MIKE KEARNEY (1): RECOVERING MEMORIES

I’ve been prompted to write again about Mike Kearney, the lay Irish chemistry teacher at St Joseph’s College, Ipswich. For anyone not familiar with this man, he taught from the late 1950s to the 1980s. There’s plenty of accounts of his brutality on this blog, seen by apologists as ‘normal’ for the time, and one account by an Old Boy of his racism. Whether this is connected to Kearney having spent some time in apartheid South Africa, I have no way of knowing.  It has been challenged by a white Old Boy as ‘not true’. Several Old Boys also thought he was a poor chemistry teacher. Personally, I thought he was ‘okay’, but then I was a poor chemistry pupil. I think Old Boys generally are divided between seeing him as ‘stern but fair’, ‘his bark worse than his bite’ and others regarding him as a violent, cruel sadist. Given that he punched a boy in the face and had to apologise to him, I subscribe to the latter camp.

i don’t accept these were ‘different times’. Punching a child in the face, then and now, is a criminal offence.

St Joseph’s today, although it claims to have no connection with its dubious and  criminal De La Salle past, where organised sexual abuse in the 1960s and beyond is now a matter of record, had a Mike Kearney Memorial Chemistry prize. I think this has now been withdrawn, I certainly hope so because this individual does not deserve to be remembered in a positive light.

But my concern has always been about a much darker side to him which resulted in my spending considerable time and money in therapy trying to make sense of really terrible memories about him. The more I looked into them, the worse they got.  Daymares, nightmares, PTSD flashbacks, you name it. I tried blocking my memories of him, but it  didn’t work.  My experience of recovered memories was similar to the account below.

Where other St Joseph’s abusers are concerned, I’ve pretty much laid them to rest. Although, I’m touching wood here, of course.  Kearney was more problematic and there’s a reason for this. The awful events concerning him happened outside the school, so there were not the usual witnesses to validate my recovered memories.

 Nearly all survivors who write into this site are boarders and I used to thank my lucky stars I was a day boy.  In fact, it’s an illusion I used in order to survive. Day boys could also be in danger and I’m sure I wasn’t alone.  My mother was a devout, Irish Catholic widow with no income, no job and recurring mental health problems, probably worsened by medication both legal and illegal. Father Jolly, our parish priest and St Jo’s chaplain, whose crimes have been detailed on this blog by at least one other Old Boy, was a drug supplier which may sound unlikely but I can assure you is true. He was not the only one. Leaving aside for now the question of how my mother could afford to send her two sons to a posh Catholic grammar school (neither of us had passed the eleven-plus), it meant we were a prime target for Catholic predators.

These predators, from my primary school days through to secondary school, were sometimes given the right to act  ‘in loco parentis’. It was felt boys needed ‘a strong fatherly hand’, especially in 1950s Britain and –if they had been genuine – I would possibly agree.  It’s also the supposed norm in Catholic communities that the poor and the widowed are supported and so a series of predators used this to their advantage. In our tightly knit Catholic community, Catholic widows were also considered ‘fair game’ and a better alternative to having affairs with Protestants or not ‘sullying’ unmarried Catholic women. I’m pretty certain it also had some pseudo-religious rationalisation.   

I’ve been able to prove the conduct of a number of these predators to my satisfaction: Canon Burrows (Knight of St Columba), Father Wace (probably KOSC), Father Jolly (KOSC, St Joseph’s chaplain and our local parish priest), two or more lay Knights of St Columba, and… a couple of lay teachers from St Joseph’s. That sounds like an awful lot, but we’re talking over a fifteen year childhood and some of these characters may have only had brief involvement as ‘do-gooders’ or rather ‘do-badders’.

Kearney had such a ‘loco parentis’ role.

The predators’ exact terms of reference and their relationships with my mother must have varied considerably.  Some may have been interested in my mother, others her sons, yet others in both. Certainly widows – then and now – are prime targets for predators and it’s a well-known technique for abusers to relate romantically towards the mother in order to get at the kids.  Canon Burrows, the first, typically always around our house doing ‘little jobs’ and mysteriously paying for school extras,  was a truly vile sexual abuser. So were most of the other ‘father figures’ that  I’ve listed that followed him, although not necessarily all. Some may well have just been interested in my mother and not her children.  It’s not easy to be sure every time. In some cases I’ve had to speculate about the real nature of the relationships and, of course, it’s impossible to know with absolute certainty. Much of the time everyone was very ‘discreet’.

The dynamics of just how Catholic predators exploit Catholic widows like my mother and the way she would have been groomed to fulfil a certain role in her Catholic community, I would only have been dimly aware of as a kid.  It’s a role Catholics will, of course, deny then and now.  Like they’ve denied so much abuse that’s subsequently been proven.

Here’s a brief example. She was ‘put in charge’ of a young French Father Gonnet who, mysteriously, was having an extended ‘holiday’ in our industrial town. She was told to ‘look after him’, so he was always round our house having tea when I came home from school. They got on extremely well and he was always making a fuss of me, too. We would also go on picnics to Stratford St Mary, a couple of miles down the road from East Bergholt where Gonnet was staying with the local Franciscans . Their place was a very convenient location for him to abuse.  Gonnet and these far from holy Franciscans left a deep trauma scar on me, which I still resent, because my abiding recollection of this particular predator is ‘The bastard was only staying in Ipswich for a few weeks.’  A few weeks is all it takes.

 I knew my mother had a kind of exalted status in the parish and this was certainly her own perception of herself, but I knew also there was something ‘not right’, something ‘odd’, ‘evasive’ and ‘mysterious’ about her. Trying to make sense of her behaviour, her constant absences for instance, I was a latch-key kid yet she had no job, I read everything I could about fictional women like her and that helped considerably. As an adult, I can  fill in the blanks from my life experience and examples such as Gonnet. Doubtless you can do the same. I’ve had to outline the role of my mother because it’s most relevant to Kearney as he, too, had this loco parentis role which will be more defined in later posts.

Kearney was a particular threat because I was older when we clashed and starting to make sense of the world.  And, unlike the previous men, he didn’t have a  typical ‘cover story’ for his involvement with my mother AFAIK,  e.g. he wasn’t in the church choir. In fact his cover story was to go boot camp on me, to ‘bring me to my senses’, to stop being a rebellious teenager. But there was much more to him than this.

As you can imagine, in such a world, everything is ‘smoke and mirrors’, everything is deliberately mysterious, vague and hard to pin down in order to keep victims off balance.  

My agenda in writing about Kearney is firstly as a catharsis. Secondly, because it may help other survivors dealing with recovered memories and highlight how predators work. Thirdly, it’s to name and shame him.

Finally, because it may resonate with other Old Boys who may have other information about Kearney that dovetails with my account, although – as I’ve said – because this happened outside the school, it’s far less likely. But do get in touch if you can shed any light.

And this account, of course, bears out that I have no financial agenda. The De La Salles can’t be held responsible for or be financially liable for what this creep got up to outside school hours.  And so it adds to the validity of my case. Why would I spend so much time and energy on Kearney, when I have far better things to do with my life?

I’ll write more about Kearney in subsequent blogs.

This woman’s experience below of recovered memories (she’s not a Catholic AFAIK) pretty much dovetails with mine and I’m sure with many survivors of the De La Salles.

I realise all this may be upsetting or triggering to read for some, so I’d like to end with a cheerful anecdote to show how, despite everything, we survivors can beat these scum.

I was sixteen. I would leave home a few months later and Kearney’s connection with my family was over, as short-lived as all the previous predators.  My brother and I were drinking beer in a pub by the Old Cattle Market –I think it was the Plough.  I was excitedly talking to my brother about a gig we were going to at the Assembly Rooms next door. I believe it was Murray and the Mints,  they were St Jo’s boys who had a real ‘Animals’ sound, mouth organ etc, and I’m a huge fan of the Animals. ‘We’ve got to get out of the place’ wasn’t just an anthem for Vietnam soldiers, it was my anthem to escape the Catholic Church.

Then Kearney came in, ordered a pint and sat at a table on his own. We both recognised each other but said nothing.  There’s a look lonely men who drink alone in pubs have, which we all recognise, and Kearney had that look big-time. His shoulders were rounded, drooping with depression, as he stared down into his pint. I think his first-wife had died some years earlier, but that was something I’d been told on the playground grapevine, so I may well be wrong.  Whatever the reason, he was definitely down in the dumps.

Then he looked across and I could see he was weighing up whether or how to rain on my parade. As he had done until recently. In those days, there was no ID and anyway, like any self-respecting 16 year old, I’d have lied. And bar tenders don’t care. So he knew his options were limited.

I knew he was going to do something, because he always had to win, but I was ready for him. I’d taken more than enough shit from him and I was a very feisty teenager.

He finished his pint and came over. He looked sternly down at me, hoping to intimidate me.

‘Does your mother know you’re here?’

‘Yes,’ I lied defiantly, ready for him to use physical force on me.  Again.

The expression on my face was clearly saying, to paraphrase the Animals, “It’s my life and I‘ll do what I want. Drink what I want. I’ve left school, you’ve got no power over me anymore.’

There was an awkward pause. Then Kearney nodded, defeated, impotent to do anything other than show his disapproval. He stumbled off into the night. A sad, lonely loser.

That was the last time I ever saw Kearney and I can still remember the feeling of exhilaration that I’d defeated him.

Then I got back to talking about much more important matters than this odious prat – like that forthcoming gig watching Murray and the Mints.

I was finally free.

Below is a survivor’s account on Instagram which I found incredibly useful and sums up how recovered memories work.

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

SONIA POULTON SHOW : RISE WITH BNT

I was on the show on Friday talking about organised Catholic abuse involving the De La Salles and the Knights of St Columba. Past AND present. I managed to give an over-view of their crimes. Hope to go into detail in specific areas of their systemic abuse on a future occasion.

It was recorded, so you can see it here:

https://brandnewtube.com/v/jLXO9f

My piece starts just after 1:04 

THE DE LA SALLES – WHAT’S THE NEXT STEP?

I’ve just sent SCOE and DLS Safeguarding – the two relevant Catholic Safeguarding organizations –  the summaries of evidence on Brothers Kevin, James, Solomon, Father Jolly the DLS school chaplain, and a summary of other DLS abusers.

These summaries will greatly facilitate the work of the investigations detailed below. It’s hard trawling through the numerous testimonies posted on this site over several years and my summaries are designed to make life easy for DLS Safeguarding and SCOE.

Here’s my understanding of what is currently happening:  There are THREE strands of investigation into the DLS which is encouraging.   However, they appear to overlap which – hopefully – won’t be a problem.

The three strands are:

1.The DLS Safeguarding Inquiry. 

Here’s the newspaper account revealing the inquiry.

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

But to quote from it:

Barry Hudd, head of safeguarding at the De La Salle Brothers, said the order wanted to “clear the whole thing up”. 

He added that while there have been more than 200 abuse claims made against the order from across the UK, until now only a handful have come from St Joseph’s. 

One of these, he said, was settled recently outside of court, but most of the accusations made on Mr Mills blog were “completely unheard of”, he said.

“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. 

Previously, DLS Safeguarding had set up an Independent Investigator to look at De La Salle Brother ‘A’  which may still be ongoing, so I won’t comment on that matter. Other than to say their Investigator was Jo Norman whom I found tremendously helpful to talk to. Other Survivors have said the same thing.

However, no one from DLS Safeguarding has been in touch with me thus far regarding this new investigation, even though I understand it’s based entirely on the testimonies on this site.

And one survivor  recently wrote direct to DLS Safeguarding with his well documented account of abuse and was disappointed by their brief response.

So I have a question for the DLS:

Has the DLS independent Investigator been appointed? 

Because we were told by SCOE when Jo Norman was appointed. I think we should be similarly told by DLS Safeguarding what is going on and who the Investigator is.

2. The SCOE. Safeguarding Commission for Orders in Education (SCOE). 

Its Independent Chair is Rev Dcn  Des Bill.   He informed me:

“De La Salle have now written to the police asking them to investigate all allegations and concerns made about the order and any members of it.”

The SCOE themselves have also already been dealing with complaints of DLS abuse. Des Bill has  been forwarding the testimonies on this site to the police of Operation Hydrant (see below).

Possibly DLS Safeguarding will do the same separately via their Investigator or will co-ordinate with SCOE?

Des Bill was also involved in the investigation into De La Salle Brother ‘A’.  In fact, I thought it was SCOE who had initiated it.  But a reporter told me that De La Salle Safeguarding had advised her that they initiated it not SCOE. 

So I assume that SCOE acted at the original  ‘front person’  for DLS Safeguarding and that they liaised behind the scenes.

However, here’s what Jo Norman said herself:

I am an Independent safeguarding consultant who has been commissioned to provide management of all complaints against  Brother ‘A’ and to support the SCOE (Safeguarding Commission for Orders in Education) in making decisions regarding these complaints. 

Catholic Safeguarding (Chair: Nazir Afzal ) are NOT involved.  Their full name is Catholic Standards Agency: CSSA. They are a completely new and separate organization.  They deal with abuser priests and are not involved with religious orders like the DLS.

3. Ipswich police

If an abuser is still alive, it’s relatively simple for a Survivor of the abuse to get a response without going through this complex system.  Ipswich police will  deal with you direct. I found them helpful and pro-active.

But if the abuser is dead, the complaint goes to Operation Hydrant. This is an umbrella police organization dealing with historic and systemic abuse.

It is still handled from Ipswich, but the police tell me they require an authorised intermediary   – like Jo Norman – to  present the information to Hydrant.

That sounds simple enough, but there are inconsistencies. Thus Des Bill has been sending testimonies from my site to Hydrant without such an intermediary.

Maybe this happened because the information was already summarized which would usually be the job of an intermediary.

And at least two DLS Survivors have reported historic abuse – where the DLS abuser is dead – to Ipswich police who have responded direct to them.  Maybe they didn’t need an intermediary because they were ‘one off’ cases.

                                                         ……………………..

The three strands are confusing, a little contradictory, and there is a noticeable lack of detail.   

But I’m hoping these two Catholic Safeguarding organizations will make things clearer for us all in the future.

We need full transparency to avoid going round in circles and in line with the recent Elliott Report which said Safeguarding Officers should adopt a more compassionate, communicative and respectful attitude to Survivors.

The lack of communication I’ve described is certainly not in line with the Elliott Report.

WHAT DOES A SURVIVOR OF DLS ABUSE DO NEXT?

I’m asking both DLS Safeguarding and the SCOE for some guidance here and I think we all need some answers from them to the questions and my suggestions below.

Here is an example of a key case.

Survivor Z has written a detailed and important testimony about a  dead DLS sexual and physical abuser. It’s been backed up by supporting evidence by other Survivors.  It’s in the evidence posts I’ve sent the Safeguarding agencies.

And it should be backed up by further evidence in the DLS files. There is no way this DLS abuser’s sexual and physical abuse crimes could have been unknown by Oxford (The DLS HQ). There would be many complaints about him.

As with all the evidence I have presented, I strongly dispute that they are ‘completely unheard of’ as the cases themselves make clear.

So what happens next? 

1)Does Z wait until Hydrant gets in touch with him ?

Or will the DLS Safeguarding independent Investigator seek to also get in touch with him before passing the same evidence to Hydrant?

2)The Investigator  or Hydrant can get in touch with Z by contacting me and I will pass on their request.

And the Investigator can ask me – from looking at the evidence summaries I’ve provided – who else they would particularly like to get in touch with. I will happily act as facilitator for them.

 If that is not acceptable, we need to know why. 

 3) An alternative would be for the Investigator to place a request for information on my blog, asking survivors to come forward.  This has been done before and I believe it worked well. 

But a few important testimonies will need addressing separately. For example, if a Survivor who made a key testimony rarely reads my blog, so he’s not going to know about the Investigator’s request.  Then I would need to contact them.

4) Or should Z write to the DLS Investigator or DLS Safeguarding?  Bearing in mind his testimony has already gone to SCOE and thus onto Hydrant.

5)Can SCOE and DLS Safeguarding tell us how they avoid this possible duplication and a Survivor like Z telling his story twice to two overlapping organizations?

6) The DLS files in Oxford will be bulging with information on the most notorious DLS abusers:  Solomon, Kevin and James.  If an Investigator goes to those files FIRST, it should confirm many of their crimes.

So how necessary is it for all Survivors to be contacted and repeat their allegations which are painful to recount?

Bearing in mind the Elliott Report asks Catholic Safeguarding agencies to have a more compassionate and kindly approach in future.  

For example, the DLS Investigator should be able to confirm from the DLS  files alone that Brother James was a violent abuser who had psychotic episodes.

There must also be a dozen accounts of  Brother James’ violence on my blog which bear this out. Contacting all survivors would be laborious and may be unnecessary when the DLS already know he is guilty.

In my opinion, the DLS  acknowledging that James was guilty of psychotic  violence should be a relatively simple matter, irrespective of Hydrant. Then it’s up to individual Survivors to decide what to do with that DLS acknowledgement next.

In fact, it hardly needs to go through Hydrant, taking up valuable police time, especially when they seem overloaded with work which may mean it could take some considerable time before they respond – this is according to Barry Hudd, the DLS Safeguarding Officer.

If that proves to be the case, I will have to look at the implications. Namely : are the DLS being obstructive and against the recommendations of the Elliott Report?

There is a simpler solution if the DLS genuinely want to get to the bottom of all this.

 A simple but specific admission of James’ guilt by the DLS would suffice.

The position is similar where Brothers Solomon and Kevin are concerned.

Their cases are provably and emphatically NOT ‘completely unheard of ‘.

7) DLS lay teachers are the responsibility of the DLS, as confirmed by DLS Safeguarding saying that they are looking into Mike Mercado. But I think we want to be sure.

So here’s another key question to DLS Safeguarding:

Will you please confirm that DLS lay teachers detailed in the relevant evidence summary are included in your investigation?

8)DLS Safeguarding started off on ‘the wrong foot’ with Survivors as I’ve previously exampled. (e.g their not-so-public ‘public’ apology). It would be good if we can put that behind us now. 

I’m prepared to do so, if I see there’s a change of attitude from now on.

Bearing in mind  the sensitivity of the issues, the opening of old wounds, the huge emotional toll to Survivors of DLS crimes, and the recommendations of the Elliott Report for Catholic Safeguarding agencies to do much better:

Is there anything DLS Safeguarding and/or the Investigator would like to say to help Survivors just now?  I will happily post it on my blog without comment.

9) Finally, there’s the whole issue of proper DLS apologies and proper DLS acknowledgement of crimes, but I think that’s worth addressing in a later, separate post, possibly as the investigation proceeds.

ST JOSEPH’S COLLEGE  MEMORIES  – 1954 to 1957

I am indebted to HERB, an American retired Law Enforcement officer, who was a boarder from 1954 to 1957.  I wish I had his memory and eye for detail!

The priest Herb refers to would have been Father Jolly. I was an altar boy, too, but at St Mark’s on Chantry Estate from around 1959 – 60.  Previously we went to the chapel at St J’s from 1958 or 1959 and Jolly was definitely the priest and he’d held that post for some time.

Good morning, Pat.  Central Standard Time 8:50 A.M.  Your blog has rekindled many memories and your invitation to relate the good, bad, ugly, school life at St. Jo’s has brought to mind many thoughts about that place.   Ref anonymity?  Use what ever information from me that you deem useful.  If I omit things intentionally, I’ll let you know.  Otherwise, help yourself.   A little info on how I ended up at St. Jos:  When my stepfather was transferred to Mildenhall from the US there was no room on the base for dependent housing.  The US Air Force was shuffling troops around and housing became jammed with people coming and going.  As a result, we lived in an apartment in Newmarket.  I was unable to attend American school on the base because of overcrowding so I was enrolled in Newmarket Secondary Modern School.  An anxious 13-year-old American kid without baseball???  Unthinkable.  And, football?  Looked like the yet popular game of soccer.   My mother said “no big deal, we all speak English”.  Of course, I could not understand but a few words, phrases, and the slang drove me nuts.  My math was terrible and counting money in the pre-decimalization age added to my misery.   After a short period of time we moved to Burwell and I was sent to St. Joseph’s College Birkfield in Ipswich. 

Your blog has opened my mind to several situations I nearly forgot about.  I’ve also learned (from your blog) that the de la salle brothers have last (sir) names.  I had no idea, I thought they chose a saint’s name to honor much the same manner as most orders of nuns do.  So, I’m at a loss to positively identify these so- called men.  The brothers I recall were Brother Damian (the headmaster), a small slight man named Brother de la salle, Brother Peter, and Brother Lawrence (sp).  Brother Peter taught French, English, and lots of sports interactions.  I admired him for his leg speed.  He would pull his cassock up to his knees and run as fast as the wind.  Amazing speed and all the whilst dribbling a football.     It seemed that most of the boys grew up around a football and could do all sorts of maneuvers with it.   It was foreign to me and when I made attempts to master it I tripped and fell down a lot.  Rugby, on the other hand, was a lot of fun.  I was small but maintained good upper body strength and found rewards playing hooker in the scrum.   My only other sporting forte was cross country running.  I ran everywhere and loved it.  The school placed a lot of value on sports.  The brothers were feared and, as I mentioned, corporal punishment was the way everything was disciplined, and there was plenty of it. 

Brother Peter caught me in class on more than one occasion that required my attention to be “adjusted:”  On this particular occasion I was lifting my desk top, so as to not be seen, and whispering to the boy next to me. Brother Peter saw the no talking violation and “invited” me to the head of the class for ‘three of the very best’.   He held my head by holding it with his left hand and gave me three very hard blows to my left side of my face.  I’m sure he was aware of my high tolerance to pain and really “teed off” on me.  My ears rang for a week that would envy the bells at St. Paul’s Cathedral.  My face swelled up to the point they would not allow me to go to town that Saturday, I even had a pink testimonial but still not allowed to leave the college.  One of the lady cooks prepared a cold, wet cloth to press on my face to reduce the swelling.  It was not the only time I was slapped in the face but this one time was the very worst.  One other point that Brother Peter concerned me was he was in charge of the showers.  As you left the showers he would inspect you for cleanliness.  Hands out, arms outstretched, turn them over, exam fingernails, asked several of the boys if the cleaned “down there.”  It was notable that he told the boys who were not circumcised to pull their foreskin back for “further inspection.”  And, he had that sort of gaze during the entire showering time.  I did not trust him but he never bothered me except for punishment. 

Brother Lawrence taught math and English.  He was also our dormitory overseer.  He had a room just off the side of the boys.  Our class rooms were on the ground floor on what I believe is/was called wing 55.  I’m not real sure of the name but can point it out on google earth.  The dorm was on the second floor and our class had half the space on first floor.  There were three rows of eleven beds, with wall lockers on one wall and sinks of the other, windows to the southeast (I think).  We each had daily chores that had to be completed before heading to the chapel for mass, then off to breakfast.  For breakfast we all had oat meal or some sort of porridge dispensed from a large metal pitcher, tea, and toast.  On Sunday we were allowed eggs scrambled.  I don’t recall anything special about the other meals.  Brother Peter was our meal monitor and was seated at one end of the room on an elevated table and chair.  He was served eggs, toast, tea, and bacon at every breakfast.  And, he made no effort to hide it.  The boys were seated at large tables with 4-5 boys on each side facing one another. 

 Brother Laurence would often times leave the dorm 15-20 minutes after lights out.  I assumed he was going to prayers or who knows what he was up to.  I noted that on about half the nights one of three different boys would shortly follow after him.  I had suspicions but as long as I was left alone i figured it none of my bushiness.  Brother Laurence was equally “into” punishment and his favorite target was the backside with the use of a slipper or tennis shoe.  I was amazed how large his feet were.  On one of his absences a few of the boys got into a pillow fight after lights out.  The swinging of pillows was eventually totally out of control and, I venture to say, that every single boy was involved.  On comes the lights and guess who?  The entire dorm was a mess, pillows broke open, scattered all over, beds tipped over and awry, and several boys pleading that they were not involved.  Too bad, Brother Lawrence announced that everyone was to queue up for three of the very best on the back side.  I thought that I might avoid a hard beating if I found my way to end of the line in hopes that he would be tired after wailing 33 boys rears.  Not a clever idea as it turned out as he was still going strong and worked himself into a rage.  It almost seemed he was enjoying the mass punishment. 

We had a priest that said mass, heard confessions, taught catechism, and selected his favorite alter boys.   It was rumored that the alter boys nick a bit of wine from time to time, so naturally, I wanted to be selected.  It never happened.  American boarders were seldom selected for the really desired chores and activities.  I was warned to avoid the priest if at all possible.  I don’t recall his name.  Not much help there but your description in your blog could easily fit

There were 8-10 American boys but none were my age so I was able to stay separated.  The only difference was the American boys were allowed to wear long trousers regardless of their age.  The rest of the younger boys wore shorts and long socks.  Everyone wore gray uniforms, trousers, white shirt, and ties representing their house.  More on the houses later.  The blazers were matching gray to the trousers except in the warmer terms when we were allowed to wear a light weight blazer, red and blue striped, with the school emblem sewed on the pocket.  With the motto Labore Et Tentacitate on the emblem.  I recall when the houses were formed.  I have no idea the logic behind the selection process but all the boys were assigned to one of four houses.  I only recall two house names, Sherwin and Canberra (sp).  I was assigned to Sherwin and our colors were blue and white.  Canberra was green and black.  We wore ties that were our house colors.  The houses were basically the sports team (or work group) you were assigned.  The brothers encouraged fierce competition among the houses.  Again, I played rugby for Sherwin house.  I had plans to play hooker on the school team and travel to matches with other schools, however we moved back to the states before I had a chance.  I’m quite sure I would have been selected to the team and able to wear the red and white colors. 

I made friends easily and had a friend from Pakistan who had a brother at Oak Hill.  He was quite a good runner and, on a few occasions, we would sneak off and run to Oak Hill to see his brother.   I was aware of Oak Hill because I knew a couple of American boys who were there and was able to visit them.  Small wonder we never got caught doing that.   

DE LA SALLES –  THE FINAL EVIDENCE

In preparation for the independent Investigator, I’ve previously summarised the evidence on this blog concerning Brothers James, Kevin and Solomon. Also, school chaplain Father Jolly and the Knights of St Columba and their close links to the DLS.

But it shouldn’t be assumed that the abuse is limited to these rotten apples.

There were many more DLS abusers noted on this blog and elsewhere.   

My concern – and I believe the concern of others – is that there could be a damage limitation exercise to just deal with those criminals as ‘scapegoats’  in Ipswich alone and then claim the matter is dealt with.

That won’t work.

It’s far more wide-ranging and systemic. And if there is a damage limitation exercise, it will only mean ANOTHER investigation LATER because I’m not giving up until the whole rotten orchard is exposed.

Another damage limitation technique is to claim that DLS corporal punishment was ‘normal’ for the times. That won’t work either. It was abnormal and any attempt to spin it away will result in an avalanche of anger from Survivors. See for example, this post with Old Boys’ views about corporal punishment:

https://wordpress.com/post/patmills.wordpress.com/1481

I realize the investigation has to be realistic and set some boundaries. Nevertheless, the DLS is a multi-million pound organization and owes it to survivors to look into these matters properly and comprehensively.

It’s also worth noting that the four abusers detailed on this blog were clumsy criminals. They made mistakes and that’s why they’ve been discovered.

Brother James was a psychopath; he couldn’t control his behaviour. Father Jolly forgot to retrieve the tape recorder he left in the confessional. Brother Solomon and Brother Kevin were such insatiable paedophiles, abusing countless children, and they could not suppress their criminal lust. 

(I have seen evidence that Kevin and Solomon were still in close contact in the 1990s after they had both left the DLS when Solomon was clearly as predatory as ever.)

By comparison, most paedophiles are smarter and better at hiding their tracks.   See the section on DLS Lay teachers.

GEOGRAPHICAL LIMITS OF  DLS SYSTEMIC ABUSE

It would be wrong to investigate Ipswich DLS alone. Two other DLS schools at least are intimately connected with St J’s Ipswich.

As previous evidence has indicated, London Beulah Hill DLS was probably far worse that St J’s. Ipswich.

St Peter’s Bournemouth DLS was also a major concern – not least because it was the start of an escape route for abuser Brothers to flee to France if the police were closing in on them.

London was also where the private hospital was located where DLS victims were treated. Did these young victims, under the aegis of the Knights of St Columba,  come from DLS schools all over the country? 

It should be possible for an investigator to discover by looking at the hospital records.

So where to draw the line?  At just those three schools? An ex De La Salle Brother had this to say:

‘maybe it would have been better if the (DLS) schools in London, Portsmouth, Ipswich Bournemouth, Jersey, Liverpool, St Helen’s, Manchester had never been built.’

In my opinion, ALL DLS schools should be investigated in order to confirm or reject that systemic abuse took place across the whole of the UK and not limited to just Southern England.

Most of the Old Boys at other DLS schools are unaware of  this site, but that is changing and more evidence and testimonies are likely to be forthcoming.

These are just some of the examples I’m aware of:

OTHER DLS SCHOOLS

1)London DLS Blackheath. One survivor had previously complained to the DLS at Oxford about inappropriate violence at the school and was fobbed off by the DLS brother in charge.  

 I believe this survivor has now passed his testimony to SCOE  : Catholic Safeguarding responsible for religious organizations. This is separate to DLS Safeguarding.  (I will look at the confusing nature of  these twin overlapping safeguarding organizations in my next post)

2)Liverpool DLS  https://wordpress.com/post/patmills.wordpress.com/1220

This is a testimony from the 1980s: ‘ i too went to a De La Salle school in Liverpool although it was not a boarding school there were Brothers, of worst sort you could imagine. They were brutal sadistic pedophiles in which one of them was convicted twice of sexual assault named brother Paul.’

3) St  Gilberts  DLS school. A Survivor of this school has informed me when DLS teachers served their sentences for crimes they committed there, they were then sent to another DLS school in Scotland. If correct, this is evidence of systemic abuse.

4) St Ninian’s. See next section item 3 below.

OTHER DE LA SALLE BROTHERS AS SYSTEMIC ABUSERS – THE EVIDENCE

1. Brother Elwin was the headmaster at St J’s Ipswich, mid 1960s, when there was a major cover-up of Brother J’s psychotic sexual violence. As the account describes,’ there was Brother Elwin naked on his bed with a naked kid of only about 12 sitting on his stomach.’ https://wordpress.com/post/patmills.wordpress.com/1029

This testimony has been on my site since March 2020!  So the DLS and SCOE will be aware of it. Yet no one has been in touch to respond or ask to contact the Survivor.  This is a DLS headmaster.

Ignoring this account alone for over a year amounts to systemic abuse by the DLS today.

Apart from the account above, Brother Hugh is also referenced here:

‘Brother Hugh. Actually I am slightly worried that I might be misremembering events because I have seen no reference to him as an abuser but when I was in the 3rd or 4th form he was in charge of our dormitory, and at night regularly positioned himself in a chair next to one particular bed after lights out and abused it’s occupant. One of the boys with a quick wit came up with a re-working of the tune to Dad’s Army which parodied this activity. Was Brother Hugh’s surname Leyland?’

2.Brother Leo. Headmaster St J’s Ipswich. 1960s. Three testimonies on my site of his sexual abuse. He was known as a ‘nocturnal groper’. Here’s the testimony by DN in the comments section of my post  ‘In the La Sallian Tradition 3’:

‘Normally we would fall asleep quickly being 13 or 14 but that night I stayed awake watching Bro.Leo (headmaster at the time) who opened the door to leave but then closed it and stayed still in the corner until he thought we were asleep. I assumed he would walk to the other boy’s bed but instead he came to mine and molested me. Only when I rolled over a couple of times did he stop. The next day I went with the other boy to father Jolly and told him the story. He told us to stay at his house while he went on his own to the Headmaster. Later he came back to say the HM denied it but for our information he was leaving at the end of the term for other reasons!! Father Jolly then took us to the HM’s study and we had to relate the story to his face. He denied it and we left. That was the last I heard of the matter.’’

Once again, Father Jolly is centre-stage in these DLS systemic abuse cover-ups.

3. Joe Homan when he was a DLS Brother at Oakhill. Late 50s approx.There are several accounts of his extreme violence to children on this site. I also have a  testimony of Homan’s serious sexual assault on a pupil at Oak Hill.  I can facilitate that Survivor contacting an Investigator.

This interview below relates to Homan after he left the order:

Recent interview on ABC TV in Australia has some horrible stuff about Homan (about 10 minutes in): http://www.abc.net.au/news/programs/one-plus-one/2018-06-28/one-plus-one:-michael-robotham/9920588

Nevertheless it strengthens the case that Homan should be investigated for his conduct when he was a De La Salle Brother.  It confirms his extreme violence.

4) St Ninians DLS. Brother Thadeus & Brother Benedict.

https://wordpress.com/post/patmills.wordpress.com/1379

The DLS headmaster brother Thadeus ‘set up an elaborate scheme where another boy on promise of release said he did it.’ So Brother Benedict putting a child’s hand in a vice was blamed on another child.

Despite the very recent conviction of Brother Benedict, the systemic abuse involving the headmaster Brother Thadeus does not appear to be addressed and there is no personal apology to the Survivor. Why not?

This all looks to me like a continuation of systemic abuse by the DLS today.

5) This is the view of an ex De La Salle brother about abusers in his order:

‘In my opinion, the biggest disgrace is the cover up with regard to the individuals (albeit a minority) of abusers. Men like this tend to be quite cunning and the rest of us in the rank and file did not know what was going on, beyond a sense of unease, which we were too reticent to share with outside agencies or with the ecclesial authorities at higher levels.’

When systemic abuse is present, it makes reporting abuse difficult and that is  what happened here. Everyone kept quiet. It’s hardly surprising when DLS headmasters like Brothers Leo, Thadeus and Elwin (see above) are sexually abusing children and/or are part of an elaborate criminal cover-up.

LAY TEACHER ABUSERS HIRED BY DE LA SALLES – THE EVIDENCE

Lay teachers were hired by the DLS and are thus their responsibility.  This is confirmed by the DLS acknowledging they are currently looking into lay teacher Mike Mercado.

DLS lay teachers therefore need investigating as well as DLS brothers.   Especially the cover-ups,

At least as many abusive DLS  lay teachers have been mentioned on this site as DLS brothers.  But – generally – they are mentioned briefly in passing and there is less secondary confirmation from Old Boys. Based on my own experiences with DLS lay teachers in the 1960s, I’d say this is because lay teachers were so much better at covering their tracks than abusive DLS monks.

This is not a comprehensive over-view of lay teacher abusers below.

If I’ve missed anyone important, do say and I will add them.  Two lay DLS teachers are excluded from the names below for legal reasons.

1)

ABUSIVE DLS LAY TEACHERS IN THE 1960s.

I’m still collecting evidence on two other abusive DLS lay teachers in this period.  I’ve spent a fortune on therapy over the years and the biggest percentage is  processing my encounters with these two individuals, more so than Brother James and Father Jolly. It’s still a work in progress but what I can say just now is my encounters with these two teachers is once again evidence of DLS systemic abuse.

2)

ABUSIVE DLS LAY TEACHERS IN THE 1970S.

I understand from an Old Boy there are abuse issues relating to at least one lay teacher from this era.  This, too, is a work in progress for the Survivor.

There’s also this testimony from another Old Boy:

‘I was at St Joe’s for many years. I remember them , Bros Cecil, James, Hugh, Damien, Owen, Gerard, Soloman, Denis Robert, Gregory, Benet, Cuthman, Peter, Terrence and others. They seemed all to have some sort of attitude or psychological problem or were perverts. Having spoken to others over the years about this it does seem that all the Del a Salle Schools and Catholic Schools were all the same. I am quite sure all the stories are pretty much true. The film Catholic Boys captures it pretty well. I’m in contact with a number of people from the 60s and early 70s from St Joe’s, I think some have tried to give details to the police. Interestingly and rather oddly one of the number listed above is still around and his partner (female) works for the police in relation to child abuse. Talk about poacher turned game-keeper! He waxes lyrical now about abuse saying ‘it only takes good men to do nothing etc etc’. He knew what was going on when he was at St Joe’s and did nothing. The pious hypocrite.’

3)

ABUSIVE DLS LAY TEACHERS IN THE 1980s.

(Mercado has been covered previously.)

Two abusive PE staff and another lay teacher were mentioned to me in a recent email from an Old Boy. He has contacted Ipswich police.

There is another testimony regarding a further lay teacher:

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 hen 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.

This is a cover-up by the DLS in the late 80s.

Harding may still be alive. If so, that makes this testimony especially important.

I will now  look at what the next step is on DLS abuse investigation. How does the investigation proceed?  How can we Survivors help? Who do we  get in touch with?  My next post.

FATHER JOLLY & THE KNIGHTS OF ST COLUMBA – THE EVIDENCE

First up, I’m ONLY relating the evidence here in the context of systemic De La Salle abuse.

Because I’ve seen too many accounts of Catholic religious orders thwarting  accusations with  ‘No. That’s not our responsibility. It’s the diocese/ the school/ the individual.  It is nothing to do with us.’

But this is very much to do with the De La Salles.

It demonstrates the organised nature of cover-ups within the order.

FATHER JOLLY – CHAPLAIN OF ST JOSEPH’S COLLEGE, BIRKFIELD.

Central to this De La Salle systemic abuse cover-up is Father Bill Jolly, St Joseph’s College chaplain, parish priest for Chantry council estate, and a Knight of St Columba.

Jolly’s father, a passionate religious zealot, was the founder of the Ipswich Knights of St Columba province before the war.  This is not an irrelevant footnote. The Jollies had wealth and status in the Catholic community and Father Jolly – the owner of a yacht moored at Pin Mill –  was no ordinary Knight. He was de-facto ‘the Crown Prince’, the heir to his father’s organization. This helps explain why he took such a central role in the events below.

Jolly was also a sexual abuser himself. But only, AFAIK, as parish priest of Chantry Estate where he exercised a ‘droit de seigneur’  on selected poor and vulnerable children on the council estate like myself. But this was outside the remit of the DLS so I have not related it here.

However, I still think it’s useful to briefly describe the man. He was a calm, aloof,  detached, ascetic man with an upper class accent. The actor Charles Dance always reminds me of Jolly.  Jolly’s cold, laconic and remote character contrasted with his occasional nervous and high-pitched giggle. He was a diabetic who had several coma episodes in the time I knew him. I’m told he was also a heavy drinker. He gabbled his way through the Mass, without any feeling and at high speed and – as a devout Catholic altar boy – this troubled me greatly. I was reassured by my mother that did not detract from his holiness but I was never convinced. Especially when he abused me. He lived in a cottage on the edge of or inside the DLS school grounds. He had a housekeeper there: Mrs Head, a Catholic widow.

Whatever his terms of employment with the diocese or the DLS, he was facilitating systemic DLS abuse at the school.

This included using his role as school chaplain: taping pupils’ sexual confessions in the DLS school chapel. This means he was abusing pupils of St Joseph’s College who were the responsibility of and in the care of the DLS.

Therefore Jolly is very much the concern of the DLS.

In fact, he is as much the concern of the DLS as lay teacher Mike Mercado whom the DLS are currently (December 2021) ‘looking into.’

EVIDENCE OF JOLLY’S INVOLVEMENT WITH SYSTEMIC DLS SEXUAL ABUSE AT ST JOSEPH’S, IPSWICH.

1)

https://wordpress.com/post/patmills.wordpress.com/1029

In this account – in 1964  – St Joseph’s pupil ‘X’ was violently sexually assaulted by Brother James. He was sent to a private hospital in London to recover. This hospital seems to have been arranged by and under the control of the Knights of St Columba.

Jolly visited  X there to discover just how much this victim of DLS sexual abuse remembered. So Jolly was acting as a Knight and the DLS liaison person.  X relates:

 The left hand side of my head had been shaved and I was wearing some sort of white netting over my head. A couple of days went by and I was asked if I was well enough to see a Priest. I said I didn’t feel up to it but Father Jolly just seemed to barge his way into the room and greet me like a lifelong friend. I did not want to speak to that man so when he asked me by my name how I was feeling I had a brilliant idea I said “what did you call me, is that my name who are you.” I started shouting Nurse Nurse – I do not know this man please ask him to leave. He kept insisting I knew him very well and kept asking if I remembered how I got here. I told him I could not remember him or anything else and I wanted him to leave.

The Nurse came back and was very professional indeed and told Father Jolly he must leave because he was upsetting me and she would not take no for an answer. He waited outside the door to my room and asked the Nurse what is going on with that boy quick as a flash she said someone had given him a massive overdose of anesthetic and he is lucky to be alive. Father Jolly said surely he will recover his memory in time she said there was not much hope less than a 10% chance I’m afraid he was left too long before he got proper treatment. Father Jolly left after that.

The Nurse came back in the room and gave me a huge smile and said that sorted him out. I asked her why she had lied and helped me – she smiled and said I went to a Convent boarding school and I recognize his kind a mile off and besides I have seen all the welts on your hands arms and back and I’m pretty sure I know how you got them.

2)

This next  account happened approximately a year after the assault on X.  He had now returned to St Joseph’s and normal school life. After a transgression involving the track run, he was sent to clean the school chapel as a punishment.

https://wordpress.com/post/patmills.wordpress.com/1040

Unlike my own memories which are ‘patchy’, Old Boy ‘X’ has an impressive photographic memory. You will see it in this account : his enviable detail about even small things like the track run.  As he explains:

I go into great detail because it may jog someone’s memory to confirm my account. I was both cursed and blessed with a photographic memory that is a great asset for examination purposes but a nightmare for the rest of your life when you simply cannot forget the things you desperately want to get out of your head.

X  now tells how he overheard Jolly in the confessional talking to a school boy penitent:

“Impure deeds what do you mean, boy? Impure deeds? You can’t lie to God, you know, if you want my absolution” and “do you mean you’ve been playing with yourself – well do you, if so you must tell me” “and how many times” and “have you been playing with any other boy” and “what is this other boys name”.’

Later,  X cleans out the confessional and:

I was absolutely flabbergasted to find one of those old cassette tape recorders the ones with the four or five piano keys on the front lying on the floor. It was open and the tape cassette had been removed but the machine was still very warm. I simply could not believe that a priest would record the confessions of children.

X later concludes:

The recording of those boys confessions could be of no other use than to alert the Brother Director of the College – in case a victim of sexual abuse wanted desperately to be in a state of grace and obtain absolution and ease his tormented soul.

If X is correct, then this is evidence of systemic DLS  abuse.

It’s possible it was also for Jolly’s own gratification.  

This evidence cross-references with my own experience of Jolly as a sexual abuser and an organizer of  paedophile events with the Knights outside the school.

Once again, a personal abuser and also involved with systemic abuse.

 As Jolly’s assaults on me didn’t happen on DLS property, I have not detailed them here, but they are available to an investigator.

THE KNIGHTS OF ST COLUMBA

The Knights describe themselves today as “A lay Order of Catholic men, pledged to support the Church and clergy.”

As I’ve shown, that support is regardless of the cost to children.  Children are expendable in order to protect the good name and reputation of the Church and its religious orders.

Once again, I need to stress that I am only concerned here with how the Knights worked in partnership with the DLS. Or were the Eminence Gris behind the DLS.

And how they facilitated DLS systemic abuse.

Then and now the Knights are a secretive order so my assessment of the relationship between the Knights and the DLS has to be confirmed but the events speak for themselves.

If any Knight would like to explain things further, their views would be most welcome on this site. If required, their anonymity will be respected.

Criminal matters relating to the Knights – and not directly involving the DLS –   have already been forwarded by Catholic Safeguarding to the police’s Operation Hydrant.

Catholic Herald and other accounts confirm that the Knights were responsible for the setting up of the school before the war. Either as financiers or brokers, it’s never made clear. But it’s obvious from the evidence that the Knights and the DLS are closely intertwined and this helps explain the background to X’s account and the way the Knights got involved.

EVIDENCE OF THE KNIGHTS OF ST COLUMBA’S INVOLVEMENT IN DLS SYSTEMIC ABUSE AT ST JOSEPH’S

1)

https://wordpress.com/post/patmills.wordpress.com/1029

This is once again X’s account of Brother James sexual assault on him.

In further private correspondence with X he has related to me MORE aspects of Knights/DLS systemic abuse.  Thus a Knight later arrives at the hospital, sees X’s wounds, and exclaims, ‘Oxford shall hear of this!’  Oxford is the DLS HQ.

X describes the Knights in further comprehensive detail. As this was in private correspondence with me, I haven’t featured it here.

But I can provide an investigator with the relevant information if necessary.

But, frankly, I think the above account tells an investigator everything they need to know.

There are many revealing aspects of systemic abuse here alone which an investigator would need to unpack and shouldn’t require further analysis by me.

But to emphasise just four elements:

*A boy nearly died and this crime was covered up by the DLS and the Knights.

If he had died it would have been manslaughter.

*This private hospital had been used before and probably since to deal with victims of Catholic child abuse. This has profound implications that are surely relevant to a police investigation. That hospital needs identifying and when (or if)  it was no longer used. We can’t just take the word of involved organisations – the DLS and the Knights – that it stopped.

* X’s school fees were paid for by the Knights and/or the DLS.  The Knights acted as an arbitration service providing compensation for X’s injuries.

To quote X:

“Well I cannot tell you the details of the deal I got but I was most insistent on one thing I was not going to be expelled from St Josephs. They agreed to everything but insisted I must never return to St Joseph’s again, guess who won the argument but with a lot of conditions attached.”

*Brother James carried on teaching at St J’s, despite his evil crimes.

2)

Neither my older brother nor I passed the eleven plus, our widowed mother had no job and we were poor.  Yet, astonishingly, our school fees  to go to St Joseph’s  – approximately for 4 years each – were paid by the Knights.  Why?  We all know there is no such thing as a free lunch – especially where the Catholic Church is concerned.

Unravelling the reason is still a work in progress, which is outside the terms of this inquiry.  Thus far.

But I mention it because it is further evidence that the Knights paid school fees under dubious circumstances.

3)

I envy X’s  photographic memory. By comparison, mine is patchy. Thus after Brother James assault on me at age 12, I remember exploding with anger to my mother and refusing to be silenced. Then suddenly I was presented with a brand new, top of the range bike, with twist gear grips, no less! But how? We were poverty-stricken.  I have dim memories of the Knights providing this luxury gift and being told some nonsense about joining their ranks as a Squire when I was older. I lack X’s  detail, but I remember that bike and how it shut me up.

Just as X was silenced.

The Knights seem to be the troubleshooters whom the DLS call in when their crimes are likely to be reported – which I most certainly intended to do. 

3)

The DLS  and the Ipswich Knights of St Columba have known about X’s account for over a year.

I know this is correct from insider sources. And it is a most serious allegation. It should have been acted upon immediately.

According to Catholic Safeguarding, if they become aware of any abuse, historic or current, it is, as a matter of procedure, reported immediately to the police.

So the DLS and the Knights will have similar Safeguarding procedures. Yet they did nothing.

Not enough evidence? How much more evidence would you need than the testimony of a man with a photographic memory?  

Anyone who is innocent, or believes their organisation was innocent, would have also responded with an inquiry, an explanation or a rebuttal. Or an acknowledgement that is was, alas, true.

Instead, both organisations have kept silent, until social media and newspaper pressure have forced the DLS to appoint an investigator.

Without that pressure, the DLS would have remained silent, hoping the allegations would just ‘fade away’.

Even now, the DLS response  is impersonal (no communication with this site), guarded, minimal, mildly sceptical, mildly hostile and guided not by their consciences, but by their Suits.

A pathetic DLS apology derided by all Survivors was written by their Suits.

The Knights also have nothing to say except to flippantly invite me along to their ceremonies.

My understanding of ‘systemic’ includes where there is an organised cover-up, a silencing (e.g. through an NDA), or an investigation is thwarted by being ignored by an organization, obscured or not reported to the police.

 This is therefore a form of systemic abuse by both organisations today.

After Christmas I’ll write a final summary of other evidence of systemic abuse by the DLS, featuring lay teachers, other DLS teachers and other DLS schools.

Then I will forward the evidence files to the relevant organizations for the independent investigator.

Thanks to everyone for your valuable input and testimonies. You’ve made a huge difference already. And there is more to come.

This is never going to go away and they know it.

Have a great Xmas and I’ll do my best to forget this horrid business during the festive season. Hope you can, too.   All the best Pat

DE LA SALLES – IPSWICH STAR REPORT

Here’s the link to an excellent account in yesterday’s regional newspaper.

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

Many of the accounts of St Jo’s Old Boys I didn’t know about and filled me with sadness. 

Boys locked in cupboards and beaten.

A De La Salle abuser who groomed a parent so the son had no one to turn to.

Father Jolly similarly groomed my mother. I’m pretty certain he supplied her with drugs. Think it was valium – ‘mother’s little helper’ – which I believe was seen as a wonder drug back then in the early 1960s.

Another Old Boy who had spent thousands of pounds on therapy to deal with the memories.

Barry Hudd, the Head of Safeguarding for the De La Salles, and the de-facto press officer, seemed surprised that most of the brothers’ crimes on this site had only just come to light.

They were ‘completely unheard of’.

Really?

Like you’re still introducing just a subtle element of doubt, Barry, to minimize the impact of the charges against your order.

Here and elsewhere in your response. E.G. To see  ‘if the abuse truly was systemic.’’

You don’t do yourself or the DLS any favours with your defensive response, Barry.

It means that I personally will redouble my efforts to see justice, every time I get that reaction.

I’m equally surprised by your comment.

Firstly, because the DLS must have a bulging filing cabinet of files on the three most notorious abusers: Brothers James, Solomon and Kevin. Their crimes have been known for years and appeared elsewhere. For example the Crystal Palace football supporters threads which has 21 pages on St Joseph’s Beulah Hill where Solomon and James also taught. Those pages are largely composed of heart-rending and angry accounts by survivors of abuse by the DLS.

Secondly, because the first thing most press officers do every day is Google for any reference to the organization they represent. Especially when they are endlessly being sued for their crimes.

There have been shocking revelations about the Brothers on this blog for the last five years, so Barry and the De La Salles have definitely known about these crimes for some time.

It’s disappointing that they waited until now, when there were so many complaints and reports to Safeguarding, that they were forced to act and finally put their own house in order.

The De La Salles investigation and the newspaper report are just one stage in a process which will take time to complete. But it’s an encouraging first step.

Thus yesterday an Old Boy from St Jo’s Ipswich read the newspaper account and immediately contacted Ipswich police with his own account of what happened to him at St Jo’s.

He was from the 1980s era, and two things he mentioned to me I found of great interest.

He noted that BROTHER CUTHMAN  was a vicious teacher, but was so aged and decrepit he couldn’t quite carry out his violent attacks on boys. I don’t recall his name coming up previously on this site.

He also mentioned that KEARNEY was a brute whom he feared hugely. Just as I remember Kearney from the 1960s.

Kearney has cost me a fortune in therapy bills, so I’m always interested to know more about him in order to get closure on him. It’s a tough one, because he seems to have been personally involved in my family, so not everyone will know what he was like outside the chemistry lab. It was not good, believe me.

I was never convinced that Kearney had mellowed as he got older which was some Old Boys’ experiences. But teachers can leave different impressions on all of us.

Thus BROTHER KEVIN taught me Latin one to one, he was an excellent teacher, I liked him and he never harmed me AFAIK. Maybe I was off limits to him because he always looked oddly at me, like something was going on his mind. Apparently, paedophiles have their designated targets and stay away from others’ targets, it’s part of their modus operandi.  But I completely accept that he was a violent abuser, a sexual abuser, and he harmed many children, leaving considerable emotional scars on them in adult life.

Incidentally, does anyone know if KEVIN is still alive?  I know in 2017 he was close to the end of his life.

Finally, thanks to everyone who contacted the East Anglian reporter Sarah Burgess with your recollections.  You’ve really made a difference!

THE DE LA SALLES – TALKING TO THE LOCAL PRESS

I’ve been talking to the East Anglian Daily Times, the local Ipswich paper, about the De La Salles.

The EADT are keen to speak to other St Joseph’s Old Boys about this whole business and what their take is on the allegations about the order. Your own experiences and so forth.

I think that would be a great idea as I don’t feel I should be the sole media voice on the DLS. It’s important to have different perspectives.

The EADT assure me your anonymity would be completely protected.

If you’d like to get in touch with them, their contact details are below 

EADT CONTACT DETAILS

Sarah Burgess

Investigations Reporter

M: ‪07809551238

E: sarah.burgess1@archant.co.uk

@sarahburgesss

KNIGHTS OF ST COLUMBA, IPSWICH

THE PROFILES

The De La Salle Safeguarding issues are now in hand; they are being looked at by Operation Hydrant and at the order’s request, too. As I reported Safeguarding’s update:
“De La Salle have now written to the police asking them to investigate all allegations and concerns made about the order and any members of it.”

The Knights of St Columba, Ipswich, are very much part of these historic allegations so they will be investigated, too.

Here’s what the CEO of Catholic Safeguarding Standards Agency had to say:

‘The KSC is a lay organisation and isn’t therefore aligned to a diocese or a body such as SCOE for safeguarding services.  The police can liaise directly with me as necessary.’ 

 So it’s now time for me to turn my main attention to them.

Firstly, I would say to the Knights: ‘There’s still time, gentlemen, for you to respond like the De La Salles and ask the police to investigate the allegations and concerns made about your historic organisation. And to carry out your own internal investigation because I am well aware you keep records back to this era.’

‘For example, publish a full list of past members, which could save everyone a great deal of time. That would be extremely helpful and be evidence of your cooperation.’

After all, today’s Knights must share everyone’s concern at the shocking events related concerning their organisation, which are confirmed by more than one witness and have been on my site since March 2020!

However, they show no sign of responding, which I find disturbing.  

Their silence speaks volumes.

In fact, on two occasions two leading Knights from Glasgow, the organization’s city of origin, and possibly its HQ, rather flippantly I felt, asked if I’d like to come along to one of their meetings, presumably to see all the good work I’m sure they do today.

Here’s what one Grand Knight had to say to me:

  My name is Dominic I’m the grand Knight of Co 22 Partick wee meet every 2nd Wednesday of the month please come and join us I will show you how the council works.

These leading Knights had no comment on all the serious allegations made on this site.

I declined, not least because I was present at meetings of the Knights as a child and it was a dark experience.  An experience that has cost me a considerable amount of time and money and is emotionally draining to this day.

I’ve found the best palliative is to pursue this matter to a satisfactory conclusion.

To that end, I’ve summarised key individuals and information as an aide memoir in preparation for Hydrant and to pass onto them.

If you’re wondering why religious orders throughout the UK are now firmly in the investigative spotlight but never  – until now – the Knights when they are intimately connected with the Church and its wrong-doings, I believe there are two reasons. 

Firstly it’s down to the proven neo-masonic, ritualistic, coercive and secretive nature of the Knights in the 1960s which continues to some extent to this day, with media control and black-outs of negative news about them as I’ve previously exampled.

And secondly because the Ipswich province, historically, was made up of upwardly mobile blue collar workers and professionals, like the profiles below.  So lawyers, accountants, doctors, coroners, special constabulary etc, are in a better position to cover their tracks than the DLS whose crimes all of us school children were often aware of. The Knights were – and perhaps still are – powerful and important pillars of the community. As I’ve previously related, the parents of some St Jo’s Old Boys saw them as weird and dangerous characters, ‘not to be messed with’.

The list of deceased Knights of St Columba I am referring to below is their official list, but it is by no means complete.

I have not named all the Knights while I look for further evidence.

My key source for several of my Profiles is ‘The Shocking Truth About St Joseph’s – my old school.’

https://wordpress.com/post/patmills.wordpress.com/1029

 This is backed up by other survivors including myself.  In particular the sexual violence of Brother James is confirmed. I also have further accounts about the Knights activities in this historical era, sent to me personally. These expand on the details in this public account.

Then and now the Knights have an acknowledged interventionist role in the Church helping parishioners in trouble. Even today, I have been told they are seen in some quarters at least as the priest’s ‘assistants’ and this helps explain how their organised historic abuse occurred: ‘Helping’ became a cover for their criminal activities.

PROFILES

1.Canon Burrows. St Pancras. Listed as a Knight of St Columba. Abuser. The abuse took place in the 1950s, my primary school years. When I talked about it, I was physically silenced by the nun headmistress. There’s some indirect corroboration from a fellow pupil.  The Canon was always visiting our home, helping my widowed mother, doing repair jobs and bought my brother and I expensive presents.  I ran away from his car parked at Browns timber yard at age 8 and found my way to the police station and reported him. To no avail, but it was a positive experience because the police were sympathetic. It left me with a life-long impression of the value of ‘whistle-blowing’.

2. Father Wace. St Pancras. Not listed as a Knight, but likely to be one, coming from an upper class Catholic family. Abuser. 1950s. His pyjama jacket was covered in metal collectors’ badges, completely impractical to sleep in.  When, as a child, I saw it casually laid out on his bed in the presbytery, I was in awe which was, of course, the intention. One assault took place when I was a cub and he was the cub master. My time in the cubs then came to an abrupt halt following a confrontation between Wace and a family friend I complained to.

3. Father William Jolly. St Joseph’s College chaplain. Parish priest St Marks. Abuser. Late 1950s to 1960s. His father, also William Jolly, is listed as a Knight and  played a key role in the Church at that time.

I’ve been told by an insider that Knights were transgenerational, so some of today’s Ipswich Knights may have fathers or grandfathers who were Knights in the historic era in question. This has some relevance in an investigation.

Father Jolly drove me to Knights’ events in his Hillman Minx car. He took me out on his yacht and I recall some fairly obvious grooming. Another event at a Knights ‘event’ was more fearful and graphic. He was a heavy drinker and I believe supplied my widowed mother with tranquilizers, probably valium.

A St Joseph’s Old Boy has related how Jolly was taping boys confessions on their ‘impure’ experiences, either for his own gratification or to alert the DLS if boys were complaining about abuse. Possibly both.

That same Old Boy has related how Jolly paid a key role in the Knights cover-up of Brother James’s extremely violent sexual assault on him.  Namely, Jolly visited the private London clinic where the boy was recovering to see how much he remembered of his traumatic experience.

4. Un-named Knights. The individuals who arranged the London clinic. This was an ongoing facility indicating that abuse was endemic and London Knights were involved as well as Ipswich Knights, suggesting wider UK organised crime.

The boy’s school fees were paid as compensation, further validating my own experience. See below.

Knight A, a lawyer, seems to have been in charge of the transaction. Although un-named, he was a ‘sporty’ character who I have been given a vivid description of, and I’m sure could be identified by anyone from that era.

5. Knight B. Listed as a Knight. Abuser. 1950s – 60s. Born in Glasgow. He was an upwardly mobile blue collar worker. Although not married to my mother, he was probably my biological father. This is born out by a recent DNA test which shows my biological father had a strong Scottish/Glasgow connection. My legal father’s family has no Scottish connection.

This would partly explain why my own and my brother’s expensive school fees to St Joseph’s College were paid for.  But I believe it was to also indenture me to the Knights and their organised abuse, rather than because of his supposed paternalism. It’s a kind of trafficking, to use a modern term.

Knight B also seems to have been a ‘fixer’, like Jimmy Saville who was a Papal Knight and probably a Knight of St Columba as they were in charge of his funeral.

Like Savile, Knight B ‘made things happen.’

6. Knight C. Lawyer. Early 1960s. Abuser. A highly respected, wealthy ‘traditionalist’  and pillar of the local Ipswich community, his sons went to St Joseph’s College.  I believe he was a Knight, but as I’m not certain I haven’t named him here, although I have a detailed description of him.

He exercised coercive control over me at age 12 and everything that went with the Knights’ abuse (1961).

7. Further Knights.  There was a later similar pattern of organised abuse and coercive control by Knights 1962 – 1964 which continued briefly after I left school at 15. Some may have been just wealthy members of the congregation or even secular individuals who interacted with the Knights. Locations and names I cannot always be certain are correct because there was a number of individuals involved with similar professions, which runs the risk of conflating two people. And there is more than one overlapping narrative. These Knights included lawyers, teachers and doctors.

Their coercive control related to school fees being paid (My mother had zero funds) and also to my remaining silent.  I was, unusually, assigned to a junior seminary at age 15. At age 14 (1963) I had the medical and filled in the forms. I believe this unusual move was to ensure my silence. When I refused to go, my fees were no longer paid and I left school at 15.

CONCLUSION

There is a strong connection between St Joseph’s and the Knights as is evidenced above.  The Knights are credited with financing the school; whether as brokers or financiers is not clear.  Subsequently they have disappeared from the school’s history, but it is possible that Knights remain as governors of the school to this day.  Their financial commitment to the school is relevant because it could explain why they acted as trouble-shooters in the Brother James cover-up.  

Later events,1962 – 1964, are complex and may be hard to unravel in their entirety, but it is still a work in progress for me and I welcome anyone’s recollections of the Knights, positive or negative.

But the Brother James cover-up alone is hard evidence of organised abuse by the Ipswich Knights of St Columba and that alone requires a response from today’s Knights.

Not least because the Knights are still involved with children.

We need not only an acknowledgement of their criminal past, but when it stopped and why it stopped. And why they have ignored these most serious allegations for over a year.

On a personal level, even allowing for the truly ‘industrial’ level of their crimes, their multiple and varied attempts to silence a rebellious, ‘trouble-making’ kid seems disproportionate. We’re talking threats, bribes, guilt-tripping, violent physical intimidation, drugs and more.

And even today, an insider warned me, ‘If you piss the Knights off enough, they will bring you much pain.’ He went on to describe how.

 But, where a kid is concerned, why would they bother? Who is going to listen to a child?  In the 1960s, at least, the Knights held all the cards. Surely it was best to just ignore the ‘annoying brat’?  

But it has to be seen in the context of Father Jolly and that clinic where clerical crimes were covered up on an organized basis. So we were far from the only resisters. Jolly certainly sounded very worried.

And my relentless whistle-blowing, the origins of my activism today, must have seemed peculiar, even pathological to the Knights, I wasn’t to be silenced as easily as other kids. My on-going resistance and ongoing disclosures to authority, family or police, clearly disturbed them, even though they were unlikely to be challenged by anyone in the 1960s. Something had to be done about this kid and so they tried a variety of methods to silence me.

So for these Knights, the great and the good of Catholic Ipswich, behind all their power, their contacts, their networking,their professional expertise, there was yet… real fear.