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An Old Boy recently sent in this story which I remembered well at the time because it was just before I started at St J’s. The teacher involved, Kevin Tracey, had previously been at St J’s, a year earlier, and it was all over the newspapers. Everyone was talking about it. My mother said it was the eleven year old boy’s fault leading the ‘silly man’ on! A common attitude then and even now, I’m afraid.
This is the story in summary. It happened in 1959 – 1960.
Kidnapped English boy Tony Stephens is found on the continent, where his abductor – his school art teacher- had kept him for fifteen months. Tony was 11 when he was taken. His father, a milkman in Earl Shilton, Leicestershire, left his job and dedicated his life to finding Tony. After a year and half’s search, he was successful.
Here’s the Old Boy’s recollection of the events:
I was at SJC from 53 to 61. Starting at age 7 1/2 I never saw or heard of any sexual abuse but some of the Bros were a bit fond of the cane. Bros Solomon, Kevin and Michael being the main ones. However they seem to employ some religious bigots the main one being Kevin Tracey, who taught Spanish and geography in 57- 59. He would cut bamboo from behind the 55 block and frequently cane the whole class for not learning well enough. He seemed to pick on Chris Prior the most. He spent large part of any lesson telling us how religious the boys of our age were in Spain. When he left SJC he abducted a boy from his next employment and ran away with him for best part of a year. Look on Google under Kevin Tracey.
Bros Solomon and Kevin were, of course, notorious and proven child abusers.
So I Googled the teacher Kevin Tracey.
I found this on line, by another Old Boy.
I was at St Joseph’s College, Ipswich, where Tracey taught Spanish and Geography in the academic year 1957/58. His contract wasn’t renewed. He was considered a religious fanatic, even at this Catholic school, and tried to start his Crusader group there. He said the organisation was strong in Spain. Tracey was an admirer of General Franco, at that time very much in power in Spain and vigorously persecuting former Republican opponents. I think some of his fellow teachers disapproved of Tracey’s enthusiasm for corporal punishment. Many years later I heard a rumour that he had become a priest. How much credence one can place on this, I can’t say
It’s remarkable to think this man Tracey was too violent and too fanatical for St Joseph’s in the same era as Brother James! I know James tried to set up his own religious cult.
I guess Tracey just didn’t fit in with the other religious bigots or pervert teachers for some reason. Either because he was competing for the same young boys or he was too blatant and therefore a risk to the St Joseph’s Paedophile Ring which undoubtedly existed at this time. See past posts.
The nauseating Pathe News report on the link is worth seeing because it demonstrates how easily Tracey got away with it. Just 18 months for kidnap. We are assured the boy was medically examined and showed no signs of abuse. Well, we don’t need to be graphic to know that means absolutely nothing.
Tracey’s eleven year old victim had been promised he’d be Head Crusader in Spain.
There are many disturbing aspects to the case. The boy had written a letter to Tracey which his father found and realized from the adult content that it wasn’t the ‘pure relationship’ he had been led to believe. So he put a stop to it. That’s why Tracey carried out his abduction plan which was well organized and involved faked passports and an epic train journey to London. It felt to me like this individual had done something like this before.
But what’s particularly nauseating is the way modern day commentators justify and minimize this crime.
Here’s an example:
I believe that Tony must have loved, or at least thought the world of Kevin to do what he did for him, to leave his home and his family and go abroad with him as he did, with no idea if he would ever return.
We should never make the mistake of believing that no child can feel so strongly about something as Tony did. All children are different. Kevin was very wrong to do what he did and had no hope of getting away with it and was eventually sent to prison for it. However, there was no medical evidence at the time that he had sexually abused Tony and, as unlikely as it seems to our modern way of thinking, it’s quite possible that the relationship between the pair was simply loving in a platonic way.
Here’s another one.
From what I’ve read, Kevin simply wanted to set up a Crusader Christian scout movement with Tony as the head Crusader in the hope of spreading the movement throughout the world. An admirable idea that looked fine on the face of it, but that when he tried to make it work, it fell down flat. At 68 years of age, I’ve lived long enough now to know that sometimes, things can look to be one way and turn out to be another way entirely.
As a survivor, I find it disturbing that Tracey’s crimes can be rationalized in this way. The boy was eleven years old FFS!
And these observers really believe it was all innocent, despite the evidence of the father; not to mention Tracey never wrote to the dad saying his son was alive and well.
So when, in the same era, I reported a lay teacher and his female associate (twice) to the cops, you can imagine the police response had a similar Pathe News tone and included the suggestion, roughly as follows, ‘Just keep away from them. Find someone your own age to play with, sonny.’
Good advice but not realistic if the scum have a financial hold over you, through ‘the Church’ paying my school fees (a matter of record).
But what I take away from this is how Tracey’s Scout Crusaders were disturbingly similar to the Squires of the Knights of St Columba. Now defunct. Although the Squires of the Knights of Columbus (complete with oaths of secrecy) still exist today with the inevitable numerous child abuse cases resulting.
Secondly, how there was something clearly unwholesome going on at St Joseph’s in this era when I had the misfortune to be enrolled (in 1960).
And it shows how lay teachers were just as likely to be paedophiles as the more notorious DLS Brothers. In the 1960s that was certainly my experience, and, I gather, subsequently, right through to at least the 1980s, as a search of this site will show.
Whether from me, or from others, there is clearly far more to come about the serious crimes of St Joseph’s College and its associated organisations. SJC ostriches should continue burying their heads.
I found this headline – in 2018 – particularly disturbing.
THE GRAND JURY REPORT ABOUT CATHOLIC PRIEST ABUSE IN PENNSYLVANIA SHOWS THE CHURCH IS A CRIMINAL SYNDICATE.
The Catholic Church Hierarchy systematically covered up the abuse of at least 1,000 kids by 300 priests over 70 years.
The article goes on to say:
Sexual abuse has been institutionalized, routinized and tolerated by the church hierarchy for decades. If you think this statement is hyperbole, consider that the grand jury report includes, but is by no means limited to, the case of a ring of pedophile priests in Pittsburgh, who raped their male victims, took pornographic pictures of them and marked them by giving them gold crosses to wear so that they could be easily recognized by other abusers.
The article is written by Anthea Butler, an Associate Professor of Religious Studies.
There’s more on this story below.
Grand jury report describes a ‘ring of predatory priests’ in Pittsburgh in the 1970s
That “ring of predatory priests” made their own child pornography in church rectories, the grand jury said, and used “whips, violence and sadism in raping their victims.”
They also marked their victims, the grand jury said, by giving their favorite boys gold cross necklaces to wear.
“The grand jury observed that these crosses served another purpose beyond the grooming of the victims: They were a visible designation that these children were victims of sexual abuse,” the report said “They were a signal to other predators that the children had been desensitized to sexual abuse and were optimal targets for further victimization.”
Let me repeat that last sentence.
“They were a signal to other predators that the children had been desensitized to sexual abuse and were optimal targets for further victimization.”
It shows that a Ring is much more than a number of perverts sharing notes and kids.
It involves a lot of planning, sharing intelligence and thought. That’s relevant to my own experience.
And perhaps to others.
For example, making sure the Parents are neutralised or on-side, I’d have thought was crucial to Abusers. In my case, my Mother, a widow with mental health issues, would have been an easy target for them. Over the years a number of promises were made to her. Financial and probably personal. Then, knowing it’s safe, the Abusers can turn on the kid…
The general relevance to Catholic survivors in the UK is that these reports are firm evidence of actual Clerical Paedophile Rings in Oz and the USA.
They are not the usual ‘lone wolf’/’one rotten apple’ which is how Catholic abuse is presented in the UK, unless I’ve missed some reports.
Yes, organised Catholic cover-ups in the UK are well known and reports of several abusers who just happened to be at one school at the same time are well known, but this is very different.
It’s far worse.
These articles are spelling out Catholic crimes that have NEVER been reported in the UK mainstream media to my knowledge.
That Catholic Abusers acted in unison as an organised Ring to abuse children.
As a Survivor, the Oz and USA Rings strike an unpleasant chord with me.
If it happened in Oz and the USA, then it bears out my claim that it happened in the UK, too.
Specifically, I’m a Survivor of a Catholic Paedophile Ring in the 1960s associated with the Catholic Church, notably St Marks RC Church, a school chaplain, teachers at St Joseph’s College and members of the Knights of St Columba, Ipswich.
The Ring’s prime targets, I believe, were Catholic children on Chantry Council Estate, poor kids like myself, rather than boarders at St Joseph’s. But I could well be wrong here – any vulnerable Catholic child could have been a target. I would hardly be in a position to know.
And there seems to have been ‘overlaps’ with other sexual abuse at St J’s, based on past testimonies on this site by other Survivors than myself.
Only the deaths of everyone concerned prevents the Ring being formally investigated.
But that could change if the Ring was shown to be in existence in later years and some Abusers are still alive.
The evidence is accumulating. Some I’ve already posted, which proves the Ring’s existence beyond any reasonable doubt, and there’s more to come.
The key question that is certainly on my mind is… When did this Catholic Paedophile Ring in Ipswich stop?
Or did it stop?
Perhaps it just changed its modus operandi and its personnel in recent years or even in our own times.
I’d prefer to think it stopped in the 1980s, that would be such a relief, but that could be wishful thinking on my part.
As the Oz study shows, these Rings are ALWAYS transgenerational, with younger members taking over.
It’s a primary reason why I can’t let this subject drop.
All of us, I’m sure, want to be sure that it stopped.
The silence from the relevant parties is noted.
I imagine I’m not the only one who finds their silence a matter of concern.
I know it’s caused a lot of people anguish, so if you need to know more, drop me a line. I’ve had to become an expert on the subject – not something I wanted to be, but there was so much propaganda in favour of the completely bogus False Memory Syndrome I had to investigate it and I’ve read every damn thing on the subject, for and against.
There’s a summary below, but let me just add to it that the originating American False Memory society had a leading paedophile on its board. It was formed out of a family feud and is now defunct.
The reason people hold onto False Memory Syndrome is because they have been misled by the British press, almost certainly because journalists have been ordered to lie by their bosses. The American founding FMS organization is now defunct as are others. Only the UK FMS org continues. To understand them, I attended two of their meetings and they are founded by people with money, power and important media connections. The truth has been provably withheld by the press, especially by the Guardian. So none of the proven info in these links below has appeared in the UK press. This is more than a sin of omission. Deliberately deceiving the British public about FMS has had tragic consequences because survivors think they must be insane or evil for their memories. This, of course, suits Catholic Paedophiles very well and it has been used in their defence. The British press should be held responsible for their actions. Anyway, here are the links which prove recovered memory beyond any reasonable doubt.https://blogs.brown.edu/recoveredmemory/case-archive/legal-cases/ And https://www.newswise.com//articles/recovered-memories-true-or-false
The more of us who come forward and highlight the serious crimes that took place at St Joseph’s in the past, the sooner we can all have closure. And then we can celebrate the considerable achievements of the College.
I’m reminded of the famous quote:
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.’
And I’m as guilty of this as anyone. Here’s a recent example:
In our gated community there is an oldish exhibitionist who regularly goes out onto his second floor balcony in the nude. He’s been doing this for the last couple of years.
At first I thought he was a nudist or something, but recently he’s been doing rather more than just standing naked in an area where children could clearly see him.
My initial reactions – when he first began his relatively discreet exhibitionism – are interesting and I’m sure mirror what many of us Old Boys think where abuse at St Js is concerned
‘Someone needs to complain about him. But not me. Someone else will do it. It’s not my problem. Because what if he’s connected to the management of the community. He could make trouble for us.’
Now it’s becoming rather more serious and so it can’t be ignored,
My wife filmed him because – as she said – supposing ‘he’s doing worse elsewhere? There needs to be a record. He has to be reported.’
She’s just reported it, with the film evidence, and I wholeheartedly agree with and support her decision.
Not least because I can hardly ask Survivors to write in here about all the truly evil things that went on at St J’s in the 1960s and which seem to have continued through to the 1980s, at least, if I don’t practice what I preach.
So it’s great to see this new blog from another St Joseph’s College survivor. Bravo!
I hope other Old Boys feel the same way and can help with their recollections of the Abuser referred to or the Abusers from my earlier era.
This problem is not going away and St J’s school governors and administration would do well to deal with it now.
By acknowledging the past, what happened, and assisting where they can.
Despite the changes of management, there will be some records and some relevant recollections that some people connected with St Js today will at least be aware of.
Particularly as, in my case at least, there was a Ring which – academic studies show – is transgenerational.
And which testimonies here have proven existed beyond any reasonable doubt.
So we need to know: when did it stop?
And there needs to be a proper explanation about the role of the Knights of St Columba as previously detailed.
The old religious order excuse of ‘All the records are gone or been destroyed. We know nothing. We know nothing,’ won’t stand up today.
As I’ve said before: Please don’t wait to be fetched before you belatedly acknowledge the past. Your pious words and hand wringing will come across as phoney and be condemned as such.
Just like Brother Laurence’s in a similar situation where he had to be fetched. (See an earlier post)
You may be wondering why am I writing about Savile when this site primarily focuses on the teachers at my school St Joseph’s College, Ipswich, and clerical abusers in Ipswich from the 1960s through to the 1980s.
But regular readers will know that the Ipswich Knights of St Columba were part of the Catholic ring of paedophiles in the 1960s and, quite possibly, later decades. They were also intimately associated with St Joseph’s.
And it seems likely that Savile was a Knight of St Columba. So bear with me while I go over the background here.
If you’re a regular reader you will know there is an independent testimony – see an earlier post – that identifies at least one sexual abuser who was listed as an Ipswich Knight of St Columba. Namely Father Jolly, the school chaplain, who liked to tape record children’s confessions so he could listen to their ‘impure thoughts’.
Plus there’s my own testimony.
In the independent testimony, by another St Joseph’s pupil, he makes it clear he was the subject of a complex cover up, following Brother James’s violent and very serious sexual assault on him. Furthermore there are clear indications in his testimony that there was a sophisticated system by the Knights already in place to deal with problems of this kind. From his testimony it would seem that such assaults had happened before, not just in Ipswich and had been covered up.
There’s also a private testimony sent to me by a St Joseph’s Old Boy which explains in great detail how the Knights were operators behind the scenes, the good that they did, just how much power they still have, and he warns me not to ‘piss them off too much or they could bring me much pain.’
I don’t think it can be any worse than the considerable pain they brought me as a child so bring it on, Knights.
I also related in an earlier post how one Knight of St Columba in Colchester had, just a few years ago, used his position to abuse children and received a very stiff prison sentence. Yet it was barely mentioned in the local press and never made the national media!
So that’s the relevance to Savile, because you can see, officiating at his funeral in Leeds and surrounding the pall bearers, are what appears to be members of the Knights of St Columba.
I say ‘appears’ to be, because there is no official confirmation from the Knights that they are the individuals with the Masonic badges around their necks. Furthermore, there appears to be a media black-out on the subject, which begs the question:
After all, no one cares that the marines who carried Savile’s coffin once held him in high regard. It’s reasonable to assume that they were duped just like everyone else.
Savile was, of course, a devoted Catholic and papal knight and it’s also reasonable to assume that, with such a large turn-out of Knights of St Columba officiating at his funeral, he himself was a member.
I know some researchers have explored the possibility that Savile was also a ritual abuser. This is usually reported as ‘wild Satanic rituals’ and I personally have no point of view on it, either way. But, with Savile, anything is possible.
However, the Knights of St Columba, in my era, definitely had secret rituals which are detailed, colourful, Masonic and even a matter of record on Wikipedia. The Ipswich Knights rituals at which I was present were not wild, they were not Satanic and, in fact, these gentlemen, so full of their own smug self-worth – solicitors, teachers, barristers, surveyors, merchants etc, the cream of 1960s Ipswich society, pillars of the establishment, ended up singing the National Anthem. It’s why I dislike the Anthem even to this day because it presses old buttons.
More about the Ipswich Knights later, but first – back to Savile.
The photos raises the question: were his associates also Knights? I’m thinking of devout Catholic and ice cream parlour king, Peter Jaconelli, and games arcade boss, Jimmy Corrigan. The Knights of St Columba, traditionally, recruited their members from Catholic businessmen.
According to the North Yorks Enquirer, a source I’ve always found to be authoritative:
Like SAVILE and JACONELLI, (Cardinal) HUME was a Freemason, of high degree, and with infinite loyalty to fellow brothers.
It is now conceded that Jaconelli was a child-abuser and a serial rapist and that he offended openly in Scarborough in joint enterprise with Jimmy Savile.
This particular offence was dealt with by the DPP in 1972, the same year that Savile trafficked patients from Rampton Secure Psychiatric Hospital to Scarborough to meet Mayor Peter Jaconelli and Jimmy Corrigan – another Scarborough character who is known to have enjoyed group sessions with Savile – where they were given money and moved into one of Jaconelli’s ice-cream parlours from which all members of the public had been excluded.
I understand it’s possible to be a Freemason and a Catholic Knight.
When I first started researching for validation of my memories that confused me for a while. Because there was an overlap between the Ipswich Masons and the Ipswich Knights. They shared resources, facilities (sport and social clubs) and victims. At first I thought I must be imagining it, but further time consuming research confirmed it. More on that another time.
Meanwhile, do note – Cardinal Hume, Britain’s one time top Catholic was a Freemason.
As I’ve related previously, the Knights and the Masons rituals are/were remarkably similar, no matter how far the Knights try to play that down these days.
The facts speak otherwise – and not just the Knights of St Columba, but also the Knights of St Columbanus (Ireland) and Columbus (USA).
I have acres of research on all these gentlemen which bears this out.
Indeed several commentators and the source of one of the photo links thinks the individuals officiating at Savile’s funeral are Freemasons. I’m pretty certain they’re Knights. I base this assumption on looking at photos of the Leeds KOSC who have the same yellow and cream insignia.
People involved with Savile fall roughly into four camps:
1.Organisations where children and vulnerable people were at risk. Savile’s links to such organisations– we are assured – have been thoroughly investigated. E.G.The BBC. And that would seem like the right thing to do.
Although the new mainstream media reporters revealing the truth on youtube etc (not the prehistoric, censored, mainstream media of yestercentury) might disagree about the BBC. I’m thinking of the brilliant and courageous journalism of reporters like Anna Brees, for instance.
2. Links to irrelevant organisations were – rightly – not investigated. E.G.The marines carrying his coffin. As I’ve said, it’s hardly their fault they got suckered by this creep.
3. Links to Mrs Thatcher, the Royal Family and other important people in government and the establishment in the UK and abroad who Savile was closely connected with.
Cardinal Keith O’Brien, ‘Britain’s top cleric’ , for example. Here’s a photo of him with Savile. The Cardinal resigned ‘amid accusations of inappropriate acts towards his fellow priests.’
Although these individuals have been mentioned and discussed on various sites, they’re mainly ‘off limits’. Certainly there is no investigation of their connection with Savile, even though this is a matter of legitimate public concern. After all, why on Earth did Mrs Thatcher and Prince Charles spend so much time with someone like Savile?
Other researchers have asked these questions and I doubt they’ll ever get the truth although we can all guess. Especially in the post-Epstein era.
But there’s a fourth category that I would say is even more ‘off limits’ than the Royals.
4. The Knights of St Columba.
They seem to be in a unique class of their own.
You won’t find any reference to the Knights and Savile anywhere on the web.
These photos at his funeral are not commented on anywhere.
You won’t find anything negative about the Knights anywhere (apart from one newspaper account of a possible financial fraud case that’s quite old now).
Except on my site.
Which is why you may want to download this post just in case it mysteriously disappears.
Someone has very methodically cleaned the web of anything negative about the KOSC or ensured it was never posted in the first place. That Colchester case about a Knight of St Columba I mentioned, for instance.
But the Knights are involved with children and vulnerable people and, I understand, do lots of charitable work to this day. Just as they did in my era. Given that papal knight Savile was an indefatigable charity worker, it would be reasonable to assume that he must have helped his local Knights of St Columba at some stage in his career.
Why not acknowledge the fact? It’s unfortunate, but hardly damning. Why be so secretive about the connection? If the whole country was fooled by Savile, why would the Knights be any exception? No one would hold it against them.
I certainly wouldn’t, despite what the KOSC Ipswich did to me and other children as a kid. I’ll happily tell myself that was a long time ago and they’ve cleaned up their act and, anyway, it was just the local province.
There’s a kind of damage limitation exercise I use to try and put it out of my mind. It goes something like this: ‘It was awful, but it was all a long time ago and St Joseph’s and the Knights must have changed their ways since. And probably the Knights have nothing more to do with the College now. Children are no longer at risk, so does it matter? Why not let it go?’
But I can’t. Damn it.
Because such strange secrecy is a cause for concern today.
And because I know what an earlier generation of Knights of St Columba did to me and to other children.
So I’ll describe some of it just now. I’ll keep it brief because this is already a long blog and I don’t want to get too graphic.
The Ipswich Knights – in the 1960s anyway – went after the poor and the vulnerable. We were prey. So my mother was a widow with mental health issues and poor as a church mouse and yet – miraculously – she paid for my brother and I to go to St Joseph’s when neither of us passed the eleven plus. How? As my mother’s sister told me in recent years, very carefully, aware that she needed to keep the lid on it, ‘the Church would help’. E.G. The Knights. But why? And there’s more which bears it out. Some of which I’ve related before.
But there’s no such thing as a free lunch and my school fees had to be paid one way or another. That’s certainly how my mother put it to me.
So was I the only victim? Of course not. It’s an elaborate system they must have used on several occasions, at least. At our church, and also living on the council estate was a Polish Catholic widow whose daughter was the same age as me, twelve. She was a pupil at the Convent of Jesus and Mary in Woodbridge Rd, Ipswich. I think she had passed her eleven-plus.
I’ve no idea what they promised the mother or daughter. If you’re poor, and they certainly were, it’s not hard to find a way. And when those cowardly Knights of St Columba are dealing with widows, and there’s no man to rightly knock the shit out of them, you can see just how it worked.
I remember there was some preliminary meeting between the two widows with suitable euphemisms and cover-stories employed. It was also designed as an opportunity for us twelve-years old to be ‘introduced’. It’s sick, but there it is.
That’s what real poverty can do, when there are predators waiting to pounce.
And the Knights had a woman involved – a wife of one of the top Knights. A very important legal eagle. So she acted as a facilitator and fake chaperone to provide some phoney reassurance, although I think everyone knew what was really going on. If you’re a Catholic, it’s all okay as long as you don’t actually spell it all out.
Basically this woman must have been a 1960s version of Ghislaine Maxwell. I think I mentioned her before in an earlier post. I’ve looked at her background – she was a refugee from Nazi Vienna in the 1930s, roughly the same decadent era as the original novel for Eyes Wide Shut, which was clearly based on real-life. That’s supposition, of course, but comments in her obituary about her eccentric character bear out my own recollections of her.
So we’re both around 12, it’s 1961, and we’re taken to this big, very old, detached house, right on the edge of Chantry council estate. It had recently changed its original business purpose as the firm had moved elsewhere in Ipswich. It may even have been half empty at that time. And I assume the Knights rented part of it out for the night. With their business connections that would be easy.
Father Jolly drove me there because I had a habit of getting the hell out when it was time to ‘pay my school fees’. And cycling off and hiding until it was safe to return.
I called it the Gingerbread House partly because it had Dutch gables. I’ve just googled Gingerbread Houses and several of the bigger ones look absolutely identical to it. So if you’re an Ipswich local from my era, and you can be bothered, you can probably figure out where it is. But I also called it the Gingerbread House because I saw the two of us as Innocents, Hansel and Gretel, Babes in the Wood. And that wife of the Knight as the Wicked Abusive Witch. Drawing on that archetypal fairy story helped me to come through the odious experience.
I have a partial memory block on what exactly happened inside. I recall enough to understand and that’s it. And thank God. I don’t really want to remember the details and I don’t think it’s appropriate to write about them anyway. It was the kind of thing these pervert Catholic Knights got off on. It almost certainly had a pseudo-religious ritual element which I’d really rather not dwell on, and that’s all we need to know.
I wish I could say it was a one-off, but I fear it was not. I believe I stopped it after a second visit, but that may or may not be wish fulfilment on my part, because I just wanted the whole damn thing to stop.
Afterwards, Father Jolly drove me just part of the way home and left me to walk the rest. He wanted to get home and I’d served my purpose.
But my strongest memory is the following Sunday. I was an altar boy at St Marks – the Catholic church on Chantry Estate. As I’ve mentioned before, all the middle class Catholics (with the exception of one wealthy family) congregated at the back of the Church. Some of them were Knights. One of them was a teacher at St Joseph’s. There was a definite ‘them and us’, a very noticeable apartheid system, they pointedly kept their distance from the poor on whom some of them, at least, were preying. It was clearly a case of droit de seigneur and I felt that strongly at the time.
In recent times Epstein behaved in a similar way, preying on the poor, and I’m sure there are many others. .
Anyway, I recall checking out the congregation as Father Jolly gave his sermon. I looked at the convent girl and I just couldn’t stop staring at her. Anyone who knows me today will know I’m lousy at hiding how I feel. My face is a total give away – I’d make a lousy conman – and I imagine I was even worse when I was 12 years old.
God knows what the congregation made of it; doubtless they found a way to dismiss it as ‘that wretched gingerheaded altar boy is ogling that poor girl.’
But I can assure you there was nothing dubious about the look I gave her. It was a look of absolute shock. I can still feel it right now as I relive that moment.
It was saying ‘What the hell happened to us?’ Or maybe ‘What did they do to us?’
I can’t be precise. Only the shock is there.
I have shed copious tears every time I focus on that moment. It’s why I have to write this blog post.
After a while, as the sermon ended and she put her hands together in prayer, she very discreetly touched the side of her nose with one finger in the classic ‘don’t be nosey’ gesture.
But it meant rather more to me.
It meant: ‘Let it go’.
And I did.
For a lifetime.
But now it’s time the light of truth was shone on these filth.
And if today’s Ipswich Knights of St Columba think it’s nothing to do with them, because, hey, lucky for them, there’s no records and no proof, and yadda, yadda, yadda – the usual defensive crap, as recommended by their ungodly, money-orientated insurers – and remain, as always, silent on the subject – not to mention today’s St Joseph’s regime –well…
HEAD OF THE DE LA SALLE BROTHERS IN THE UK AND IRELAND
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.
‘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.’
‘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 email@example.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.
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…
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”