking back at the case of Brother James Carragher, who I thought at first was our St Joseph’s Brother James Ryan. Carragher was a similar monster. He’s currently in prison.

Here’s some excerpts from a BBC report.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-humber-37750887

More than 200 men claim they were abused at St William’s residential school in Market Weighton between 1970 and 1991, run by the De La Salle order.

The order has apologised “unreservedly” to those affected by the abuse and for the actions of its former principal.

James Carragher is in jail for sex offences against children at the home.

If the compensation claim succeeds, the eventual payout could run into millions of pounds.

The school, which closed in 1992, provided residential care and education for boys aged 10 to 16 with emotional and behavioural problems.

It was run by the De La Salle brothers on behalf of Middlesbrough Diocese.

The order said it “deeply regrets what happened at St William’s”.

James Carragher, of Cearns Road, Merseyside, who was principal from 1976-1990, is serving his third prison sentence for physically and sexually abusing boys there.

Allegations of abuse continued into the 1980s. The BBC has seen written testimony from a boy at the home describing how Carragher hit him on the head “with his fist”, “dragged” him onto the landing and “kicked” and “pulled” him down the stairs.

Documents show Carragher was subjected to an internal disciplinary hearing following the assault and was given a warning.

According to a letter sent to Humberside County Council in 1992, complaints at the home were deal with by the principal, meaning that for 14 years allegations were dealt with by the man – Carragher – who was carrying out the abuse.

A spokesman for the De La Salle Order said: “We repeat our total condemnation of the serious criminal behaviour of James Carragher, a former member of the De La Salle Brothers, during his time on the staff at St William’s.

“We condemn, without reservation, any action or behaviour which harms young people.

“We deeply regret what happened at St William’s and the harm that was done there through the behaviour of James Carragher. We unreservedly apologise to all who have been affected by his behaviour. Our hearts go out to all victims of abuse and their families.”

A spokesman for the Diocese said: “Abusive behaviour has absolutely no place in the Catholic Church, or anywhere in society, and is against everything we stand for.”

The compensation case is expected to last three weeks at the High Court in Leeds.

The De La Salle order pointedly call him James Carragher, not Brother James as he’s now left the order.

They apologise without reservation for his crimes.

It’s worth repeating the words of the spokesman for the Catholic diocese.

“Abusive behaviour has absolutely no place in the Catholic Church, or anywhere in society, and is against everything we stand for.”

Let’s see if they mean it.