YET ANOTHER ST JOSEPH’S TEACHER…

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 full story is here

https://theneedleblog.wordpress.com/2015/02/12/kidnapped-english-boy-found-abroad-1960/

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.

BROTHER KEVIN REVISITED

If you’re not familiar with the Brother Kevin case, he was outed on this site by numerous Old Boys in the last five years or more as an Abuser. It then transpired that he had been driven out of his village by local youths because he was seen there as an Abuser.

He is now suffering from dementia and is ending or has ended his days in a home in Ipswich.

All this has some relevance to my interest in Kearney, my old chemistry teacher.

First, let me show you some relevant comments about Kevin that I think are extremely important, otherwise I wouldn’t be publishing and republishing them.

ONE. I received this comment this morning from an Old Boy. Many thanks! I don’t think it requires any further comment from me.

There was a creepy old woman by the name of Ashton, with an even creepier character. Why she was employed as a school matron, I have no idea. It was always such an arduous chore if any of the kids got ill. She would often join Kevin in the boys shower block and strangely watch us all having a shower. Did she know what Kevin was up to after lights out, I couldn’t honestly say, but she certainly wasn’t playing with a full deck I was abused at the hands of Kevin and believe it is not possible to leave it in the past and forget. I went on to have a very long and successful career in the Royal Marines, and seen many horrors in the world. Discussing my abuse helps me as a survivor, deal with it and ‘move on’. It is certainly something one can never forget

TWO. This comment came from a lady back in 2017, presumably before Brother Kevin was forced to leave his village.

I’ve checked her email address and Angela is indeed Angela Ashton.

 Angela commented on IN THE LA SALLIAN TRADITION 3 I wanted to write a new post in response to further comments on my About page from St Joseph’s old boys Nick and NW1 – … Another pupil of Br. Kevin contacted me about your comments. We were both appalled to read them. I was in charge of the boarding in the 80’s at Oakhill with Kevin and am in touch with people of that time. My son had been a boarder before my time. The boarders were a very happy bunch on the whole and Kevin very popular and we can honestly say completely trusted . I saw him constantly with the boys and everyone was completely relaxed round him. We are absolutely convinced nothing of the above mentioned went on. As my son and his friends and other pupils say, Kevin was the very last brother they would suspect. At the end of the holidays the boys from unhappy homes would run up to him as they were so thrilled to be back to what they felt was safety and it was. The years I had there with the boarding were very happy. I stayed some nights if anyone was unhappy and if I wasn’t there Kevin was there for them and if I’d suspected anything with having 3 boys myself I’d have gone straight to the top. My son tells me he was homesick the first night of the term and would go to Kevin’s room but then gave that up as the other boarding master had better comics! Kevin didn’t know me then. He came out of the Order and settled locally and is a very popular figure in the community. My twin grandchildren would call on him after school, other children in the street would run up to him. Nobody had any worries.when he left Oakhill, before me, he had the largest number of presents and letters I’ve seen. When the police questioned him many of his old boys wrote to the police to support him as they were horrified and some are still in touch with him and visit him, some from way back.The solicitor you refer to was not organised by Kevin but by friends. I don’t know who. The school dentist visited the school professionally and socially and knew Kevin as well or better than me and he still talks about the happy place. I know these phaedophiles can hide their ways and are clever but none of us believe Kevin is one and I can’t obviously comment on the past but it is all so far from the Kevin we all know. Surely if you are a paedophile you just don’t stop? 
  
  

THREE. At the time, I wrote back to Angela in some detail and pointed out:

It’s often hard for survivors to come forward and share what happened because they feel they won’t be believed. Sometimes we doubt our own memories because they don’t square with the public persona that abusers have. And all too often they are supported by respectable members of the community or by other boys who weren’t assaulted.

But we only have to look elsewhere in the media to see how that can be quite fake.

I don’t pretend to be an expert, but as a survivor of another DLS abuser, Brother James, and clerical abusers, I can certainly say abusers are very good at covering their tracks or ensuring their victims remain silent. And  the reaction of others is invariably disbelief until enough people come forward and confirm it happened to them, too.

I’d have thought three survivors accounts, independent of each other, was sufficient to make the case and for this matter to be taken seriously

                           ……………………

Angela didn’t reply to me.

Regarding Angela’s agenda, in the light of the first comment, once again I don’t think it requires any further comment from me.

We can all draw our own conclusions.

But I think both needed highlighting and are extremely relevant to us Survivors today.

They show just what we are all up against.

I personally need to understand how easily Abuse can be covered up and I think it is shown very clearly here.

The whole matter of Brother Kevin is now proved and closed because of his dementia. It’s a great pity because I know NW1, several Old Boys like the first commentator above, and another survivor in LA rightly wanted justice for Kevin’s crimes against them.

They should have had their day in court and I’m sorry they didn’t.

(Needless to say, everyone’s email above remains private and confidential and I won’t pass on to anyone.)

                                    …………………..

The personal relevance for me is that a similar process may now be taking place where Kearney is concerned.

A while back, one lady wrote to me and asked where my research and evidence was going regarding Kearney.

Now another lady, an Old Girl of St J’s, has asked me the same thing and  seems to want to know more, too.

Both women said how Kearney was ‘strict but fair’ and a good guy, which is not my experience of him.

Or indeed the experience of many Old Boys, one of whom said he was ‘terrified’ of him.

Clearly Angela above had her own personal agenda in defending Brother Kevin.

This has made me wonder whether the two women wanting to know about my research into Kearney have their own personal agenda – e.g. are they connected with Kearney or his family in some way.

As I’ve explained to them both, I’m happy to be as transparent as I possibly can.

Revealing the Truth is the full extent of my own personal agenda.

Until then, I can’t, as the Old Girl suggested: ‘Get on with my life’.

The Truth has to come out first, I’m afraid.

But if they have any questions I’ll happily enter into a dialogue with them and tell them something of my truly grim experiences of Kearney privately.

Do ask away, ladies. I promise you I will treat your questions with respect. And, if you knew Kearney well, perhaps you can answer some of my questions.

There may well be details I’ve got wrong that you could correct.

I’m genuinely sorry if it’s unpleasant and upsetting for you, but I’m sure we all, ultimately, want the same thing: the Truth.

Not a cover-up.

And do please consider – why would I waste my time laboriously writing about Kearney for these past few months and more unless it was true?  

What other possible motive could I have after all these decades?

So here’s where I’m currently at:

I have a very comprehensive account of my experiences at the hands of Kearney.  And I think I’ve got the whole thing down on paper now, although there may be one or two details I’ve missed or I may have the exact order of events wrong.

Some of it is quite shocking.

That’s why I’m waiting for someone else to reveal other aspects of Kearney, apart from his extreme violence (punching a 13 year old in the face), and his racism, both of which are now a matter of record.

I’m trying hard not to be too mysterious here. So here’s the kind of thing I’m looking for – his possible use of chemicals outside the lab, for instance.

Because I don’t think it’s right to put up such a shocking account without some independent corroboration of at least some elements of my story.

My word is not enough, I feel. Look at the Cardinal Pell case and how he got off on appeal because it was just one person’s word for what Pell had done.

It’s why I waited years in the case of Brother James and the Knights of Columba and what they did to me until others had ‘spilled the beans’ first.  Then- and only then – did I tell my story.

For those Survivors’ courage in coming forward, I thank them from the bottom of my heart.

Based on these previous testimonies, it could take a few months, even a year, before an Old Boy comes forward with his recollections of Kearney. Meanwhile, there are other avenues I’m also pursuing regarding my old chemistry teacher.

It all takes time, so do be patient, ladies.

CATHOLIC PAEDOPHILE RING IN IPSWICH

This study in Australia shows how Catholic Paedophile Rings worked in Oz.

https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/study-identifies-16-child-sex-abuse-rings-in-victorian-catholic-church-20200215-p54158.html

It describes 16 Catholic child sex abuse Rings.

Here is an account of a similar Catholic child sex abuse Ring in the USA.

https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/grand-jury-report-about-catholic-priest-abuse-pennsylvania-shows-church-ncna900906

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

Included among 99 abusive Pittsburgh diocese priests identified in the grand jury report was a ring of them, operating in the 1970s and 1980s, who shared intelligence about their victims and sometimes even shared the victims themselves.

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.

RECOVERED MEMORIES

The issue of False and Recovered memories came up on another St Joseph’s Survivor’s site. https://birkfieldstory.blogspot.com/2020/07/beginning.html?m=1

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 

ANOTHER ST JOSEPH’S COLLEGE SURVIVOR’S WEBSITE

So pleased to see this site go up!

https://birkfieldstory.blogspot.com/2020/07/my-story-here-we-go-then.html?m=1

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)

Do the right thing.

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 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.  

BROTHER KEVIN: THE END?

I thought this information was so important, it warranted a separate post. Because I know of so many Old Boys who were still looking for him and might miss this information otherwise.

It’s always sad to read of someone’s decline, but I do know that Kevin was physically and sexually abusive and could have scarred many Survivors in other, perhaps equally devastating ways. Certainly two Survivors I’ve been in close communication with were very angry about him.

It’s interesting that the DLS etc distanced themselves from him. I guess he was no member of a Dark Network, although he was called in by the Knights of St Columba at St Mary’s Catholic Youth Club, near Woodbridge Rd., when I was seen snogging a girl, after being lined up for the priesthood. It was a big deal, I kid you not. I remember him crossing town and turning up at the Youth Club especially to discuss the shocking truth about what I may or may not have done with the girl.  So perhaps I’m wrong and he was once part of a Network.

Whereas when I read of Brother James’s decline and death, it seems he was being looked after by his fellow DLS brothers. They nurtured this evil viper to the end of his days.  A man they described as timid and shy in their Eulogy.

I think you summed up it very well, Conor . Thank you.

 Conor Pagett commented on ST JOSEPH’S COLLEGE AND BROTHER KEVIN – AGAIN! This is another account of abuse at St Joseph’s sent to me by someone who would prefer to remain anonymous so that the … Hi again Zach! Bro Kevin (or just plain Kevin Dillon) was suffering in an advanced state of dementia in an Ipswich nursing home the last time I heard of him (2017). There was video on the nursing home website of him singing (trying) Christmas carols but the shell of a human being was hard to recognise as the Bro Kevin of our youth. He was a broken man before the dementia set in. Over the last 20 years he lost everything. When the first rumours about allegations of perversion reached the village in Suffolk in which he lived it brought with it abuse and intimidation from the local youths. His house was attacked and windows broken occasionally and after a couple of years he was compelled to sell up and move to Ipswich. The DLS and other powers-that-be distanced themselves from him and this pushed him over the edge. He may be dead now but if he is still alive the natural course of Kevins’ dementia will have inflicted all the suffering which some might think he merits. I remember Bro Kevins favourite instrument of discipline in 1986 was a flexible leather case for a steel ruler. He was decent enough to take the steel ruler out of it before he beat us though.