Call for inquiry into former De La Salle school

An article in the Tablet 17th September with the headline as above. Here’s the link:

https://www.thetablet.co.uk/news/14518/call-for-inquiry-into-former-de-la-salle-school-

Good to see the story of St Joseph’s featured in a publication read by the Catholic community. And it’s encouraging to know that the Tablet was interested.

A few details I should comment on. I was the developer of Dredd, rather than its creator.  Brother Solomon – ‘The Swinging Monk’ – actually had a pop career as a pianist, not as a singer AFAIK.

And Brother Laurence Hughes is in his 70s.

The 90 year old referred to is another individual

IS IT STILL GOING ON?

In February 2017, Ipswich MP Ben Gummer wrote to a constituent concerning abuse in the town.

His comments included this: ‘I am aware that, according to a report in October last year, Ipswich has the unfortunate accolade as being the town with the largest number of sex offenders per resident, a total of 361, living in it…’

This is also born out by the Mirror https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/towns-uk-highest-levels-sex-9137993

Ipswich, Hull and Grimsby have the highest rates of sex offenders living in the area, as numbers in England and Wales continue to rise.

There are 361 registered sex offenders in Ipswich, a rate of 308.8 per 100,000 people aged 10 and over.

The information was only brought to my attention yesterday, but it came as absolutely no surprise to me.

Ipswich was, and seemingly still is, an infamous town where children are more at risk than elsewhere.

My recollections of Ipswich in the 1960s are that it was an absolute hive of secular and non-secular abuse.  I believe there was often an important overlap between the two which is also worthy of comment.

I’m sure proven De La Salle sexual abusers – like Brothers James, Solomon, and Kevin – didn’t care whether their young victims were Catholic or Protestant or Atheist. Whoever was the most vulnerable, available and would keep silent. It just happened to be Catholic children.

Although some predators normally hunt and eat zebras, and that’s their modus operandi, I’m sure they’re not averse to antelopes, too. It’s all just meat to them.

I mention this because it took me a while to realize, as I recalled my childhood experiences from fourteen to sixteen years old, that such Catholic and non-Catholic predators mixed freely and socially at parties with each other. Sharing their common interest in prey. Perhaps naively, I had previously thought that abuse was divided along strictly sectarian lines, just like everything else with religion.

This is why important Catholic laity, Catholic professionals, and Catholic lay teachers from that era are of particular interest to me. The De La Salles may have had their boarder victims already easily available ‘on tap’, and has no need to go hunting, but St Joseph’s lay teacher abusers – and there were some from that era  who I’m not going to name today –  had to look elsewhere for their prey.

In Ipswich.

The worst town in the whole of Britain for the sexual abuse of children.

Defining what this means in practise gets me into the territory of the Catholic laity and the Ipswich Knights of St Columba, already clearly identified as covering up abuse in my ‘The Shocking Truth’ post.

Consequently, I’ve asked Catholic Safeguarding to look into both organizations both on a local and a national level.

But the confirmation that my hometown is still the darkest town for abuse in Britain set me thinking about further implications.

Like most of us, I’ve always thought – perhaps with justification – that Catholic abuse, at least, died down around the millennium and there were significantly less Catholic abuse crimes afterwards. Statistically that’s probably true. But equally, children often keep traumatic experiences to themselves, block them out (as I did) and only acknowledge or recall them in mid-life (as I did). So it’s possible that ten years from now there could be a series of allegations that could change our perception. After all, we’re told that abuse is actually on the increase, presumably thanks to the internet.

But not where Catholic abusers are concerned? Really? Does that increase apply only to secular abusers now? Have the Catholic organizations really cleaned up their act? When and why did that happen? Especially given the intergenerational factor in organized abuse, provably passed on to the next generation. That’s another question I’ve asked Safeguarding.

We can’t simply take the word of the De La Salles that they’re the ‘good guys’ now. They forfeited that right with their crimes. That’s for others to judge now, not for them.  And don’t tell me about all the supposed good they and the Knights of St Columba do today. All the wonderful work for the poor, for charity etc. So did Jimmy Savile whom the Knights admired so much that they officiated at his funeral.

It’s children at risk today that rightly take priority over ‘historic’ crimes. I fear they may still be at risk today from Catholic organisations. The precise reasons why I fear this I have also brought to Safeguarding’s attention and will elaborate on it further with them.

I would assume, rightly or wrongly, that the usual targets today are not schools and boarding schools anymore (because of the terrible publicity about them) but children abused via the internet, family victims, runaways, children bred for purpose, trafficking, institutional victims and organizational victims.

As the Catholic Church plays a key role in the last two categories that concerns me.  

Personally, I’m bemused if parents who are aware of this blog and similar sources should want anything to do with them anymore. Why take a risk with your children? Whatever happened in the past doesn’t just go away with an unemotional, meaningless apology like Cardinal Nichols https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3rgeY8ZWTc.

To me, the De La Salles and other religious organizations with a history of sexual and physical abuse have to carry the shameful cross of their crimes for a long, long time to come

STATEMENT FROM THE CATHOLIC SAFEGUARDING STANDARDS AGENCY

I’ve received the statement below from Catholic Safeguarding which I see as a positive and encouraging step forward.

“The information contained within some posts is deeply troubling.  We urge all victims and survivors of Catholic Church related abuse to come forward so that we can offer support and ensure that individuals accused of abuse can be referred to the statutory authorities for investigation.  We will take all necessary steps to ensure that those coming forward are listened to and supported, and that regardless of action by statutory authorities, risks posed by people who currently have roles within the Church are addressed. 

Please contact me at the Catholic Safeguarding Standards Agency (CSSA) via Colette.limbrick@catholicsafeguarding.org.uk or refer directly to the Police so that the appropriate action can be taken”.

Colette Limbrick, CEO, Catholic Safeguarding Standards Agency (CSSA)

ST JOSEPH’S COLLEGE, IPSWICH – LATEST MEDIA NEWS

https://www.eadt.co.uk/news/education/ipswich-judge-dredd-author-on-st-josephs-college-8314362

Excellent report by the East Anglian Daily Times. I’m really pleased it’s out there because it raises awareness about the De La Salle connection, especially locally.

Finally the modern day St Jo’s have commented:

Current school bosses say they “acknowledge the gravity of the questions being raised” adding that at the college, they are “absolutely committed to the safeguarding and wellbeing of every student in our care”. 

“As a community, we have the greatest sympathy for anyone who has been a victim of abuse, wherever and whenever it has occurred,” a spokeswoman said. 

College chiefs said that due to a change of ownership in 1996, and with active police investigations ongoing into the historical claims, they are unable to comment further. 

They said the allegations relate to a period of time “prior to the current college structure”. 

It’s as I predicted.  What I take away from their response is ‘This is nothing to do with us.’ 

So why still associate yourself with a disgraced religious order which has had a disproportionate number of serious sexual and physical abusers in its ranks?

For examplehttps://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/monk-had-streak-of-evil-through-him-5qb5wc2kz

A religious brother accused of abusing a child by attaching wires to his genitals and connecting them to a battery had “a streak of evil” running through him, a court has been told.

Brother Benedict, a member of the De La Salle order, is accused of using indecent behaviour towards a former pupil at St Ninian’s List D School at the Gartmore Estate, Stirlingshire, between 1966 and 1968.

The former pupil, now aged 66, told the High Court in Edinburgh that it made him feel numb but Brother Benedict “just sat laughing, enjoying himself”. He said he did not tell anyone about the abuse at the time.

This case above is CURRENTLY before the courts. The chances of this happening in a state school are very remote. Yet acts of sexual violence against children were commonplace in the DLS schools.  Way, way above any kind of  ‘national average’.

In short, the UK De La Salles uniquely attracted a disproportionate number of violent, evil sexual abusers nationwide, including at St Joseph’s College, Ipswich: Brother Solomon, Brother James and more.  ‘Why?’ is a question that I want an answer to. It doesn’t just happen by coincidence. There is some grapevine, some organisation, some ring that made it possible. And WHEN did it stop?

Turning to the modern St Jo’s, my guess is they HAVE to say ‘In the La Sallian Tradition’ because they are still financially connected to the DLS in some way. That it was part of some deal they made that seemed beneficial to them at the time. Certainly they are still listed as an official La Sallian school and that means SOMETHING. It would take a financial detective/accountant to unravel because it will be concealed in ways above my pay grade to understand. But that’s my gut feeling.

The DLS connection is no longer good publicity for the school and it’s going to get worse. So if I was a Suit, I’d have dumped the ‘La Sallian Tradition’ by now, so I really think they must be stuck with it.

Or it could be that the Suits –school governors, lawyers and insurers – are not up to speed yet on just how serious this matter is. Or there is some personal  connection or misguided loyalty between the governors and the DLS that over-rides their common sense.  So they still want to talk about the school’s La Sallian achievements of the past, but not the school’s La Sallian crimes except in the most remote, cold and guarded manner as above which – as a survivor – I really don’t care for. I imagine other survivors feel the same way.  

You’d imagine a Suit would factor in negative publicity and make a decision for the good of the school to acknowledge and disengage from its criminal past.  They surely know they cannot be held financially responsible for the past, so there’s no downside to cutting the connection whilst responding to survivors who shared a common heritage.

We would all be impressed by a new policy of genuine Christianity, genuine compassion for others, and genuine separation from the DLS.

The alternative is to be shamed alongside the De La Salles as the truth continues to come out.  

Perhaps it’s on their agenda to consider. I hope so.

FOUNDED ON FEAR

Peter Mulholland’s post BELOW about the tragic story of Peter Tyrrell who was a victim of the Christian Brothers who I know are different to the De La Salles, but have much in common.

I witnessed extreme violence at St Joseph’s, Ipswich, and also at my primary school St Mary’s, Ipswich, where an eleven year old boy was caned across the face by a lay teacher, Mr Crowley (the deputy headmaster).

I’m hoping Peter Mulholland’s book (Love’s Betrayal) may shed some light on why Catholic teachers were so vile. It predates the war, so it’s not PTSD. Is it sexual repression? Their frustration with a religion that represses natural feelings? Ancestral karma (epigenetics) or the legacy of harsh colonialism? A belief in a vengeful Old Testament God?

Or do these orders like the De La Salles and the Christian Brothers attract a disproportionate number of perverts and sadists and always have. The powerless who want to feel powerful at children’s expense.

That’s my own theory and – in my view – they should be disbanded as organizations with a strong criminal past and possible present, with some modern evidence to bear this out. (An academic study of transgenerational abuse)

I know everyone remembers some great Brothers who are above suspicion. Me, too. The one or two good apples on the whole rotten tree. But their legacy is too dark, too evil, their current silence and obfuscation too strong, their international activities too confirming, to take a chance when children’s lives are at stake. Better not to let them near children anymore.

Anyway, here’s Peter Mulholland:

  Senator Sheehy Skeffington’s thinking was now being informed by letters from Peter Tyrrell, an ex-inmate of a Christian Brother industrial school near Letterfrack.   Tyrrell wrote to Skeffington on 22 July 1958, telling the Senator that he had been detained in Letterfrack from 1924 to 1932, because of family poverty, and that he had ‘witnessed and suffered torture and severe beatings’ at the hands of the Christian Brothers who ran that institution.     He said the beatings were ‘not for committing any offence against the school rules, but were normal routine’. Skeffington urged Tyrrell to write a detailed account of his time in the industrial school and that account was published posthumously four decades after Tyrrell’s burned body was found on London’s Hampstead Heath. He is believed to have committed suicide by setting himself on fire.   In a piece that the editor of Tyrrell’s manuscript, Diarmuid Whelan, used as a foreword to the book, Tyrrell said he had started writing to the Christian Brothers in 1953 and then to government Ministers and Church authorities but had not received a single reply to letters describing the ‘criminal brutality, which in many cases reaches a degree of torture’.   Describing education and training in Catholic schools as being ‘founded on fear, the fear of corporal punishment, and the fear of hell’, he warned ‘society against the child who has been hurt’ (Whelan 2006: xxix, xxxv, 1, 172–4). https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=3ik9ffv6dZ4C

ST JOSEPH’S – SUNDAY TIMES ARTICLE

Article about De La Salle Brothers, St Jo’s etc, in today’s Sunday Times.

https://tinyurl.com/46f92hab

I had to subscribe to read it, so if you don’t want to, below is the text only version of the article.

It all seems pretty accurate apart from Dredd. As I endlessly say, I was the developer of Judge Dredd, not the creator. I think the distinction is often lost on journalists. Otherwise it’s fine.

I haven’t included the readers’ responses which are a predictable mix of agreeing with the article, or defending the Church.

ARTICLE:

Abusive monks were my model for Judge Dredd

The creator of the violent comic-book lawman drew dark inspiration from his Catholic upbringing. Now he too is seeking justice

For more than 40 years a rampaging, ultra-violent lawman called Judge Dredd has stalked the pages of British comics, as well as featuring in films, novels and video games. A television series is even in the pipeline.
Yet behind the blood-spattered fiction of a ruthless enforcer lies a very different story: that of a vulnerable schoolboy who has never forgotten the abuse he says he suffered at the hands of the Roman Catholic monks who ran his school.
The man whose childhood misery inspired him to create the Judge Dredd character is now fighting for a public reckoning of his own.
As a boy, Pat Mills, a writer and publisher often described as the “godfather of British comics”, attended St Joseph’s, a private school in Ipswich that at the time was run by monks from the De La Salle order.
“Judge Dredd causes fear and terror, and those were the feelings we had around the De La Salle brothers,” Mills, 72, said last week. “Dredd was a composite bogeyman of all my recollections of fear of my teachers.”
Mills has spent years accumulating evidence from fellow former pupils who claim to have suffered sexual or physical abuse at St Joseph’s. A group of old boys is now calling for an inquiry into the way the school was run and the manner in which children were mistreated from the 1960s to the 1990s.
Appeals to Catholic authorities to take action have already resulted in the suspension of Brother Laurence Hughes, a former St Joseph’s teacher who currently heads the De La Salle order.
The Rev Des Bill, chairman of the Catholic Church’s Safeguarding Commission for Orders in Education (SCOE), said Hughes had been suspended pending an independent investigation “to ensure recommendations and actions taken are objective and not influenced by any person within SCOE or the De La Salle congregation”. The matter has also been reported to the police.
Mills says he was sexually abused by priests and witnessed the physical abuse of other boys. He believes he was targeted as the child of a poor widow whose fees were waived because he had agreed that he had a vocation to the priesthood.
“I don’t know if I really did … but they knew my life was difficult and I didn’t have a father figure,” he said. “It is easier to admit to yourself physical abuse, but sexual abuse is more intimate. I blocked that out until my forties, and then the memories came flooding back.”
He began recording his experiences on a blog eight years ago. Other former pupils have added their own stories.
Among the accusations levelled against teachers were of boys being lashed with cat-o’-nine-tails and hit repeatedly with other objects. Some of the most serious sexual charges were levelled against one teacher, Brother James Ryan, who is now dead.
Ryan was “renowned for his savagery”, said Mills. “I would draw on his anger — particularly for Judge Dredd.” When the judge set off to punish the fictional town of Repentance in one of Mills’s stories, he said, “Brother James was very inspiring.”
Mills also claims to have been abused by the school’s chaplain, the late Father William Jolly. Another monk allegedly involved in the abuse was the late Brother Solomon, who left to start a short-lived singing career as “the swinging monk”.
Founded in France in 1680, the De La Salle order has four communities in Britain, where it owned several voluntary-aided schools. Accounts submitted to the Charity Commission show that the order set aside £7.7 million in 2015 to settle a case of alleged abuse of pupils at the St William’s Institute, Middlesbrough, between 1958 and 1992.
The abolition of time limits on childhood abuse cases in Scotland has also left the order facing 60 claims, five of which have been settled at a cost of £762,000.
The order is no longer involved with St Joseph’s, which counts the musician Brian Eno and the Labour MPs Chris Mullin and John McDonnell among its former pupils.

SAFE SPACES

Many thanks to a St Jo’s Old Boy for suggesting the link below to Safe Spaces.

I really should have known about this site, but am embarrassed to say I didn’t.

I’m talking to Catholic Safeguarding tomorrow and they may suggest Safe Spaces could look at some of the matters on this blog. We’ll see.

www.safespacesenglandandwales.org.uk

From their site:

How can we help?

Remote support is provided nationally through our helpline and Live Chat for as long as our clients feel they need it and it is deemed to be helpful.

We can help with advocating with authorities and other agencies, giving you emotional support, providing information (including information on church and police procedures), understanding your needs and working together on individual support plans.  If face-to-face support is wanted local to where you live, we will try to make contact with appropriate agencies depending on need.

Safe Spaces comprises a team of trained support advocates who have also undergone specialist training in supporting survivors of sexual violence. The team have received additional specific training in how the churches respond to abuse cases, the way in which faith and church-related settings have been used to carry out abuse, and the particular issues affecting people who have had or still have, a relationship with the church.

How survivors feel about IICSA

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

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

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

Episode Description

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

THE IPSWICH CONNECTION. A STORY OF TWO DOCTORS.

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

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

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

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

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

So here goes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Somewhere like Ipswich.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There was a second reason I was shocked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BOUNDARY BREAKING

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



There’s also a link with further information.



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



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



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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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