ST PANCRAS CHURCH, IPSWICH, REMEMBERED

I have many happy memories of Saint Pancras (the patron saint of children). It was my local church until I was ten (1959) when we moved to Chantry Estate and Saint Marks.

I was an altar boy, a proud member of the Guild of St Stephen and was thrilled  when my red lanyard was replaced with a black one. And my red cassock replaced with a black cassock. Even if older altar boys called themselves ‘The Rhubarb Club’ (after the Goon Show), I had no such cynicism, nothing could match the excitement of carrying a lit torch or the incense ‘boat’ or swinging the thurifer.

The old Georgian presbytery next to the church was a most enthralling building. In the cellars it had a smuggler’s tunnel leading to the nearby River Orwell. The first tunnel section could still be explored, but then it was blocked off, to my great disappointment. It was such a shame the presbytery was knocked down and replaced with a faux Georgian building.

The priests Canon Burrows and his curate Father Wace were very warm and friendly. Canon Burrows was always round our house in Stoke, dressed in his boiler suit, doing handyman jobs for my mother.  Father Wace presented me with a copy of ‘A Little Hero’ by Mrs Musgrave which had a cover of a boy wearing a school uniform remarkably like a St Joseph’s College blazer. He told me I would go there one day and he was right.

Father Wace was the Akela in charge of the cubs and I was always baffled why I was a cub for just one week. Then I stopped going and no-one would talk about the reason why. It seemed to be because I had told a friend of my mother’s about ‘something that happened at cubs’ and this friend had stern words with Father Wace.

The Catholic laity – the Legion of Mary; the Knights of St Columba and the Catholic Women’s League – were also an important part of my life. My mother was a vulnerable, devout Irish Catholic widow and these organisations did their best to help her. They introduced her to another Catholic widow, Mrs Czech, and her two daughters and we went on a pilgrimage to Walsingham together.

But writing about the laity at St Pancras is still difficult for me and this short article below by Doctor Philippa Martyr for The Catholic Weekly explains the reason why.

Doctor Martyr concludes:

‘This is the ugly underside of our local vibrant Catholic community. Covering-up goes on all the time, for all sorts of things – and yes, lay people enable it. We just haven’t been brave enough to face this about ourselves yet.’

But before coming back to the laity, I have to say there was also another side to both Canon Burrows and Father Wace which was a real shock to me when the memories came flooding back to me in mid-life.

THE PRIESTS

My mother worked as a housekeeper at St Pancras presbytery. Her vulnerability meant her children were prime targets for clerical abusers.  

Canon Burrows – a listed Knight of St Columba – was a sexual abuser. It took a lot of therapy for me to get my recollections of his behaviour out of my system. His particular technique was magic and conjuring tricks. ‘Now you see it, now you don’t.’ At age six, I wanted to be a magician like the Canon and spent all my pocket money on jokes.

Father Wace is not listed as a Knight, but, given his wealthy background, it seems likely he, too, was a member.

He also was a sexual abuser. My mother smiled at my thrilled expression when I saw Wace’s pyjamas casually thrown across his bed. Because his pyjama jacket was weighed down with maybe twenty fantastic metal collectors’ badges – which would make it impossible for him to sleep in. But they were really cool badges that any eight-year-old boy would do anything for.

And did.

MALE CATHOLIC LAITY AT ST PANCRAS

I’ve previously covered the Knights of St Columba on this site. There are statements from myself and other survivors  that prove there was a ring of sexual abusers in the Ipswich Knights.

The Knights were also the Eminence Gris for the Church, which meant they controlled my school fees and they exacted a price in return. The similar Knights of Columbus describe themselves as ‘The strong right arm of the Catholic Church.’

The only thing relevant here is their use of psycho-coercive ‘double bind’ techniques. These are recorded in their theatrical ceremonies which I have previously featured on this site. Such ceremonies stopped – supposedly – in the late 60’s. Too late for me, unfortunately.

 It’s relevant because female laity abusers used similar ‘double binds’.

double bind is a dilemma in communication in which an individual receives two or more reciprocally conflicting messages. It’s a mind-twister and shows a deep knowledge of psychology and how to manipulate people.

Especially children.

When – or if – the Knights stopped abusing children I have no way of knowing and no one today cares. Catholic Safeguarding ignored a recent newspaper report of a Knight of St. Columba sentenced to a long prison sentence for child abuse. The Knight was provably not given a police check, which would have shown he had a previous conviction for child abuse.

FEMALE CATHOLIC LAITY AT ST PANCRAS

When I looked at all my bills for therapy, I was startled to see that a good 50% of my recent therapy – over the last three years – related to female Catholic laity at St Pancras.

And that it took emotional priority over male clerical abuse. You might conclude it’s because female abuse is a far greater betrayal to a child, but, actually, I think it’s because of the bizarre but very effective nature of the abuse.

I believe the women were members of the Catholic Women’s League: the female equivalent of the Knights of St Columba, and it’s acknowledged they work closely together to this day.

The CWL doesn’t list deceased members, but I’ll happily supply the five names of the female parishioners concerned for the CWL to check against their records. I would, of course, also need sight of those records. I’d say ‘Deceased Ipswich members 1956 through to the millennium.’

If I’m wrong, I will write a retraction.

If I’m correct, their names will be listed here as child abusers, alongside Burrows and Wace.

Some may have also been members of the Legion of Mary at St Pancras. My eight-year-old self didn’t fully understand the difference between the two organisations.

But I have focused on the CWL because the five women concerned were all middle-class high achievers, which seems to be the hallmark of this organisation. Two of them were spinsters. There is also the CWL’s close connection to the Knights who were provably abusers. But principally because one of the key female abusers was a close friend of the famous Barbara Ward, Baroness Jackson of Lodsworth – Wikipedia.

Barbara Ward went to St Mary’s Convent Grammar school in Ipswich (I went to the adjacent St Mary’s primary school). She then went on to be President of the Catholic Women’s League in the 1940s and introduced my abuser to her husband who was almost certainly a Knight. This was long before my time. And I’ve absolutely no reason to think Ward was an abuser. 

But Ward shows just how intellectual, well-connected and powerful the Catholic Women’s League were when I had the misfortune to come across some of their members, including her close friend.

Exactly like the powerful Catholic laity described in the link above.

Although their abuse was as perverted as any abuse, it had a certain ‘logic’, which perhaps helped them with their justification for their obscene gratification.

I won’t go into graphic details here, but it was a physical form of aversion therapy (not like today’s conversion therapy as fair as I know), an attempt to thwart puberty using psycho-coercive double binds.

It would have had different names in the past, but various forms of aversion therapy – some quite barbaric – were commonplace from Victorian times through to the 1950s. It was still very scary.

Why did they do it?

Because of the abuse I suffered at the hands of Burrows and Wace, I was definitely ‘acting out’ as so many children do.  For instance, I recall drawing and talking openly about what the priests did to me. So it may have been an attempt to physically put a stop to a child’s ‘play’.

But it actually feels rather more ambitious and organised. There were several of them involved, for instance. Even though I was earmarked for the priesthood from an early age (I was signed up for the seminary at age thirteen) I don’t believe that fully explains their behaviour.

It was certainly a ‘procedure’ they were used to.

However, it’s not my responsibility to understand their sick mindset. Or explain how it all worked in detail. I bear the psychological scars and that’s enough.

If your cognitive dissonance is kicking in at this point, and you find it hard to believe that respectable, middle-class Catholic women could behave in such a manner, let me tell you that in the same decade, a number of Dutch boys were castrated on the orders of the Catholic Church because they had shown gay tendencies. In the 1970s, on the orders of his British Catholic school, a young teenager was given hospital electric-shock treatment to similarly erase his gay character. There are other examples.

Aversion therapy seems designed to suppress, reduce or redirect a child’s sexuality. In practical terms, it limits your power over your own body. Instead, these women had control over my body. I’m pretty certain they saw their abuse as ‘holy work’. I’d love to tell you they failed miserably, but, annoyingly, its effects actually lasted until I was aged sixteen.

These fanatical women knew what they were doing.

If you’re a Catholic Safeguarder, or a member of the priesthood, the Knights or the CWL, you may well be thinking, with some relief, as you read this, ‘Ah. But it’s impossible for him to prove.’

Well, it’s true it’s hard to prove. Most survivors must have either accepted their programming, maybe they even thought it was good for them, or are too embarrassed or ashamed to talk about it.   

I’m not.

The best proof I have is the fortune I spent on recent weekly therapy, over the last three years, deprogramming the abusive program these women had instilled into my psyche.

And also the evidence of my therapist who has previously given evidence to the Ipswich police. This resulted in an abusive Ipswich Catholic teacher recently being arrested.

So I wouldn’t be too relieved if I were you.

Needless to say, I would be delighted if the CWL decide to challenge my account.

I know Catholics practice secrecy from the Pope downwards, but this really needs to be brought out into the open.

SAFEGUARDING

You might suggest that Catholic Safeguarding could help me with this matter.

Not a chance, I’m afraid, so I should explain why.

You may believe Catholic Safeguarding are there to help past survivors and investigate past clerical and laity abuse

They’re not.

Catholic Safeguarding is actually in a terrible state today, the worst it’s ever been. And, in case you think that’s just my negative opinion, there is already media concern and research on this aspect.

Furthermore.

The CEO of the CSSA (Catholic Safeguarding Standards Agency) admitted the following to me:

‘IICSA was obviously put in place with the intention of dealing with this but quite honestly I think they were overwhelmed and in the end they presented their final report and it is difficult to know what it all achieved.’

All IICSA’S recommendations (The Elliott report etc) have been ignored by the Church, even though the Bishops claimed otherwise.

As the Daily Telegraph reported: ‘Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse had previously concluded Cardinal Nichols was more concerned with protecting Church’s reputation.’

Today, the CSSA only deals with current issues up to two years old.

‘This of course leaves those that have been subject of abuse over two years ago have very little redress.’

The CEO confirmed my own experience that the police (Operation Hydrant) will only deal with cases where the abusers are still alive.

And:

‘Our remit does not include an investigative branch. The process is that the diocese or religious life group (through the Religious Life Safeguarding Service (RLSS) investigate concerns when raised.’

So where St Pancras is concerned this means that the diocese will investigate.

I’ve been here before during Eileen Shearer’s COPCA era when I first raised Canon Burrows with the diocese. I learnt that Catholic Safeguarding diocese members are unpaid, they do nothing (e.g. they didn’t even look up records) they simply dump complaints onto the police, who can do nothing (see above). The diocese Safeguarders know this and – under the  convenient excuse of ‘we have a mandatory reporting duty’ – they are wilfully and knowingly wasting valuable police time.

The diocese Safeguarding officer also reassured me personally everything would be ‘so much better’ with Shearer’s recent appointment because she was a protestant. So nothing would be covered up anymore.

I was briefly impressed.

Shearer resigned shortly afterwards.

But it’s worse. The investigating officer is from the diocese where the crime took place, so he or she is still part of that Catholic community: they will certainly know the organisations concerned at the very least, they may even be members of it, and they are thus not independent.

This has put off many survivors from reporting abuse and that’s no accident. It’s exactly what the Church intended.

Returning to the laity.

The CEO of the CSSA said to me:

‘I agree with you over this issue around abuse by the laity does seem to be largely ignored and certainly has given me some pause for thought.’

Most of my claims against the Catholic laity can be deemed historic (over two years old) and therefore will be ignored, which is, of course, outrageous as we survivors have to live our entire lives with the results of their crimes committed against us in childhood. But two cases are actually current and one relates to the East Anglian diocese. The other to an adjoining diocese.

In both cases there was a lack of police checks and thus vulnerable people and children may be in danger.

Today.

There was no response from the CSSA and Police Operation Hydrant when I raised this with them both.

THE LIKELY RESPONSE FROM ST PANCRAS, THE CWL AND THE KNIGHTS OF ST COLUMBA

From past experience with the Knights and the evidence presented about them on this site, I fully expect the parish priest of St Pancras today, the Catholic Women’s League and the Knights of St Columba to do nothing.

They don’t seem to see it as their duty to children past and present to look into this most serious matter.

They will prefer to keep their heads down and hope it will all go away.

Or at best, to write back to me with some dismissive hand-wringing, ‘We’re sorry what happened to you, but there’s nothing we can do. We have no records and thus no way of looking at your allegations.’

But in 2023 silence – or such a dismissive lack of interest – is not a good look.

Even if the Catholic insurance company has advised or even ordered them, ‘Say nothing. Admit nothing.’  

(It’s sad when a Christian religion is controlled by an insurance company.)

Today, not responding to hard evidence of abuse means only one thing.

Collusion.

If you have been made aware of crimes past and current, and you choose to respond with silence or in some Pontius Pilate manner, it means you are colluding with the original child abusers to keep these crimes hidden from public view.

SO WHAT CAN BE DONE?

If you’re a Survivor you might feel nothing can be done. That – post IICSA – the Church has managed, with its own admitted poor Safeguarding (see above) to still successfully silence its critics. 

That’s not the case.

‘Naming and Shaming’ abusers at my Catholic school on this site has worked very well in the past and has led to positive results which I’ve described in previous posts. With both local media (EADT) and national media (Sunday Times and the Tablet) covering and investigating the accounts I have brought to light.

It’s only now that I’ve been able to focus on the parish I grew up in, and the clerical and laity abusers, male and female, who harmed me as a child.

So I would hope for similar results here. I’m sure it will be of equal interest to the media.

Particularly local media.

And if you are a survivor of abuse by any of these people I’ve described here, and would like to share your experience, please get in touch. As always, your anonymity is guaranteed.

However, if you are a member of the congregation at St Pancras and are rightly shocked by what you have read, I would appeal to you to raise some or all of these issues with your parish priest.

It is clearly his personal duty to act.

Diocesan Safeguarding is not an alternative. It is provably flawed for the reasons I’ve given and I strongly believe is deliberately designed to waste everyone’s time.

Even if you discount some of the allegations I’ve made, there is still a great deal left that should be looked at, discussed, and which you would hope would be of great concern to your parish priest.

Based on the past, I fear your parish priest will not take responsibility, but I would love to be proved wrong.

Furthermore, my experience is that – even today, despite the Church being called out for its crimes at IICSA – Catholic congregations will not respond to allegations of child abuse within the Church. They will look the other way at clerical and laity crimes.

This is because of the Oath of Allegiance they took and similar ties that bind.

However, I would hope that there are some exceptions who are not sheep and have the courage to challenge their shepherds.

In any event, at some point in the near future, there will be further investigations into the Catholic Church and this post and others will be useful in providing evidence.

Meantime, no one in the parish of St. Pancras can now say ‘We didn’t know. We had absolutely no idea these terrible things went on.’

You’ve been told.

And anyone curiously searching the web for nostalgic memories of St Pancras will come across this post.

They will be appalled to see the Church’s dark history in which the crimes of priests such as Canon Burrows and Father Wace and Ipswich female and male Catholic laity are laid bare for all to read.   

That is the legacy of shame for all the world to now see that St Pancras, its current parish priest, as the representative of the Church, the CWL and the Knights of St Columba will have to live with from now on.

Unless they choose to take a path of light and look at the truth.

Otherwise, it’s a dark cross all of them rightly have to bear.

BROTHER LAURENCE HUGHES – THE MISSING APOLOGY

THE DE LA SALLES – THE MISSING INVESTIGATION

As you may have seen on my previous blog, the RLSS  – Religious Life Safeguarding Service –  have successfully arranged for DBS police checks on Cistercian monks on Caldey Island.  

So it’s a great step forward for Caldey Island Survivors and the RLSS are to be congratulated for their supportive work.

It suggests that, despite, IMO, the questionable nature of all Safeguarding organizations as ‘fronts’ to protect religious orders and priests, that individuals can still work within the system and create real change.  Even though independent agencies are the real answer.

But this still leaves the serious matter of the De La Salles and the RLSS long outstanding.

Currently there is a missing apology and a missing investigation.

Both are of considerable current importance to survivors of the De La Salles.

 I’ve got a little tired recently of reading in posts here how wonderful the DLS  were with barely a grudging nod to survivors, and often with the qualification, ‘But I never saw the brothers do anything wrong myself.’

Well, of course you didn’t because you weren’t at risk!  

It’s like we survivors are necessary collateral damage to fulfill the perverted desires of the De La Salles, while you high achievers got on with your splendid careers, thanks to these wonderful and ‘holy’ brothers you admire so much.

Such high achievers should reflect that, in my era, at least 10%  of every class were physically and sexually abused by the DLS. (I can break that down for skeptics.) That makes the DLS a criminal organization and it’s impossible to identify, with any certainty, who was good and who was evil. Only the blatant ones, a very few of whom were caught. Please reflect on that before you continue to sing the praises of a questionable organization that is still operating today and still has its hand out for more funding to continue its ‘holy work’ in the Global South.

So onto the missing apology and investigation.

I’ve been holding off for some time on both the foregoing, not least because the SCOE, the Safeguarding organization for religious orders of which the De La Salles was a client, was disbanded earlier last year and replaced by the RLSS, a new safeguarding organization.

Before it disappeared, the SCOE didn’t pass any information about these two matters above onto the RLSS.

But of course the SCOE was directed by the DLS who could have easily updated the RLSS.

In both instances, the Safeguarding organizations are limited by their client, the DLS, who actually have the real power as the RLSS have indicated to me.

To reprise, when it existed, the SCOE/DLS assured me there would be a public apology for the horrific corporal punishments delivered by Brother Laurence Hughes previously head of the DLS. He has been ‘reduced to the ranks’ following an investigation which is now complete without criminal charges being made.

I’ve been told that it’s almost impossible to bring criminal charges for physical abuse after such a long time period.

The important issue of how Laurence Hughes dismissed abuse complaints while he was head of the DLS has never been addressed.

Given that he has been reduced to the ranks, it should be.  It means that those complaining of child abuse received a hearing from a man who committed savage physical abuse on children.

Here’s what the SCOE actually said to me on 15th July last year.

I have been waiting for confirmation on the outcome to the investigation
following receipt of allegations made against Bro Laurence Hughes (LH).

De La Salle (DLS) in the near future will be making a statement about of the
outcome of the investigation and I understand this statement will contain an
apology to victims and will be published. I will ask DLS to make the
statement easily accessible, through their website or to others if/as
requested (* see note below).

I understand that LH no longer holds any leadership or safeguarding role
within DLS.

AFAIK the DLS did not make a statement in the ‘near future’ as promised.

It was also stated, as you can see, that it would be a prominent apology, rather than the earlier example of a DLS apology on a separate and general matter. That was a vague and general apology to all survivors of DLS abuse. Such a cursory ‘sorry’ was buried on the DLS website only after I’d shown the announced apology was actually missing.   Even the Tablet had to acknowledge this was untoward.

And the DLS also said in a newspaper interview last year that there would be a thorough investigation of all the allegations about the DLS in Ipswich and elsewhere in the South of England which it suggested were ‘unheard of’.

As I’ve told the RLSS the cases against Brothers James, Kevin and Solomon in particular are overwhelming and need public acknowledgement by the De La Salles.  They also involve the Catholic laity who helped cover up the crimes of James and Solomon.

Since then, there has been nothing about this ‘investigation’ which I do not believe even exists.

There have been meetings between the RLSS and DLS with no outcome and emails from the RLSS assuring me of their best and genuine intentions.

Because they are a new organization I believed I should give them the benefit of the doubt and also in the interests of due diligence.

So – after an extended delay on the apology and the investigation – we are no further forward.

The DLS have done an excellent job of stalling for most of last year and their RLSS has played a role in this. 

The DLS – according to the RLSS – have not been very communicative with them either. Whilst I have some sympathy with them and the frustration they must feel, my priority is we survivors who have been harmed by the DLS.

The comments below relating to the CSSA (the ‘general’ Catholic Safeguarding agency) apply equally to the RLSS.

I think both commentators on twitter put it very well.

Reference Group 

@Smartcairns11·

Nov 11

Every ‘respectable’ persons engaged as the face of ‪#CSSA‬ must be responsible for their use by church leaders as a ‘smokescreen’ of safeguarding to disguise, facilitate false trust &  add more layers to leaderships cover up and concealment of clerical sex crimes.

‪@nazirafzal‬ ‪https://twitter.com/Smartcairns11/status/1590654903328051200…‬

Countess Sigrid von Galen

@instcrimjust

Nov 10

Those ‘respectable’ persons are dangerous accomplices, as they create a smokescreen & illusion of safeguarding to disguise & facilitate cover ups & ongoing crimes. All inquiries have shown that the churches can’t be trusted & safeguards are PR stunts. ‪https://twitter.com/Smartcairns11/status/1590654903328051200‬

Despite the positive result at Caldey Island, after my personal experience with the SCOE, the RLSS and the DLS, I see nothing to disagree with here, not least because Safeguarding organizations have very limited power.

Of course the real culprits are the De La Salles who would seem to be more formidable opponents than the Cistercians and who are treating survivors with absolute contempt.

Not the behaviour of supposed ‘holy’ men.

THE TRUTH ABOUT NAZIR AFZAL

The Chair of the CSSA – Catholic Safeguarding

Something is clearly badly wrong with the CSSA:two key members have mysteriously resigned and in the wake of the shaming IICSA report Nazir Afzul was surprisingly upbeat.

Let me remind what the IICSA final report had to say: The investigation into the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales revealed a sorry history of child sexual abuse where abusive priests and members of religious orders and institutions preyed on children for prolonged periods of time. Between 1970 and 2015, the Church received more than 3,000 complaints against more than 900 individuals connected to the Church. In the same period, there were 177 prosecutions, resulting in 133 convictions. Millions of pounds have been paid to victims and survivors in civil proceedings. Since 2016, there have been more than 100 reported allegations of recent and non-recent child sexual abuse every year. The true scale of abuse over a 50-year period is likely to be much greater.

Responses to disclosures about child sexual abuse have been characterised by a failure to support victims and survivors – in stark contrast to the positive action often taken to protect perpetrators and the reputation of the Church.

The reactions of Church leaders over time were marked by delay in implementing change, as well as reluctance to hold individuals to account or to make sincere apologies. On occasions, they conveyed a grudging and unsympathetic attitude to victims and survivors. In order to shake off the failures of the past, real and lasting changes to attitudes are needed.

Although there have been some improvements to current safeguarding arrangements, more recent audits have identified weaknesses. The culture and attitudes in the Roman Catholic Church have been resistant to change.

Nazir Afzal. Chair of Safeguarding, shows no signs of regret or contrition or apology on behalf of the Church he represents. In fact, his tone is onwards and upwards, business as usual. Here he is:

https://www.thetablet.co.uk/news/16043/-we-are-here-to-stay-questions-to-the-director-of-the-cssa

But in another interview with the Tablet he goes further. He notes the importance of Canon Law which – if it defies the Law of the Land – is a criminal offence. That’s what de facto he is supporting even though IICSA have recommended the confessional be unsealed and it is the law in Australia. He didn’t know about the law in Oz! Here’s how I covered it in a tweet

When @nazirafzal talks about sanctity of ‘canon law’ in context of the confessional he is de facto placing it over Law of the Land. He has previous – obliquely defending categories of paedophilia and showing that organisations like the Church are not as bad abusers as families.

I would refer you to a past post where he actually comes out with a tweet in support of those who would mitigate the crimes of paedophiles by categorising them in different age groups. A classic device by the Catholic Church and also by paedophiles themselves.

It gets worse!

In the other interview with the Tablet he is dismissive of IICSA’s recommendations where the confessional is concerned. That’s a very serious matter.

Here’s how I tweeted about it:

@nazirafzal claims predators’ confessions to abuse in the confessional are ‘extremely rare’. Academic Marie Keenan proves him wrong : 8 out of 9 clergy abusers she spoke to ‘disclosed their abuse during confession.’ When is someone going to hold this Fraud to account?

Marie Keenan’s information is in the same article! Keenan is Ireland’s leading academic on abuse and is highly respected. Nazir is clearly and knowingly guilty of spreading disinformation. That’s appalling when you are head of the CCSA.

A group of Catholic survivors were so disturbed by his behaviour we recently wrote a letter with a great deal of thought, detail and restraint.

Concerns re CSSA

Dear Sirs,

Following the publication of the IICSA report and the Elliott review (Elliott, 2020), which was accepted in full by the Catholic Bishops’ conference, survivors were hopeful that finally change was going to take place within the RC church in its dealings with safeguarding matters.

We welcomed the appointment of Nazir Afzal as the first Chairperson of the new Safeguarding structure, trusting that he and the new board would work to drive through the very necessary changes that were so badly needed.

Over the last year, while there have been some small signs of progress, the spirit of optimism, which survivors had, has steadily waned away as we have witnessed what is happening at grassroots level.

Our experience over the last year is that survivor engagement is generally not following Ian Elliot’s recommendations.

Instead, survivors’ experiences have included

-being redirected to the body within the Church who was responsible for their original abuse and then re abused them when they summoned up the courage to come forward to disclose that abuse.

There was an attempt to set up of a new survivor reference panel last autumn. Survivors known to Catholic Safeguarding were not made aware but stumbled across an advertisement on CSSA website by chance. Immediately, they could see many flaws in what was being proposed. Additionally, it was not advertised in a way that was likely to be seen by survivors.

Survivors wrote collectively to the new board raising their queries. It was only after a considerable amount of chasing that a date was set for a meeting. The way it had been proposed that a new panel would be set up, and then the difficulties in trying to engage with the board to voice concerns began to seriously undermine trust in CSSA.

At the meeting they were told that the board “had got it wrong” regarding the way it proposed to set up the new survivor panel. 

The board met with them on 2 further occasions. They were told that until a new panel was formed that they would be used as an “informal panel” and that the board would send an invitation to meet with them in April, to introduce them to a Communications officer who CSSA had appointed and would be the point of liaison with survivors.

Survivors have never received the promised invitation. One survivor chased with regard to it and has now met with Board members. The onus should not lie with survivors to have to keep chasing and no attempt has been made to offer survivors the opportunity of an introduction to the Communications officer.

It has become clear that there is lack of understanding among the board members that clerical abuse carries with it additional and very far-reaching impacts on survivors, because of the spiritual dynamics inherent in it. This issue demonstrates the need for CSSA to engage with survivors in the way Ian Elliot has described, but at present that engagement is not happening (except perhaps in a very limited way with a very small number of survivors)

There is little or no evidence of an interest or willingness to engage with or listen to survivors to try to understand the reality of our abuse, or of trying to live with it since it happened, and the way in which that has been compounded by the church’s unwillingness to provide any meaningful help or support. Many live with a sense that they are not even believed, others are left with the sense that they are troublemakers.

There have been inappropriate and extremely insensitive comments about paedophilia on social media by a board member. When challenged no attempt was made to either apologise or withdraw the comments.

We were told by one board member

“One thing it is important to say is that the CSSA is formed to implement robust standards for safeguarding in the Church going forward from 2021. We will not be able to right the wrongs of the past but to look forward to make sure things are done well in the future.”

A representative for a survivor spoke to Nazir Afzal recently and relayed back that she was told

“CSSA will not be providing support for any survivors.

Any disclosures re matters that occurred prior to CSSA forming would need to be taken to the police for investigating.

When CSSA starts auditing it will not look at anything which has happened prior to June 2021

CSSA is not independent as actions will have to get clearance from Rome”

These comments suggest that CSSA intends working in a way that is a far cry from the sort of survivor engagement Ian Elliott recommended.

Over the last year survivors have experienced a repetition of the ignoring and marginalising tactics which the Church has used for so long with survivors. If this continues nothing will change in the way the Church responds to survivors and their suffering and pain will continue to be lifelong.

In the Elliot Review it was recommended that a formal case consultation service would be set up to manage allegations and concerns and that this entity would be a ‘critical friend’, able to support and encourage but with a major change of emphasis from it being advisory, to being empowered to challenge and uphold professional standards, holding the constituent(s) to account.

We cannot find evidence of this being implemented.

The complaints procedure which we have had sight of falls far short of that described in Elliott review. It permits recommendations on the part of CSSA, but does not seem to have powers of enforcement and will also only become involved in a complaint when every other avenue has been exhausted-thus leaving survivors with no option but to continue re engaging with a body who has been harming them.

Nazir Afzal publicly encouraged survivors to contact him saying he wants to hear from them (Tablet article-24th March 2022). Our lived experience is somewhat different and is endorsed by Danny Sullivan, a former Chair of NCSC in the same article.

“It is welcome that at last after some almost nine months in post Nazir Afzal is making public comments about his role”.

Citing a “thoroughly disheartening” recent experience with the safeguarding process, Sullivan, speaking to The Tablet, criticised the Church’s continued intent to “self-police” regarding abuse allegations. “Nazir Afzal talks about protecting children but so far there seems no urgency about supporting current victims of abuse who are not apologised to for their abuse or worse still not treated with the care and sensitivity due to them according to CSSA’s current protocols.  They are certainly not treated as the priority bishops said they would be after the IICSA report.”

Can CSSA answer the following questions so survivors have full clarity on how it proposes operating.

1.If CSSA is not going to provide support for survivors how does it envisage that things will “be done well in the future”?

2.Why is CSSA saying that it will not to provide support for survivors, given that it was recommended so strongly in the Elliott review ( which was accepted in full by the Catholic Bishops’ conference?

3.Survivors generally take many years to summon up sufficient courage to disclose their abuse, meaning that almost all disclosures are historical. Can CCSA confirm whether they perceive that it is an important part of Catholic Safeguarding’s role to support survivors when they disclose their abuse, to then pass it to the police?

Survivors who have disclosed their abuse to Catholic Safeguarding prior to CSSA being formed have very frequently been revictimised. Can you describe the service you are going to offer to these survivors? This is not a matter where the police will become involved.  However, it is imperative that CSSA addresses the serious trauma that survivors have experienced to enable them to begin to recover from it. If CSSA is not going to provide this service, can they explain the reason for this decision?

4.Why is CSSA not going to look at anything which happened prior to 2021? This will cover up a great deal of the Church’s catastrophic failings possibly forever. It is extremely protective of the body who has abused a great many very vulnerable people and will serve only to help those who are responsible for abusing. Does CSSA believe this is acceptable?

5.What steps is CSSA going to take now to put right the serious breakdown in trust with survivors which has occurred since it was formed in 2021?

6. When is CSSA going to actively engage with a wide number of survivors, including all those who indicated interest in working with CSSA in autumn 2021?

7.Does CSSA intend to rewrite the present complaints procedure so it is in line with Ian Elliot’s recommendations and protects the interests of survivors. When will this be done?

8.If CSSA needs clearance from Rome for its actions how does it justify describing itself as being a regulator?

We look forward to your responses.

With many thanks,

A group of Catholic Survivors

References

Elliott, I. (2020, September 21). Independent Review of Safeguarding Structures and Arrangements in the Catholic Church in England and Wales. Retrieved from The Catholic Church Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales: https://www.cbcew.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2020/11/Independent-Review-Safeguarding-Report-2020.pdf

This is the reply we received

14th October 2022

Dear Survivors,

Thank you for your open letter ‘Concerns re CSSA’ this week.

On behalf of Nazir Afzal (Chair) and the Board we were very saddened to read it. Thank you for stating your concerns clearly for us to consider.

In the first instance we will table your letter for discussion with our new Survivor Reference Panel at our next meeting which is likely to be in November to seek their advice and guidance.

We welcome your input; we may not be able to answer all of your queries in detail at this time but again assure you of our wish to engage with survivors on an ongoing basis

With our very best wishes,

Jenny Holmes,

Board Member

This is typical of the prevarication and dismissive tone of the CSSA of which Nazir is Chair. As we have chronicled in the past, the CSSA have endlessly stalled in the manner above. And will go on doing so.

The CSSA needs investigating as a matter of urgency and Nazir needs to resign.

He said to me that he received a standing ovation from the Bishops when he took the job.

He will not get a standing ovation from survivors.

Let me state the obvious to Nazir:

In your interview you are remarkably upbeat after the IICSA report summarised the disgusting crimes of the Church you are safeguarding.

IT’S FOR SURVIVORS TO SAY IFYOU ARE DOING A GOOD JOB . NOT YOU. AND NOT YOUR PAYMASTERS, THE PRINCES OF THE CHURCH.

THE ANSWER IS : NO. YOU ARE DOING A TERRIBLE JOB AND SPREADING DISINFORMATION AND IGNORING SURVIVORS IS UNACCEPTABLE.

YOU DO NOT HAVE THE CONFIDENCE OF SURVIVORS. YOU HAVE ENDLESSLY PREVARICATED. YOOU HAVE PROVIDED DISINFORMATION. YOU HAVE NOT FULLY ENGAGED WITH US. YOU HAVE BEHAVED LIKE A SPIN DOCTOR. YOU HAVE SAFEGUARDED THE PRINCES OF THE CHURCH, NOT SURVIVORS OF ITS CRIMES.

YOU MUST RESIGN.

INFO ON BROTHER JAMES RYAN

Just received this passionate appeal from a survivor of the monster Brother James which I’d like to pass on.

Thanks to all those who have already been in touch. Your revelations about James have been an eye-opener. He’s far worse than I realised.

Two things are now established beyond reasonable doubt which many of you may not be aware of. Firstly, James had one or more nervous breakdowns following his ferocious sexual assault on a boy at St J’s Ipswich in around 65, which caused him to leave the school in a hurry and – after an interval – end up at Beulah Hill. From his behaviour there, he was clearly mentally ill, although I believe he was also mentally ill in the early 1960s at St J’s Ipswich.

He was also a functioning alcoholic. I have a detailed testimony which makes a convincing case for this.

I’m told this is true for many of the DLS. Solomon, for example. My older brother who went to St J’s Ipswich, too, blocks his trauma memories to survive. So I can’t discuss them with him. But over the years he constantly refers to the DLS well-stocked wines at St J’s Ipswich. And I find myself asking why? When otherwise the subject of our school and what happened to us is strictly off limits.

James was obviously much worse at Beulah Hill because two accounts there describe how he ground chalk into the palm of his hand as a kind of stigmata.

It’s clear the De La Salle organisation knew all this and yet continued to allow this dangerous, perverted and mentally ill maniac to teach children.

Here’s the appeal from a survivor of this evil man:

I would appeal to all persons on this blog that have suffered abuse at the hands of Brother James Ryan and other De la Salles to have the courage to swallow your fear and inhibitions  and hold theses abusers to account by taking legal action against the order. Or to pass on any relevant information to patmillswriter@gmail.com

ST JOHN’S COLLEGE PORTSMOUTH/PORTSMOUTH CATHEDRAL CHOIR

A post below from David who went to St John’s College – a De La Salle school in the past and possibly still associated with the DLS by David’s era. The school has come up on this site before with previous negative testimonies from De La Salle Old Boys.

If anyone can help David with his enquiry, do put your information or your contact details in the comments section. 

WordPress can sometimes be a bit clunky, so if that doesn’t work,or if you would prefer, send it to me : patmillswriter@gmail.com  And I will forward your information to David.

I do hope someone can help.

My name is David Carter I studied at St John’s College Junior School. My memory is very hazy and the dates I am unsure of, however, I imagine I started in 1979 or 1980 when I was 7 or 8 leaving at age of 12 to go to a co-ed school in Waterlooville called Oaklands Comprehensive.

Three out of my four brothers also attended the school, two brothers were elder and the third was younger than me.

I and my two older brothers attended St John’s Cathedral choir school, boarding on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

Not sure my younger brother attended the choir school as a boarder, only a daytime student at St John’s College. He was spared the experience I am about to describe.

I am looking to find anyone who experienced abuse whilst attending either St John’s College or the Portsmouth Cathedral Choir School during any period of their lives.

There are two specific students I would love to reach out to:

Damian McGovern and another student called Julian. I shared a room with both of these guys and I remember them to be full-time boarders.

During the daytime at St John’s College, the older boys would touch the younger boys. Boarding at the choir school the same happened, and I remember sitting with Father Whitehead watching the film Papillon with Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman. I remember not quite sitting on Father Whitehead’s knee and watching the film, whilst he re-winded the scene when Papillon escapes one of the prisons with the help of the jailer who is homosexual and touches Papillon underneath his bedclothes as part payment for help to escape.

I remember being touched beneath my bedsheets when boarding on Tuesday and Thursday. I believe the perpetrators were Father Whitehead or Mrs. White or worse still both.

I would like to speak to anyone who went to St John’s College, either to confirm or deny my experience as I search for closure around the topic of abuse in the church.

David.

ST JOSEPH’S COLLEGE IPSWICH – INCIDENT IN 1972/73?

An Old Boy wrote in with this question below which someone may be able to help him with.

I left St Joseph’s at 16, in 1972.  At some point after that, I am fairly convinced that I was told by one of my contemporaries who’d stayed on, that one of the brothers had either been caught in a compromising position with one of the boys (kissing was mentioned) or otherwise news of what had happened had got out.  I had known the boy concerned.  Somewhat randomly I remember being told that the incident took place in a large area of wild bamboo, a location I recall from when I was there.  I was also told that the brother concerned had been removed from the school.  I seem to remember being not remotely surprised at the identity of the brother, in fact I think I felt some satisfaction that he had finally been caught.  

Does this ring any bells with you or anyone please?  I would really like to know which brother it was.

TONY HARDY  LAY TEACHER AT ST JOSEPH’S COLLEGE IPSWICH 1986 – 1990

Also – MRS KEARNEY and a visiting Spanish DE LA SALLE ABUSER

First below is the testimony by Old Boy CS  who, along with other children, was harmed by Tony Harding.

Given the relatively recent nature, it is possible Harding is still alive.

I’ve yet to contact the RLSS, the new De La Safeguarding organisation, about abusers who may still be alive.

Harding would be such a case.

I’m currently focussing on gathering evidence about  Brother James but I hope to get around to Harding in time. And another teacher. Meantime, anyone affected could report him by contacting the RLSS or DLS direct – the details were on my last blog.

Or the police.

In other countries there would be mandatory reporting to the police because if he is still alive, children could be in danger.

That’s not a ‘maybe’. Police take these matters seriously.

The second testimony about Harding below also mentions Mrs Kearney  and rings true to me  – it tallies with a private conversation I’ve had in recent years with another Old Boy who was taught by her.  He told me how she would call in her husband to whack kids which is a bit weird but not illegal AFAIK. Being a tough kid, he laughed it all off with a kind of gallows humour. But not everyone can or should laugh it off.

I’d say Mr and Mrs Kearney were well suited to each other.

The second testimony below also describes a De La Salle sexual abuser from Spain.

Once again it’s evidence of DLS crimes towards the end of their era of control. Once again this DLS abuser could still be alive.

Therefore it should be of concern to the RLSS who safeguard the DLS and I will certainly bring it to their attention in due course.

Doubtless they will dump it on Operation Hydrant/Suffolk police without reference to their own files.

But it will be noted and they will have to answer for any minimal response or recalcitrance.

My thanks to the Old Boy who wrote the Second Testimony below. I found it very powerful and moving. And important as a description of the appalling final years of the DLS at St J’s.

FIRST TESTIMONY FROM A POST MAY 2021

TONY HARDY. Lay teacher St J’s Ipswich. Era 1986 – 1990. Sexual and physical violence.  One testimony in comments – see: CS commented on ROLL OF DISHONOUR:

I attended St Joseph’s College from 86 – 90. I was at the school when David Hennesy became headmaster, he was a very relaxed guy and I liked him a lot. After our GCSE’s a few of us got our ears pierced – stupid, but hey we were crazy teenagers. We were in Birkfield house, Tony Hardy was the housemaster. He was a well known drinker and had a ferocious temper. After being told to take our ear rings out which we ignored as we were so close to school holidays we thought nothing more of it. One night Hardy had been out at a BBQ and came back after lights out, he pulled me and the other lads who had pierced their ears out of bed and made us stand in the corners of his living room. We were made to stand there when he went on a screaming rampage around the house. He came back to his quarters where we were all waiting frankly sh*tting ourselves. One by one he called each of the lads into his bedroom where he gave them all slippers. He then made me stand in a cupboard which he locked me in and then again went on another rampage around the house, when he came back then made me stand in his bedroom drop my pyjama bottoms and then took a cat-o-nine tails out of his draw. He lashed me about 10 – 12 times with it till I was bleeding. The next morning when in the showers the other lads saw the state of what had happened to me and they took me to see Mr Hennesy, when we explained what happened he sent us to his cottage on the grounds and Hardy was got rid of that day. My parents were dealt with by the school’s solicitors and unbelievably agreed that as long as he never taught there again, wouldn’t involve the Police.

SECOND TESTIMONY. NEW POST, FROM ANOTHER OLD BOY WHO JUST SENT THIS TO ME:

Firstly, I would like to say a massive thank you to CS for having the courage to speak about his experiences. What happened to CS was not his fault, it was a criminal act perpetrated by a predatory man with a violent temper and an alcohol problem that should have been dealt with appropriately by the school several years before this incident happened. CS had the courage to speak out at the time and the courage to speak about it here. It is an exceptional thing to do. Secondly, I would like to say thanks to Pat Mills, for speaking out about his own experiences and also creating a platform for others who have shared experiences. Many people were voiceless at the time these events occurred, either through fear of speaking up or knowing that it would be swept under the carpet.

I went to St. Joseph’s at the age of eleven, starting in the 1st Year with Brother Owen. In the grand scheme of things Brother Owen was one of the better ones, in my experience. He gave out the slipper, but he was generally alright from what I can remember. He did keep a lot of contact with Mr and Mrs Kearney, which was odd given many of the comments about them on this blog. I was scared of Mrs Kearney as she had a vicious temper and would humiliate kids in her class. That may just have been standard fare in the mid 1980s at private school though.

It was the experience of going to boarding school that shook me that year though, and I had to learn to adjust and cope like many other children who had left their home at a young age. The school taught a lot of the paradoxical messages that are staple in British boarding schools, ‘It will be the making of you’, ‘the friends you make here will be with you for life’, and all the other messages about being special and elite. These messages create a bind when your experiences don’t match up to them and it is easy to assume there is just something wrong with you. They are also messages that help to keep children compliant when faced with abuse.

Tony Hardy joined the school when I was in the 1st Year as the Housemaster for the 2nd & 3rd Year at Birkfield House in the centre of the school. The dormitories were above the main building. I knew from the children in the year above that he was unstable and had a violent temper. I felt anxious that I was going up to the 2nd Year and wasn’t picked as a prefect to stay down with Brother Owen for a year to look after the new intake of 1st Years.

The 2nd Year dormitory was a large open hall packed with beds in rows. The 3rd Year dorms were smaller spread down corridors across the old building. The whole place was dilapidated and creaking.

Tony Hardy wasted no time imprinting himself on my psyche as a man who was unpredictable, with a violent temper. He rampaged down corridors; you could hear him screaming and shouting from the other end of the building, getting louder and closer until he would burst into the dormitory, slamming doors and desks. Often, he would pick on individual kids for no discernible reason, so that it was impossible to read how to best keep out of his reach. He would scowl and stare at you before deciding whether to single you out for abuse or move on to someone else. He was like this throughout the 2nd and 3rd Year. Sometimes it would go on for days, literally the only respite was when the school day began. If it was over a weekend there was very little respite. Once during my 2nd Year, the bathrooms got blocked up. He ranted for days, accusing kids of deliberately blocking up toilets, demanding the whole year went down to the TV lounge whilst he shouted endlessly, waiting for someone to crack and admit to it. The culprit ended up being a rat that had died in one of the drains.

I remember the sickening feeling, when after a brief lull in his temper, something would trigger him and he would start another campaign of berating the kids for some usually imagined discretion. Sometimes one of the kids would do something that landed them in genuine trouble. I remember two lads writing on the shower windows, which later steamed up to reveal some crude comments about the deputy housemaster Paul Andrews. They were rooted out and punished with the slipper. One of them told me how he had tried to escape Tony Hardy’s clutches whilst the slippering went on, only to be grabbed by the shoulder and dragged back into the room. It went on for ages, you could hear the sound of it and it was just sadistic. I remember seeing the horrific bruises when they the kids showered the next day. I have never seen bruises like them in my life, it was horrific.

Tony Hardy has complex personality and metal health problems, coupled with a severe problem with alcohol. He would go from being a monster to selecting kids for special treatment. At other times he would hold these weird night prayer vigils at the chapel where he would get kids singing Taize Chants by candle light. It was always paradoxical and always unpredictable.

(Note from  Pat – https://www.thetablet.co.uk/news/11760/-prior-admits-to-cases-of-sexual-abuse-by-taiz-brothers)

At the end of the 3rd Year, I had a year of respite at Goldrood, with Paul Begg. He got a bad rap from many of the kids but he was harmless and could be quite kind at times. It felt safe at Goldrood at least.

By the time I was in the 5th Year, a decision had been made to turn Goldrood into the house for the 3rd and 4th Years, if I remember correctly and the 5th Year was to go back to Birkfield and to Tony Hardy. I don’t know what the rationale was, perhaps Brother Hennessey, the Headmaster, and Mr John Reagan, the Deputy Head, had decided that Tony Hardy was not safe to look after younger children, but that is pure speculation. We returned to Birkfield and to Tony Hardy’s escalating unpredictability, violent temper and out of control alcohol use.

In some respects, Tony Hardy seemed to get on better with older kids, but it didn’t stop his violet outbursts. He could be something of a rebellious character, challenging aspects of the school, whilst also berating the kids. I think I developed an element of Stockholm Syndrome at that time, but was always fearful of his wrath. Unfortunately, I also had him as an English teacher and he would shout and scream at the class, flinging desks about and picking on anyone he took a dislike to in the moment. I learnt to show no emotion. Any expression on the face could lead him to accuse you of smirking, or showing some other sign of disrespect, and he would loom over you screaming. I remember the feeling of weariness that pervaded that year. It was exhausting on the nervous system.

At the same time, he would often have kids in his flat drinking with him. I remember a party after a confirmation ceremony where several teachers and us kids stayed up late drinking whisky and getting obliterated. It was wrong.

The incident that CS endured happened not long after this time. The teachers and the school authorities knew that Tony Hardy was a risk to kids. Everyone could see it and hear it. They were utterly complicit and failed to act to safeguard children under their watch. I recognise this was the 1980s and it was different then, but I’m afraid that doesn’t wash with me. Tony Hardy was psychopathic and needed to be stopped. And people failed to act in good time. I also recognise that the school preached paradoxical values about being tough and not showing emotion, as if somehow, we were supposed to put up with this stuff. I imagine some of the kids still live by these rules.


Tony Hardy’s legacy for me is one that I still wrestle with. For years after, and I left the school at the end of the 5th Year, I had nightmares in which he was stalking me down the corridors, shouting and throwing things. He was a looming and menacing presence in my dreams. I still do get dreams in which he appears, particularly if I am stressed. When I am in any conflict situation, I can feel myself locking down, my facial expressions go into neutral and I can feel myself dissociating. It doesn’t have to be a major conflict; it can be someone just raising their voice. I get a fight or flight response. It impacts on my ability to trust people and form attachments, although I accept that even a good boarding school experience can have that impact too. (Nick Duffell’s ‘The Making of Them’ is a good book to read about the whole boarding school experience).

Whilst at St Joseph’s I was also sexually assaulted by a visiting religious Brother from Spain, who had come over with a group of Spanish students. He groomed me into coming back to his flat to help him translate a book he was reading into English. For years I felt ashamed and stupid for having fallen for his ruse. It was naïve, but I had no idea. At his flat he sat groping me whilst I read the English translation, until I was finally able to get away. It could have gone a lot further but it left me angry and ashamed. I didn’t tell the school; I think I knew they would have swept it under the carpet or somehow blamed me. They certainly wouldn’t have involved the police.

A quick note on the De La Salle Brothers – they were on their way out by the time I was 13 or 14. Brother Cuthman was there, Brother Damien was retiring and Brother James was mostly out of the way keeping bees.

(Note from Pat. I’m wondering if this is the same Brother James from my era, the 1960s. It’s possible he could have returned to St J’s  after some years at Beulah Hill to retire and keep bees. 

If anyone can confirm this, it would be useful because it would mean that he was still potentially in contact with children at this later period.)

 Brother Owen was around for a few years; he was still teaching the 6th Form. Strangely he wrote to me a few years after I left wanting to meet up. I don’t know what for or why me. I ignored it. I had better things to do with my time, like sitting in the park drinking bottles of Thunderbird wine.

Like CS concludes, there were certainly good times. I was lucky to have some good friends, although I don’t keep in touch with many people from that time now. When I left, I was scarred by the experiences and I didn’t want too much to do with the place. I had something of a breakdown as I was leaving and I knew I couldn’t go back. I do go back to Ipswich for work from time to time and it evokes a lot of memories.

I hope CS has managed to find some peace. I remember him as a good person and he didn’t deserve to be singled out that night. Nobody did.


A breakdown can be a breakthrough to a new beginning, so I hope the people get the life they are owed if they have been through tough times and are still waiting. Get help if you need it. It is not a sign of weakness; it is a sign of courage and strength.

DE LA SALLE UPDATE – BROTHER LAURENCE & MORE

Here’s an email from the 15th July from Des Bill, SCOE. I’d guessed SCOE was no more as I couldn’t find their website. Quite a lot to absorb, but my first thought is it means a delay in outstanding DLS matters as new connections are made with RLSS, the successor to SCOE, and they take time getting into their stride.

A couple of months, maybe?

Meantime, it will be interesting to know more about Brother Laurence.

Dear Pat,

I am sorry for the delay in getting back to you.

I have been waiting for confirmation on the outcome to the investigation

following receipt of allegations made against Bro Laurence Hughes (LH).

De La Salle (DLS) in the near future will be making a statement about of the

outcome of the investigation and I understand this statement will contain an

apology to victims and will be published. I will ask DLS to make the

statement easily accessible, through their website or to others if/as

requested (* see note below).

I understand that LH no longer holds any leadership or safeguarding role

within DLS.

In respect of other allegations and complaints I would ask any victim to

consider disclosing any abuse to the police and to return to the police if

they felt their allegation was not addressed appropriately at the time.

DLS will report any allegation received to the relevant police force via

Operation Hydrant.

I would advise Rafael to make contact again with DLS if he felt he was not

listened to or offered any support from them, outlining what he would seek

from them in tangible support.

He could also consider talking again to the police about this or seek

further legal advice to help him.

I would also encourage Rafael, or others , to consider accessing support and

advice from Safe Spaces the independent organisation managed by the charity

Victim Support who support, advise, and walk the journey with any person who

was a victim of abuse within the Catholic or Church of England Church in

England and Wales.

Since the end of June, the safeguarding commission for religious orders in

education (SCOE) is no longer functioning and its work has closed.

This includes my involvement with SCOE Orders.

DLS, along with most religious orders, are now members of the Religious Life

Safeguarding Service (RLSS) and receives support and advice on all aspects

of safeguarding including allegation management.

It will be through this joint working that any decisions on safeguarding

matters will be addressed in the future.

*As this relationship is only beginning it may add some initial delay in

communications being made by DLS.

Further information can be found on:

www.safespacesenglandandwales.org.uk

<http://www.safespacesenglandandwales.org.uk>

Best wishes,

Des

GUEST BLOG   CALDEY ISLAND – CISTERCIAN MONKS

I was talking to fellow survivor Kevin O’Connell yesterday about Caldey Island  and abuse by the Cistercian monks which he outlines in his guest blog, SEE BELOW.

Poor and deprived Catholic children – many from the Birmingham diocese – were sent on holiday to Caldey Island where the monks were waiting for them… It’s a familiar story.

Kevin is a vigorous campaigner, with plans to go to Rome in pursuit of his cause. His story has been covered on BBC Wales https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-59479131, but needs wider coverage.

Apart from Caldey Island, Kevin has also related the Catholic trafficking of  children in Southern England.

His story is relevant to this site because, alongside the story of systemic De La Salle abuse at St Joseph’s College, Ipswich, and that of Stephen Smith  (‘The Boy in the Cellar’ book where Stephen recounts St William’s organized De La Salle abuse), it means there are now THREE proven examples of organized, systemic Catholic abuse in the UK.

Organised abuse – Catholic paedophile rings –  in the laity, the Knights of St Columba, and amongst cleric and religious orders like the De La Salles and the Cistercians – has yet to be acknowledged by the Church.

Officially it never happened and all concerned have shown no interest in following up proven cases.

So it’s fallen to survivors to present the evidence that organized abuse was endemic in Catholic society and may still be. These crimes don’t go away in one or two generations – much as they’d like us to believe it.

Three examples should be more than enough. Possibly we will have to wait until there are six or more examples before the Church will admit it contained and maybe still contains organized paedophile rings.

It may take a public enquiry, as Kevin suggests, or some other independent means to expose the truth.  Certainly it won’t come from Catholic organizations themselves.

The slowness and indifference of the De La Salles and the Knights of St Columba in dealing with these crimes is certainly noted.

They clearly don’t care if children may still be at risk.

Let’s hope the Cistercians are different.

On 21 Jun 2022, at 19:46, KEVIN O’CONNELL <kevinoconnellandco@hotmail.com> wrote:

Hi.

Thanks for your interest in our campaign Caldey Island survivors.

I suffered 50 years because of the horrible abuse from monks and priests.

I came out about it in late 2018 and since then with the help of Dinah Mulholland and others have campaigned for a public inquiry and to bring the Monks on Caldey into the UK laws and provide a independent safeguarding for children from Catholic Churches and schools still retreat on Caldey Island.

The abbot stated that they retain the right to oversee past present and future child abuse.

The whole story of Caldey and priests from Sussex/Surrey has not been told, this is why we need a public enquiry.

The police failure is unforgivable.

What I witnessed while on retreats on Caldey is industrial abuse of hundreds and possibly thousands of children, the poor, the weak and vulnerable children. Taken to the caves ,ruins, sand dunes and the monks cells in the ruins. Abusers would travel by boat daily as Caldey was well known for paedophiles

As a safe haven for them. Also the abbey hid paedophiles from the police.

But please have a look at our Facebook page Caldey  Island survivors campaign.

Web site caldeyislandsurvivors.org.

It would be lovely if you could help us .

I often ask people what do they see when they  close their eyes  at night, because what I see is the eyes of the children being dragged away to be abused.

INVESTIGATION INTO DE LA SALLE ABUSE 

CURRENT POSITION

desbill.scoe@gmail.com

SCOE  – Safeguarding

Dear Des Bill

I wanted to see what the latest situation was regarding the numerous allegations of abuse by old boys, including myself, at the hands of the De La Salles. Not only at St Joseph’s Ipswich, but also Beulah Hill and elsewhere. As you know, they are all recorded on this website and have also been available in summary for an investigator’s convenience.

I’m aware that they have been sent to police Operation Hydrant, via yourself and Catholic Safeguarding, and I look forward to their response in due course. 

The DLS have also contacted Suffolk police  – see below – and this may be part of the Hydrant investigation or separate. It’s not been made clear and it would be useful to know.

It was also stated by the DLS spokesperson that an independent investigator would be commissioned to look into these allegations which he said were  ‘unheard of’.

‘ most of the accusations made on Mr Mills blog were “completely unheard of”, he (Hudd) said. 

See EADT December 11 2021

https://www.ipswichstar.co.uk/news/st-josephs-ipswich-abuse-monks-ask-police-8553626

“With regards to St Joseph’s, we’ve put the ball in Suffolk Constabulary’s court”, Mr Hudd said. “It’s up to them to work out what happened and if the abuse truly was systemic. 

“We’ve also hired our own independent and experienced child abuse investigator to assist the police. 

In fact ‘most’ allegations were ‘heard of’ and were  familiar to the DLS as survivors of Brother Kevin’s abuse prove on this site. And the Beulah Hill survivors who have made numerous allegations on line about Brother Solomon. 

For the DLS to claim they were unaware of these allegations and more is unconvincing.

The DLS own records will confirm that ‘most’ were ‘heard of’ as I’m sure Hudd knows only too well.

Moving onto the investigation, I have not had any contact from an investigator. But how else are they to reach the authors of the various allegations on my site?

We have been waiting these many months and nothing has happened. Who the investigator is has not been revealed to us.

I have the strong feeling that the investigator – six months later – has done nothing.

Is that the case?

You will recall that when the DLS provincial Laurence Hughes was being similarly investigated for allegations of his violent abuse of children, I put your independent investigator’s details on my site. Consequently, several Old Boys got in touch with the investigator.

As a system, it worked well and I have no complaints.

Surely that is the way to go here?

On which subject, I’m sure survivors of Hughes’s alleged violence would like to know what is happening. I understand that police action against Hughes is not proceeding? Is this correct? But I believe you said that – whatever the legal outcome – there would then be an internal inquiry? 

Is Hughes now reinstated as head of the DLS or has he ‘retired’ ? I think the survivors of his alleged assaults would like to know. 

I’m putting this letter up on my blog so survivors can be kept in the loop. I look forward to hearing from you.

Pat Mills