THE LAY ROLE IN COVERING UP ABUSE

For several years now I’ve been highlighting the dubious role of the Knights of St Columba in Ipswich (and elsewhere) and the Catholic Laity in general in the 1950s, 1960s and possibly beyond.

Validation for some of my recollections of the Catholic Laity comes from a surprising and authoritative source that is hard to dismiss:  The Catholic Weekly May 7 2020!

More details below with a link.

It’s an Australian newspaper, of course.  

By comparison, Catholics in the UK  will probably deny the truth even if an enquiry found beyond any reasonable doubt that the Laity not only covered up abuse but actually played a key role in it, which is my own recollection.

 But when priests, monks and brothers were provably abusing children on an organised and ‘industrial scale’, why on earth would perverts in the Laity not only cover up these crimes but also want ‘their share’?  Of course they would.  

That was certainly my experience and with Catholic women, too.  1950s Catholic women were never the Ladybird book submissive characters we are led to believe. Many were strong, ballsy, truly admirable women. And some were every bit as perverted as their male counterparts.  The myth that abuse is primarily a male vice and that women are only rarely perpetrators, usually as a result of male coercion, is pretty much debunked these days.

One abusive Catholic woman I had the misfortune to meet as a child was strongly associated with the influential Catholic Women’s League. That’s a matter of record.  I suspect the other women I encountered were CWL, too.  But they didn’t wear sashes like the Knights so they’re harder to identify beyond any reasonable doubt.  The CWL is very roughly the female equivalent of the Knights of  St Columba, but without the Masonic secrecy, and there were connections between members of the two organisations in Ipswich in my day. The CWL also seems to have had a more radical and reforming role which I can genuinely admire, even if that was not the case for all its Ipswich members in the 1950s who seemed to have used it as a cover for other activities.

If you look up the CWL on Wikipedia you will see a single photo of them showing their good works today in … St Pancras Church, Ipswich. This church was the hub of child abuse in my era as I’ve previously related. It’s surely just co-incidence that of all the hundreds of possible churches the Wikipedia entry should pick, they chose St Pancras, Ipswich.

And I’m sure the CWL are very different today and completely above reproach, just like all the other relevant organisations I mention, who endlessly congratulate themselves today on their entitlement and worthiness, with never a word of self-criticism. But none of them ever want to look at their past where a rather different story unfolds.

Anyway, back to this article from Catholic Oz. I’m so impressed the author had the courage to speak out. It doesn’t go as far as I’m going, but it’s a helluva good start. Especially in a Catholic newspaper. Bravo!

Let’s hope other Catholics have the courage to speak out and put their house in order.  It seems to be a unique Australian Catholic phenomena to tell the truth. After all, their academics and national reporters first highlighted that there were transgenerational Catholic Paedophile Rings in Oz. Including the Laity. Other Catholic Paedophile Rings have also been revealed in the States.  It would seem unlikely that the UK is different and my testimony and another survivor on this site show clear evidence of a ring.

My concern – and everyone’s concern – about such transgenerational rings is that they didn’t fade away with stricter protocols from the 1990s, but just went deeper underground.

I think that’s a valid concern which is ignored by the various organisations.

I fear in Catholic Britain the relevant Catholic organisations, schools and the Church will ignore, deny and lie until the very end. Then, when they are finally fetched, wring their hands with hypocritical horror and say ‘we never knew’.

This is specifically relevant to St Joseph’s College, Ipswich, The De La Salle Brothers, the Knights of St Columba, Ipswich and the East Anglian Catholic diocese. See my past posts.

Here are some highlights from the article by Doctor Philippa Martyr:

A difficult conversation – but necessary

If we are going to do real soul-searching about clergy sexual abuse, it’s time we turned the spotlight on to the laity and their role in enabling abusers.

This is a difficult conversation to begin. We are used to seeing ourselves as the good guys, and the solution, not the problem: that if we had lay-led parishes or diocesan offices, this would rid us of clergy abuse for good.

Unfortunately, history is not on our side. Cases of clergy sexual abuse in the English-speaking world reveal any number of compromised lay people who have helped with covering up and explaining away, either directly or indirectly.

The ‘lay clericalism’ of the insiders

They are usually wealthy and influential, or employed by the Church, or in useful professions.

There are longstanding networks of Catholic old boys and women everywhere: those who know each other from their private Catholic school, Catholic community social and welfare organisations, and countless other Catholic networks.

They all do good work – but the people in these organisations are human like everyone else. Sometimes networks can build up where people have information on each other that will never see the light of day for various reasons.

….

Time to face the truth

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.

LINK: http://www.catholicweekly.com.au/the-lay-role-in-covering-up-abuse/

I doubt Catholics in the UK will ever face the truth about themselves in this way and I doubt we will ever see a similar brave and honest article in the UK’s Catholic Herald.

But there are other ways of discovering the truth.  The dark past of the Catholic Laity in Ipswich – and I would imagine elsewhere –  will not remain hidden forever.

BROTHER KEVIN REVISITED

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                           ……………………

Angela didn’t reply to me.

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

We can all draw our own conclusions.

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

They show just what we are all up against.

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

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

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

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

                                    …………………..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not a cover-up.

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

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

So here’s where I’m currently at:

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

Some of it is quite shocking.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CATHOLIC PAEDOPHILE RING IN IPSWICH

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

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

It describes 16 Catholic child sex abuse Rings.

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

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

I found this headline – in 2018 – particularly disturbing.

THE GRAND JURY REPORT ABOUT CATHOLIC PRIEST ABUSE IN PENNSYLVANIA SHOWS THE CHURCH IS A CRIMINAL SYNDICATE.

The Catholic Church Hierarchy systematically covered up the abuse of at least 1,000 kids by 300 priests over 70 years.

The  article goes on to say:

Sexual abuse has been institutionalized, routinized and tolerated by the church hierarchy for decades. If you think this statement is hyperbole, consider that the grand jury report includes, but is by no means limited to, the case of a ring of pedophile priests in Pittsburgh, who raped their male victims, took pornographic pictures of them and marked them by giving them gold crosses to wear so that they could be easily recognized by other abusers.

The article is written by Anthea Butler, an Associate Professor of Religious Studies.

There’s more on this story below.

Grand jury report describes a ‘ring of predatory priests’ in Pittsburgh in the 1970s

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

That “ring of predatory priests” made their own child pornography in church rectories, the grand jury said, and used “whips, violence and sadism in raping their victims.”

They also marked their victims, the grand jury said, by giving their favorite boys gold cross necklaces to wear.

“The grand jury observed that these crosses served another purpose beyond the grooming of the victims: They were a visible designation that these children were victims of sexual abuse,” the report said  “They were a signal to other predators that the children had been desensitized to sexual abuse and were optimal targets for further victimization.”

Let me repeat that last sentence.

“They were a signal to other predators that the children had been desensitized to sexual abuse and were optimal targets for further victimization.”

It shows that a Ring is much more than a number of perverts sharing notes and kids.

It involves a lot of planning, sharing intelligence and thought. That’s relevant to my own experience.

And perhaps to others.

For example, making sure the Parents are neutralised or on-side, I’d have thought was crucial to Abusers.  In my case, my Mother, a widow with mental health issues, would have been an easy target for them. Over the years a number of promises were made to her. Financial and probably personal. Then, knowing it’s safe, the Abusers can turn on the kid…

The general relevance to Catholic survivors in the UK  is that these reports are firm evidence of actual Clerical Paedophile Rings in Oz and the USA.

They are not the usual ‘lone wolf’/’one rotten apple’  which is how Catholic abuse is presented in the UK, unless I’ve missed some reports.

Yes, organised Catholic cover-ups in the UK are well known and reports of several abusers who just happened to be at one school at the same time are well known, but this is very different.

It’s far worse.

These articles are spelling out Catholic crimes that have NEVER been reported in the UK mainstream media to my knowledge.

That Catholic Abusers acted in unison as an organised Ring to abuse children.

As a Survivor, the Oz and USA Rings strike an unpleasant chord with me.

If it happened in Oz and the USA, then it bears out my claim that it happened in the UK, too.

Specifically, I’m a Survivor of a Catholic Paedophile Ring in the 1960s associated with the Catholic Church, notably St Marks RC Church, a school chaplain, teachers at St Joseph’s College and members of the Knights of St Columba, Ipswich.

The Ring’s prime targets, I believe, were Catholic children on Chantry Council Estate, poor kids like myself, rather than boarders at St Joseph’s.  But I could well be wrong here – any vulnerable Catholic child could have been a target. I would hardly be in a position to know.

And there seems to have been ‘overlaps’ with other sexual abuse at St J’s, based on past testimonies on this site by other Survivors than myself.

Only the deaths of everyone concerned prevents the Ring being formally investigated.

But that could change if the Ring was shown to be in existence in later years and some Abusers are still alive.

The evidence is accumulating.  Some I’ve already posted, which proves the Ring’s existence beyond any reasonable doubt, and there’s more to come.

The key question that is certainly on my mind is… When did this Catholic Paedophile Ring in Ipswich stop?

Or did it stop?

Perhaps it just changed its modus operandi and its personnel in recent years or even in our own times.  

I’d prefer to think it stopped in the 1980s, that would be such a relief, but that could be wishful thinking on my part. 

As the Oz study shows, these Rings are ALWAYS transgenerational, with younger members taking over.

It’s a primary reason why I can’t let this subject drop.

All of us, I’m sure, want to be sure that it stopped.

The silence from the relevant parties is noted.

I imagine I’m not the only one who finds their silence a matter of concern.

ANOTHER ST JOSEPH’S COLLEGE SURVIVOR’S WEBSITE

So pleased to see this site go up!

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

The more of us who come forward and highlight the serious crimes that took place at St Joseph’s in the past, the sooner we can all have closure.  And then we can celebrate the considerable achievements of the College.

I’m reminded of the famous quote:

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.’

And I’m as guilty of this as anyone.  Here’s a recent example:

In our gated community there is an oldish exhibitionist who regularly goes out onto his second floor balcony in the nude.  He’s been doing this for the last couple of years.

At first I thought he was a nudist or something, but recently he’s been doing rather more than just standing naked in an area where children could clearly see him.

My initial reactions – when he first began his relatively discreet exhibitionism – are interesting and I’m sure mirror what many of us Old Boys think where abuse at St Js is concerned

‘Someone needs to complain about him. But not me.  Someone else will do it. It’s not my problem. Because what if he’s connected to the management of the community. He could make trouble for us.’

Now it’s becoming rather more serious and so it can’t be ignored,

My wife filmed him because – as she said – supposing ‘he’s doing worse elsewhere? There needs to be a record. He has to be reported.’

She’s just reported it, with the film evidence, and I wholeheartedly agree with and support her decision.

Not least because I can hardly ask Survivors to write in here about all the truly evil things that went on at St J’s in the 1960s and which seem to have continued through to the 1980s, at least, if I don’t practice what I preach.

So it’s great to see this new blog from another St Joseph’s College survivor. Bravo!

I hope other Old Boys feel the same way and can help with their recollections of the Abuser referred to or the Abusers from my earlier era.

This problem is not going away and St J’s school governors and administration would do well to deal with it now.

By acknowledging the past, what happened, and assisting where they can.

Despite the changes of management, there will be some records and some relevant recollections that some people connected with St Js today will at least be aware of.

Particularly as, in my case at least, there was a Ring which – academic studies show – is transgenerational.  

And which testimonies here have proven existed beyond any reasonable doubt.

So we need to know: when did it stop?

And there needs to be a proper explanation about the role of the Knights of St Columba as previously detailed.

The old religious order excuse of ‘All the records are gone or been destroyed. We know nothing. We know nothing,’ won’t stand up today.

As I’ve said before:  Please don’t wait to be fetched before you belatedly acknowledge the past. Your pious words and hand wringing will come across as phoney and be condemned as such.

Just like Brother Laurence’s in a similar situation where he had to be fetched. (See an earlier post)

Do the right thing.

KNIGHTS OF ST COLUMBA – THE SECRET RITUALS

The Knights of Columbus KOC  came first  (American)…. Then the Knights of St Columba KOSC (UK)… and the Knights of  St  Columbanus  KOSCL (Ireland)

All three have or had similar rituals. 

Detailed below are some of the KOC rituals. The KOSC would have been similar, but with American elements changed, like the secret serviceman.  I would assume they had a different role-playing character, maybe a police officer.

I haven’t included the preliminary material because it’s not directly relevant except for background.

Sorry if it’s a bit of a pain to read below but you’ll get the idea.

If you find it of interest, the FULL transcript is here.

 Full text of “Knights of Columbus: A complete ritual and history of the first three degrees, including all secret “work.” By a former member of the order.”

https://archive.org/stream/knightscolumbus/knightscolumbus_djvu.txt

I also have a KOSCL ritual which bears out the premise that these Knights are all drawing on each other. So it can’t be dismissed as ‘weird Americans’, much as I would love it to be!

The similarities between the three organizations is comprehensive. It’s far more than just the names.

Bear in mind the Knights are ‘covering themselves’ in this transcript by not doing anything actually illegal. Although it’s borderline. Even so, they are clearly messing with a candidate’s head.

Here’s this quote from the ritual

‘Break the spirit of all, if possible’,

Their skill at doing this has serious implications, particularly for grooming children.

And it is a VERY unhealthy ritual that warrants detailed analysis by someone better qualified than myself.

To me, it’s just sick games by arrogant rich Catholic businessmen and a precursor to other far worse rituals that, understandably, have never been written down.

Note the masks and robes. And the organ playing. It’s like something out of Eyes Wide Shut.  But the Ipswich KOSC  were after children. Imagine the effect on kids of even an adapted form of this nonsense. They were scary, truly evil bastards! I still find it hard to understand how I and others survived.  I guess kids have survived a lot worse.

One St J’s Old Boy has presented a strong case and evidence to me that the KOSC actually go back much earlier than their supposed origins date and I’d say he was probably right.

Some points I would add.

A similar ritual to this would have been used across Britain, linked to Catholic churches and to the Knights at least up to the mid-60s.

It’s obviously Masonic. According to Wikipedia the KOSC stopped these Masonic rituals when they modernized in the late 60s. I’m pretty certain I saw the masks and robes etc, but I very much doubt that I would have witnessed these exact rituals. These are for new members and I don’t think I was even considered as a Squire who would have had their own initiation rituals.   

Why wasn’t I a Squire?

 Because I was just another victim of their organization hunting for children in St Marks, Chantry Estate.  Currently I’ve counted up one Catholic girl (see the Darkest Knights) and six Catholic boys including myself who were ‘harvested’ by the Ipswich Knights of St Columba for paedophilia purposes on our council estate in the early 1960s.

I firmly believe that I and the other children on the Council Estate were seen as nothing more than ‘trailer trash’ to be used and abused.

That’s how these vile people saw the poor who they were supposedly helping with their charitable work.

Just like their fellow Knight of St Columba Savile who did so much for charity.

So there was no reason to make me a Squire.

I’m sure that was the primary purpose of the Knights’ presence, lurking at the back of the church – to check the children out and see who they could target next. When they were old enough. One or two children would clearly not be enough for them.  My figures are probably on the low side. The use of the large building on the border of of the council estate I’ve previously described – what I used to call the ‘Gingerbread House’ – would suggest this was quite a big operation.

I find this deeply upsetting and this post is dedicated to those children and their memory.

I hope they survived the disgusting and arrogant crimes of the Knights of St Columba.

If you are one of them and you’re reading this, do get in touch. I guarantee your anonymity. Or do tell someone in authority who may be able to help or advise you further. It was a long time ago, but I know just how triggering it can be. These scum still need exposing, despite the passage of time. The truth sets us free.

Finally:

Please don’t forget the Ipswich KOSC were intimately connected with St Joseph’s College, Ipswich, from its very conception, see earlier posts, which raises another whole raft of questions that need answering.

Someone, today, should answer for the crimes of their forefathers on whose traditions and organizations they have built and prospered.

Don’t either of these organizations today have anyone in them who has a conscience?

 It would seem not.

The secrecy – and the vows of silence – described in detail in these rituals continues to this day.

THIRD DEGREE — PREPARATION.

THE TEAM.

The personnel of the team which gives

this degree is as follows :

A Captain of the Guard in command

of the team.

A Decoy Priest. He wears the ordin

ary street dress of the priest, with Roman

collar and rabbi.

A Secret Service man incognito.

Enough initiated members to scatter

through the candidates and urge them to

action.

HOW ROBED.

Several robed assistants. The robe is

made of any black cloth, fitted with a

peaked cowl like a monk’s habit.

Several doctors attired as for the

operating room.

THE MEMBERS.

All members will wear black robes,

entirely covering their regular habit, and

will be masked.

The Grand Knight will appear as usual

his ribbon of office his only adornment.

In the center of the Council Chamber

will be a table with surgical instruments

and bandages.

A small room leading from the Cham-

ber will be made as warm as possible.

This room is known as the Hot Box or

the H. B.

When all is in readiness, the Grand

Knight will direct the Captain of the

Guard to send his men to their work.

The assistants go to the ante-room,

where the candidates are gathered.

Their work is to stir up the candidates

to anger if possible, using the decoy priest

as a last recourse.

THIRD DEGREE — FIRST SECTION

Line up the candidates in such a surly

manner that they will take offense and re-

fuse to go into line.

The line-up may be made according to

seniority or in any fashion the team may

judge efficient.

Often an old priest, if any priests are

to be initiated, may be called to head the

line. The assistants may try to confuse

and anger him by mispronouncing his

name or calling attention to his position.

Generally, it is not wise to push the priest

too-far. Laymen are better subjects, and

the dignity of the priesthood must be

preserved.

The best method to obtain results is

to treat the candidates as though they

were a crowd of school-boys, who needed

a severe censure for every move made. If

a candidate does not obey any order given

to him, such as to stand for a certain posi-

tion behind his fellow in line, to look

straight ahead, etc., it is good to send him

to the rear and hint that he may not be

allowed to go on.

Break the spirit of all, if possible, and

make all obey timidly the smallest com-

mand of the team members.

If the candidates rebel and refuse to go

on, the Captain of the Guard will be

called. He will enter, wearing any seem-

ingly disreputable robe, such as a bath

robe, which has been soaked in whiskey,

and giving the candidates the impression

that he is drunk. The decoy members

will artfully stimulate this suggestion.

The Captain of the Guard will brutally

inquire the cause of the trouble and when

he has listened to the charges of the can-

didates and the answers of his assistants,

he will deliver his judgment.

This is left to his ingenuity and histri-

onic skill. He will invite the candidates

As a last recourse to stir up the candi-

dates, the decoy priest will leave the line

and walk away.

The Captain of the Guard will angrily

question him :

“Why are you leaving your place?”

D. P. “I am sick. I want a glass of

water.”

C. G. “Go back to your place. No

one may leave his place for any considera-

tion.”

D. P. “But I am sick and I must have

a glass of water or I shall faint.”

C. G. “Faint then.”

He orders his assistants to take the de-

coy priest back by force if necessary.

Meanwhile, the Secret Service man

slips away and comes back with a glass

of water, which he hands to the decoy

priest. As the decoy priest takes it, the

Captain of the Guards leaps forward,

angrily, and knocks the glass from his

hand.

f the candidates have not yet gone be-

yond control, this always stirs them to

fury, and they break ranks in angry con-

fusion, struggling and shouting against

the insult to the priest.

The decoy members of the team skill-

fully urge the stronger-willed candidates

to shout defiance against the Captain of

the Guard and his assistants.

They suggest that he is drunk and that

it is an outrage — it is an insult to the

priesthood.

Many refuse to go on, and threaten to

break down the door and leave for good,

if they are not released. Some try to

catch the Captain of the Guard, but are

skillfully kept away by the decoys.

The candidates are to be aroused to the

last extreme of fury, but are to be handled

so that they cannot do anything.

He will see that the man is punished if

he is guilty. If they will be patient and

allow the work to go on, the case will be

taken care of in due time.

Then he goes back into the Council

Chamber. The decoy priest helps to calm

the candidates, by excusing the Captain

of the Guard on account of his condition.

He is not so much to be blamed because

he is drunk. Gradually the candidates

are calmed and go back into line.

THIRD DEGREE — SECOND SECTION.

They are all blindfolded. They put

their hands on shoulders. The guards

give the signal, the doors are opened, and

the candidates march into the Council

Chamber. The organ is playing. They

are marched around the room several

times and halted in a hollow square fac-

ing the center. The blinds arc removed.

The doctors are seated around the table

covered with surgical instruments and

writing paper. The Grand Knight sits

near the table.

The members of the Order, all covered

with black robes, stand behind the candi-

dates.

The chief surgeon stands up and calls

several of the candidates and decoys. The

guards lead them to the table.

Chief Surgeon — Before you may go

further, you must show that you are

worthy. You must submit to a test of

your strength that will satisfy the Order

that you are in earnest.

He calls on one of the decoys to take

the first test.

Chief Surgeon — I have here a copy of

the pledge which you must take to this

Order. I have also a dagger (picking up

from the table a dagger) . You will take

this dagger, bare your arm, prick your

veins and sign this pledge with your own

blood. Are you willing to take the test?

Decoy feigns reluctance, and plays that

he is afraid to take the test.

Chief Surgeon — You must take the test

or you cannot go on. Are you afraid of

a little blood? There are doctors here

who will see that you do not injure your-

self. Do you call yourself a man — afraid

of pricking a little vein?

Decoy — I cannot take such a pledge;

you have no right to ask it.

THIRD DEGREE— THIRD SECTION.

The organ plays, and the guards lead

the candidates to the Hot Box. When

they are all in, the door is fastened, and

masked guards are stationed inside and

outside of the door.

The Hot Box must be small enough to

make it difficult to move about easily

without jostling. The Captain of the

Guard is found inside and mingles with

the candidates. He is as surly as he was

in the ante-room, and the candidates feel

their anger rising against him.

The decoy priest soon complains of the

heat and asks to be let outside. The Cap-

tain of the Guard refuses to let him go.

They quarrel, and the decoy priest says

he is going to go out whether the Captain

of the Guard likes it or not.

The guards and decoys keep between

the decoy priest, the Captain and the can-

69

dictates. As the decoy priest starts to push

the Captain aside, the Captain slaps him

over the mouth.

The decoy priest reels from the blow

and blood seems to flow from his mouth.

He has had some red gum in his mouth,

which gives his sputum the appearance

of blood.

At once there is an uproar. Some of

the decoys shout to be let out, others

pound upon the door, and the candidates

are roused to fury, and try to reach the

Captain of the Guard. The inside and

outside guards and decoys must protect

him and see that the door is opened be-

fore it is broken down.

Then all rush out into the Council

Chamber, shouting and gesticulating.

They rush to the table, where the Grand

Knight and the doctors are sitting.

THIRD DEGREE — FOURTH SECTION.

If necessary, a decoy starts the part.

He stands on a chair and bitterly de-

nounces the whole procedure. They came

as gentlemen, as Catholics, to enter an

Order that has been approved by the

Church, and they are subjected to the in-

dignities of drunken brutes. Even the

sacred character of the priest himself is

not respected. God’s holy anointed is

brutally insulted and even struck by a

drunken wretch.

He demands that the Captain of the

Guard be summarily punished and

thrown out of the meeting and the Order,

and that the real work of the Order be

taken up.

As many as wish may make speeches.

The most hotheaded and devout generally

make the best talks. Some of the priests

make especially eloquent pleas against the

whole procedure, and many of the lay-

men are discovered to be eloquent plead-

ers, who never before had dared to speak

in public.

When all have finished, the Grand

Knight stands upon the chair and begs

them to be patient. He deprecates the

unfortunate occurrence. The man will

be tried at once. Seven men will be

picked from their number as a jury. The

charges will be made in due order, and

the verdict of the jury will be received as

final. Are they willing to abide by such

a procedure?

They answer yes.

The candidates are then told to sit

down in the chairs around the wall and

the jury is selected.

The secret service man is one of the

jurors.

The seven are called to the middle of

the chamber and lined up before the

table. Grand Knight — Gentlemen, you must

give up all your valuables, and have your

pockets entirely empty so that you may

hand nothing to one another during the

trial.

I must ask the Captain of the Guard to

go among you and receive all that you

have on your person.

The Captain, amidst wild glares and

murmurs, begins to take the things that

the jurors hand over to him. Some gen-

erally are very angry at him and show it

by their manner; some do not care to

hand him anything.

The secret service man, especially,

shows resentment, and at first refuses to

give up anything. He objects to the pro-

cedure. One of the guards comes up to

him and runs his hands over his clothes.

He resists, and the guard calls out that

he has a revolver in his pocket.

The Grand Knight asks him if it is

true that he has a concealed weapon. He

says that it is true. He is a secret service

man and always carries a revolver.

75

The Grand Knight — You must give

it up.

Secret Service Man — I will not give it

up. 1 am under orders to carry it and

never to allow it to pass from my posses-

sion.

The Grand Knight — Captain of the

Guard, you will see that this gentleman

gives up his weapon.

The Captain steps up to the secret serv-

ice man and asks him for the weapon.

Secret Service Man — You dirty brute,

I would not give it to you in any case.

The Captain catches hold of him and

76

tries to drag the gun from his pocket.

They struggle, and the guards close

around them.

Suddenly the revolver comes out in the

secret service man’s hand. Captain

catches the hand and pulls it down, and

then there is a flash and the sharp report

of the weapon. The Captain reels back-

ward, and blood pours out over his chest.

He falls into the arms of the guards.

77

The Captain of the Guard has a rubber

bag full of red fluid under his robe. This

is pierced by a knife just before the shot,

and gives the delusion of blood flowing

from his breast.

Confusion reigns in the chamber. The

priests rush to give the man absolution,

some of the guards hurry away the secret

service man, and the wounded Captain is

carried out into the ante-room and the

crowd is closed in the chamber.

Experience has shown that the body of

the candidates is always in a strange con-

dition of mind during this period of wait-

ing. The members go about and whisper

of the terrible accident, and hint of the

scandal if the newspapers find out about

the affair. If the secret service man dies,

it will be the end of the Knights of Co-

lumbus.

The dramatic climax is worked up nat-

urally until all the candidates are con-

sumed with anxiety to know the worst.

After ten or fifteen minutes the door of

the ante-room is opened, and the Grand

79

Knight walks into the chamber, followed

by the doctors, the secret service man, and

a well-dressed, clean looking man, whom

all recognize as the Captain of the Guard,

and the decoy priest.

The Grand Knight takes the middle of

the floor, with the others around him, and

begins to speak:

Grand Knight — Gentlemen and Broth-

ers : When I have given the solution of

the strange adventures which you have

gone through this day, you will learn the

most telling lesson ever devised to teach

you that things are not always what they

seem.

He turns to the decoy priest, and pulls

off his collar and rabbi, saying:

Grand Knight — Our good friend and

brother here is not a priest at all. He

bore all the outward marks, but the inner

seal of the sacrament of Orders has never

been imprinted upon his soul. He was

playing a part, and that he played it well,

I know. For I can see upon the faces of

all of you, the expression of relief which

comes to those who awake from a terrible

dream and find that it was only a dream.

And this good brother (turning to the

secret service man and taking him by the

hand) is not a desperate criminal, with

the blood of his fellow upon his head.

Our old friend, the Captain of the Guard,

stands here beaming upon us. A short

time past, you wished almost to tear him

to pieces. You thought him a brute; you

believed him a sacrilegious wretch who

dared to raise his hand against the Lord’s

anointed. It was a delusion. The good

Captain and the good pseudo-father had

conspired together to deceive you. See

how they love each other! (The two

shake hands heartily.)

Brothers, take this lesson to heart, and

bear it with you in all your activities of

life. Judge not by appearances. Things

may not be what they seem. Suspend your

judgment until there can be no mistake.

Then act. Remember this lesson. Cherish

it in your hearts.

You have seen that men are led. Un-

der certain conditions men will do things

that they never would do if they were

alone or stopped to realize what their acts

may lead to.

We asked you to take this dagger and

let your own blood and write with your

own blood your acceptance of our Order.

We had no right to ask you to do such a

thing. If you had insisted upon taking

the pledge, you would have discovered

that this dagger is a trick also. You could

not have hurt yourselves. It is filled with

red fluid, and when you pushed it against

your arm, the red fluid would have flowed

out and looked like blood (demonstrates

with dagger). But it would have been

wrong in intention anyway. If it had

been a real dagger, some zealous brother

would be sure to cut himself badly.

Learn the lesson of your rights as an

individual. You are responsible before

your conscience to God alone. No one

has any right to ask you to do an act which

is evil, no matter for what purpose. Re-

member this lesson.

n dramatic form for you on this occasion.

You were many. The guards were few.

Yet they were able to control you from

the ante-room to the climax you have just

witnessed. Why? They were an organ-

ized unit and knew what they were doing.

You were unorganized and did not know

what to do. If at any moment, one or

two of you had taken the lead and had

gathered the forces of your body about

you, you would have controlled and

beaten the guards. Without leaders you

were simply a mob, expending a great

deal of energy, but accomplishing noth-

ing.

Extend this lesson to your daily life.

Study and work to be leaders of men.

The world is sick because there are not

enough in the active life of today who

can visualize the meaning of life for man-

kind. As Knights of Columbus, you must

be leaders. You are sons of the old

Mother Church, who is the divinely ap-

pointed mother of men.

Study her; learn her ideals, her God-

given means of saving the world, and as

laymen be missionaries in every walk of

life. We must assist our clergy in their

laborious work of saving souls. They are

our spiritual guides and leaders. We

must become leaders of the world, under

their direction, and bring to this sad earth

the kingdom of God and the brotherhood

of man. All must be united in one grand,

glorious band of humanity under the one

mother church.

” ‘I now solemnly pledge myself to

keep sacred the secrets of this Order; to

be a loyal and true son of the Church, and

a faithful member of the Knights of Co-

lumbus. I will always be ruled by

knightly courtesy in my relations with

my fellow men. I pledge myself to God,

to His Holy Church, to my country, to

mankind, to be always a true Knight.

Amen.’

“It is well, brothers. I shall now de-

clare this Council adjourned.”

The secret work is made a part of the

regular council meeting for the benefit of

new members, usually at the first meeting

following the initiation.

It is generally demonstrated by the

Grand Knight, under the head of New

Business.

The new members are led by the Cap-

tain of the Guard to the Grand Knight’s

chair.

The Grand Knight addresses them:

“Brothers, as duly accredited members

of the Knights of Columbus, it is your

right and your duty to become acquainted

with the secret work of the Order.

“The password is important. It ad-

mits you to the Council Chamber. It

must be kept a secret from all outsiders.

89

“The word is changed once a year. For

the present year it is: (One password

was ‘Knights of Columbus shall rule/)

“When you come to a council meeting,

attract the attention of the Outside Guard.

Whisper in his ear the first half of the

password. He will admit you into the

ante-room. Rap upon the entrance of the

Council Chamber. The Inside Guard

will open the wicket and you will whisper

into his ear the last half of the password.

He will then admit you to the Council

Chamber. You will walk to the center

of the chamber and salute the Captain of

the Guard with the usual military salute.

When he returns the salute, you may take

your place among the members of the

council.

“The Grip : The grip is given by shak-

ing hands in the ordinary way, and giv-

90

ing two distinct pressures with all the fin-

gers. This is answered by one sharp pres-

sure. The question which goes with the

grip is, What council do you belong to?’

“If any brother is in distress or needs

aid to accomplish any work, generally in

a crowd, he will call out, ‘Are there any

good men here?’ If there are any Knights

of Columbus present, they will answer,

{ Yes I 1 and come to his assistance.

“The training in the Third Degree will

make it easy for a few to accomplish won-

ders even in a large crowd.

“Brothers, you are now duly accredited

members of the Knight? of Columbus.

You are initiated into the secvets of the

Order. You may come in and go out as

children of one family. I charge you to

be faithful to the Order; true to your

pledge. Never reveal our secrets to out-

siders.

“As Catholics you have all the sanc-

tions of the Church to keep you faithful.

We have the approval and blessing of the

91

Church. The Pope himself, our Most

Holy Father, has given us his Apostolic

benediction. If then — which may God

forbid! — anyone is tempted to reveal our

secrets, let him think well before he acts.

Such a one would surely incur the curse

of God. His name would become a by-

word and a reproach among all honorable

men. He would be shunned and cursed

by all his former fellows, the conscience

of a guilty wretch who has sold his soul,

would sooner or later come home to him,

to chastise him day and night until he

made his peace with God and did true

penance for his crime.

“It is impossible to imagine a brother

who could be guilty of such an act. He

must first become a renegade and an un-

believer, and join himself to the forces of

the devil, who prowls about the world

seeking whom he may devour.

“He deserves the reception which the

devil himself received from God — to be

cast into eternal torture. Only the Infi-

nite Mercy of God can save him from

such a fate. Think well, then, brothers,

BROTHER LAURENCE HUGHES

HEAD OF THE DE LA SALLE BROTHERS IN THE UK AND IRELAND

https://www.delasalle.org.au/blog/district-of-ireland—appointment-of-visitor
Bro Laurence Hughes pictured front row, far right, from a photo of St Joseph’s College teaching staff in the 1980s

I recently posted a school photo of St Joseph’s College Ipswich, from the 1980s. As I’ve said previously, three Old Boys (myself and two others) have identified a total of five abusers in the photo above. 

In fact there were six abusers in this era if one includes the infamous Mike Mercado (not present).

This seems a considerable number of abusers for any one group of teachers and has disturbing implications which I have previously written about.

An Old Boy then advised me as follows:

‘Brother Laurence Hughes (on the extreme right of the photo) is now head of the De La Salle Brothers in the UK and has made statements at various abuse enquiries. He must have at the very least been aware of abuse at St Joseph’s.’

So I looked Brother Laurence up and saw that he has spoken out strongly against child abuse.

Here are two examples. The second quote refers to the notorious Brother James Carragher, surely one of the most evil men to have ever joined the De La Salle Order.

EXAMPLE ONE (from The Scotsman)

‘Brother Laurence Hughes, head of the De La Salle Brothers in Great Britain and Ireland, told the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry he would have expected other members of staff to have known what was going on.

‘Br Hughes said he had already met with survivors abused by the congregation in Northern Ireland and was prepared to do so in Scotland.’

EXAMPLE TWO (from an ITV News report)

‘Carragher is a former member of the De La Salle Brotherhood.

The group released the following statement.

“We totally condemn, without reservation, any action or behaviour which harms young people. The behaviour of James Carragher was a deep betrayal of the Order’s mission to the young and of the trust that was placed in him as a De La Salle Brother. He was dismissed from the Order following previous conviction.

Brother Laurence Hughes, De La Salle Brothers

……………………………………….

A different Old Boy from St Joseph’s in the mid-1980s recognised Brother Laurence in the school photo and had this to say:

‘Brother Laurence. An absolute psycho who assaulted a couple of boys in my second form dorm. He asked to see me once after lights out so I combated it by turning into an objectionable little bastard and he then kept away.’

I asked this Old Boy for permission to quote him anonymously which he gave me.

He then added:

‘This is the dude who would invite 11 year olds into his study after lights out. He bandaged my foot once after a rugby injury and was creepy as fuck.’

Other Old Boys from St Joseph’s may wish to share their recollections of Brother Laurence Hughes in the comments here. Or you can email me in the strictest confidence at pat@millsverse.com.

As you can see from the foregoing, anything you wish to say will be kept strictly anonymous and your privacy respected.

It’s also worth adding that the current St Joseph’s College, Ipswich, has had nothing to say on the huge number of testimonies on this site of child abuse at St Joseph’s in past eras.

The crimes took place before their time but the current school still maintains many proud links with its past, whilst ignoring the endless cases of past abuse. This is certainly a cause of pain for me as a survivor and doubtless many other survivors. 

The testimonies prove beyond any reasonable doubt that serious offences took place in the 1960s to 1980s. Often they are related by different Old Boys in different eras yet describing recognizable modus operandi of the same clerical abusers.

KEARNEY SCHOOL PHOTO

Thanks to a St J’s Old Boy for school photo from the mid 80s.

Mike Kearney, sitting, 6th from the left

Mrs Kearney, sitting, 2nd from the left

And unless I’m mistaken that’s Bill Moss,my old English teacher, second row fifth from the right.

My first reaction on looking at the photo was surprise at how Mr Moss seemed to have aged. And how short and suntanned he seemed. And how Kearney didn’t look that different to how i remembered him. He seemed remarkably young and not noticeably obese as one Old Boy remembered him recently. But a big guy. What did come over to me was his energy. He’s not as relaxed as some of the others. He comes over as very affable and likeable. But of course it’s a photo.

I just showed it to an Old Boy friend from that 80s era who immediately identified one of the brothers as ‘An absolute psycho who assaulted a couple of boys in my second form dorm.’

Doubtless other Old Boys from that era will know who he is referring to. He sounds quite notorious – but after my time. I shan’t identify him here.

And my friend added ‘That place was poison’

Sadly, that was my experience, too. There was a third teacher in that photo who was also an abuser. That’s a considerable number to still be there by the 80s. And I don’t think a fourth – the infamous Mercado – is present. It bears out the theory of transgenerational rings established in an academic study of a comparable Catholic set-up in Oz. Like so many other survivors I so wish it was different.

When did it stop?

Or did it?

I remember talking to the Catholic Diocese some years ago about all this. I thought that was the right way to deal with my memories as a survivor. The spokeswoman enthusiastically explained to me how there were strict protocols in place now and the Church had just appointed a non-Catholic social worker to vigorously investigate any complaints. i was reassured for a while.

As you may know, I think the non-Catholic lasted less than two years before resigning. I think she’d signed an NDA because she avoided saying why, but indirectly indicated it was because she had no proper budget and there was great opposition to her within the Church.

So now the Church has reverted to the old system under a new name.

Classic cover-up technique. Nothing’s really changed. It’s just Catholic abusers have to be so much more careful now.

I found the Facebook entry on the same page as the photo – quoted below – quite painful to read because it’s so far removed from the truth. You can only be genuinely proud of the past if you also acknowledge the crimes of the past which have now been proved beyond any reasonable doubt. I cannot believe they are not aware as my site comes up early on the web and there’s also my autobiography which was classified as a best seller. Anyway, here’s the quote:

‘We are very proud of our Old Birkfeldians, the school’s alumni, who provide of course the best example of what a St Joseph’s education produces and the best advertisement for our school.’

If they are really so proud, why not help survivors to expose and deal with the truth, so we can all have closure on it?

Why isn’t this painful subject ever acknowledged?

KEARNEY: RECLAIMING OUR IDENTITIES

A post from Nosssh

I recall Kearney regularly exploding with rage in classrooms next door and desperately hoping I didn’t have to contend with him (as well) in my next year group (1970-75). I spent each day trying my hardest to stay invisible or better still, absent because of the inappropriate actions of one teacher. Thus a promising ‘A stream’ pupil (demoting himself to ‘B stream’ to avoid Mr _) left as soon as possible to face the world armed with the single o-level he still cared about and a lot of anger. I would urge anyone on the list of 70+ names I’ve just jotted down (in best “Moggs” voice) to please consider reporting anything they might regard as suspect. Seemingly many/most of my peers sailed through St. Joes with no issues but believe me, some of us are only now able to start processing what happened there to try and reclaim our identities. Others have died before even starting that process.

That’s a powerful statement which needs commenting on.  Especially on behalf of my earlier 60s St J’s  generation who are that much closer to our mortality.

After all: Why let these evil individuals get away with it? 

That’s what today’s  St Joseph’s College, the Catholic Church and the De La Salle Brothers clearly want by their silence in the face of so much evidence.

 Fortunately, Kearney lasted through to the 80s. So if my generation or the 70s generation doesn’t nail him and expose the full nature of his crimes, the younger 80s generation may.  This isn’t going to go away. I find that thought rather comforting.

Because these characters are – by definition –  serial offenders.  They’re predators and they would have abused again and again and again.

It’s usually those of us from vulnerable backgrounds (my mother was a widow) who these characters pick on, which made me a prime target.  It explains why other Old Boys from St Js – probably from more stable homes – will say endlessly, ‘Well he never did me any harm.’  Lucky you.

It prompted me to repeat here a direct message which I’ve kept anonymous.

Hi pat, I came across your WordPress article.. About Ipswich in 70s, I was there, I remember many of the people and places you talk about but buried it deep… Always knew I’d have to face it one day…. Keep it up

Reclaiming our identities is what makes the process of ‘facing it’ worthwhile.

Here are some pointers to where I’m personally going where Kearney is concerned.

1)KEARNEY THE BEAR

Firstly, a recent description of him from an Old Boy from the Mid 80s

Summer 1985 in your photo. Mr Kearney too, but his description would not have been as Pat says. At that time, he was big but overweight, and with a short beard. We used to call him “the bear”. The skin on his hands was so thick he could use his thumb to cover the test tube where he was heating concentrated sulphuric acid without a second thought…

According to Wikipedia

In male gay culture, a bear is often a larger or obese hairier man who projects an image of rugged masculinity

A gay website confirms the term was in use in the UK by the 1980s.

Or maybe Kearney was called ‘the Bear’ just because he was a big guy. 

Not in my experience.

It ties in with my recollections of him. I remember him as an abuser. I’ve been slow to talk about it on this site because I was looking for other indications on the subject before really opening up.  Maybe I should be the first one to take the plunge, just as two other Old Boys courageously outed Brother James as a sexual predator before I said anything about my own horrendous experience.

‘The Bear’ is one indication – of course it’s not proof and there could be an innocent explanation for his nickname even in the streetwise 1980s.

But sadists usually have a sexually abusive dimension to their character and Kearney was most certainly a sadist.

He also had a personal connection to my family which appalled me so much, I cut out all memories of him.

That was my survival system.

If that sounds extreme, ask yourself – would you want a sick individual like Kearney to be a ‘close friend’ of your family?

Exactly. 

I think that might help explain why I still bang on about this wretched guy after all these years. Yes, it is personal.

2) KEARNEY AS A SADIST

That’s my abiding memory of him. I don’t recall his temper exploding as above, but I do recall his sadism as he lashed kids with the Bunsen burner pipe.  This was born out recently by an Old Boy who described his sadistic racism.

3) KEARNEY BREAKING BAD

This is the toughest one because it’s new territory even for the vile teachers we’ve all described on this site.

Long before the fictional Walter White, chemistry teachers have been prosecuted for the illegal manufacture of drugs and illegal use of chemicals. Available materials were used for all the obvious reasons – including as predecessors to rohypnol. So it’s not that remarkable. Some of the processes  and uses are quite straight-forward, unlike the complexity of Breaking Bad.

I would so prefer this to be some twisted fantasy born out of my job as a science fiction and fantasy writer.  A product of an over-active imagination. If only!

I’m afraid it is not.

It’s a lingering memory that needs acknowledging. Unlike other Old Boys, I only have snapshot memories of the past. My ‘polaroids’ are clear enough, but they don’t provide a continuous ‘video’ narrative. There are gaps. Hence my hesitation.

And please consider this: The man’s memory has already been tainted beyond repair by recent testimonies of various Old Boys as well as myself. His name doesn’t need further blackening. He’s already a monster. So why would I need to do and say anymore?

Because it happens to be the truth.

And in stating and exploring that truth, it’s far more than a catharsis, it helps me reclaim my identity. Who I was.  What really happened to me. Who I am today. So it’s  empowering for me personally.

It’s well worth it.

There’s a second reason that’s particularly relevant in the area of ‘Breaking Bad’. Anything involving drugs has huge implications that always involve others. I’m sure I don’t need to spell them out. We’re all worldly wise. Breaking Bad and other films show it clearly.

The drug scene in Britain in the early 1960s – my era – is rarely covered in film AFAIK. It’s a bridge too far for most. Quadrophenia is one example – but it only shows working class kids as users.

I can’t recall the ‘respectable’ middle classes ever being shown taking recreational drugs, which seems most unlikely, ahead of the late 60s when cannabis, LSD and heroin were all featured in movies.

But the 60s started long before the Beatles.  The Christine Keeler series and the Keeler film gives some indication of what really went on in my era and earlier. This was the era when I had the misfortune to make Kearney’s acquaintance both in school and out of school. And there are strong hints in the film Darling. But most of it seems to be off limits. It’s like there’s an unwritten rule ‘Don’t go there’.

There’s also the transgenerational nature of abuse rings which the Oz academic study I’ve written about proves, beyond any reasonable doubt, is hardwired into their systems.

One thing I will swear to is this: Kearney was a member of one – or possibly two – of those transgenerational rings. (I say two because one of the rings seems to have been non-Catholic.)

When it stopped, I have no means of knowing. Presumably with the dawn of more vigilant times in the 1990s?  When the Church and its various aligned organizations, like St J’s, came under critical scrutiny and it (supposedly) weeded out its prime abusers.

It would be nice to think so.

That’s certainly what they want us to believe

KEARNEY THE RACIST

Kearney, my old chemistry teacher at St Joseph’s College, Ipswich, is, annoyingly, someone who is still very much on my mind.  Even though it was a lifetime ago, the guy still haunts me. Frankly, I could do without it as I have a great and rewarding quality of life and have far better and more important things to think about than the crimes of this evil individual.

There’s a reason why Kearney is still there in the forefront of my mind. Other notorious abusive teachers at St Joseph’s– such as Brothers James, Solomon and Kevin – have been fully outed now. They’ve been rightfully named and shamed with subsequent closure.  

But Mike Kearney is rather different.

Not least because he’s a complex character and it’s  a necessary part of my healing to understand who he really was. I truly wish I didn’t have to, because it’s like looking into the darkness of another man’s soul.  It’s taking time to gather my recollections and to fully comprehend and define the nature of his abuse. It’s sometimes quite painful, because it’s like I have to travel back in time to relive the original experiences and to make sense of them, but I’m getting there.

Sorry to be a little mysterious, but I will relate it more fully  in the future.

Meanwhile, it’s relevant in the current climate to show again an earlier comment about Kearney relating to his racism.

It was originally posted in November 2016. So it’s worth noting that St Joseph’s would have been aware of his racism for over three years and have chosen to ignore it.

If they claim they weren’t aware, well, they are now.

This post refers to a period in the mid 1980s at St Joseph’s, when Kearney was, presumably, coming close to retirement.  There would have been more black students  in that era than in mine.  I only recall one African boarder in my class.  So I doubt I’d have seen Kearney’s racism in action.

 Marcus commented on ROLL OF DISHONOUR   One more point – one of the teachers I just couldn’t work with was Mr Kearney – he was an aggressive South African who again picked on us non-white students more than anyone – apartheid was alive and kicking in his (and Mr Andrews) classes. He was clearly a survivor from when it was ok to be a racist bully in the classroom. An example would be when I was in the third year (year 9). I was being cautious with chemicals and test tubes. He picked up the tube and put it against my skin, which burnt my skin – he defended himself by saying that if I can put it on the table then I can put it on my skin. It was ONLY because of him I didn’t take Chemistry as an option (I did take Physics and Biology), it’s a pity as it stopped me from taking science options at university (although Computer Science was my first choice anyway). 
  
  

Given that Kearney was at St Joseph’s in the late 1950s, according to his close colleague,the paedophile Mike Mercado/Brother Solomon, it’s reasonable to assume Kearney was in South Africa in the 1940s and/or 1950s.

This was when the apartheid state of South Africa was at the height of its power.

I recall his harsh, menacing voice very well.  I don’t remember his accent being particularly British, South African or Irish (the derivation of his name). He could, of course, have connections with all three countries.

But certainly Kearney had the arrogance of a believer in apartheid in the way he dealt with me.  Although it was also tempered with a certain caution and wariness, too. And with good reason, I’m pleased to say. I was no easy victim, you see, although he did come perilously and scarily close to victimising me. For him, breaking my spirit was really important, and, at the time, I didn’t understand why.  Teaching ‘obedience’ and ‘humility’ is imbued in Catholic culture, of course, but this was something else. Something much more.

So why did he waste his energy dealing with some annoying, Bolshie kid  who isn’t going to do what he wants and– between the time I  was 14 – 16 years old – had challenged him on personal matters outside the classroom and seriously pissed him off?  So what?  At the time, his reaction and his vengeance always seemed disproportionate to me. In retrospect, I realise I hugely underestimated him and the impact my rebellion had on him.  Such is the confidence of youth.

Knowing he spent some years in racist South Africa, knowing he was a sadist (detailed in past testimonies on this site), who enjoyed inflicting pain and knowing he was later – in the 1980s – nicknamed ‘The Bear’ and its likely meaning,  helps me finally start to make sense of him.  

Consequently, I’ve been able to build an authentic and accurate picture of this man which is still a work in progress, because I want to get it absolutely right.  

It will be my personal memorial to Mike Kearney.

My sincere thanks to Marcus above for helping me understand him.

Coming from an impoverished and vulnerable home background, and dealing with Kearney who had a measure of personal control over me,  outside of the school, I have some small sense today of what it must feel like to be non-white.

To be on the receiving end of a racist’s abuse, their seething, barely suppressed anger, hate, vengeance, malice and their need to victimise and control.

I can tell you, it feels bloody terrible. It makes me feel like I’m nothing. Like I’m an object. Like I was entirely at his mercy.  And he knew that and he loved it. I think he even enjoyed my spirited and angry responses, so he could retaliate and bring down his psychological equivalent of a sjambok on my back. He certainly had a few psychological weapons in his armoury.

At the time, I zoned out, I disassociated many of the feelings as a survival mechanism to get through my early teenage years. So now I’ve got to feel them to get closure. It’s not much fun, but I try to pace myself and it has to be done.  And I firmly believe it’s better than prozac, alcohol or otherwise numbing the feelings. Hopefully, I won’t have to feel the whole shebang.

To reprise, Kearney is a man who is provably a violent criminal. Punching a 13 year old boy in the face (see an Old Boy’s recent past testimony) was not an isolated incident.

A man who doesn’t appear to have been a very good chemistry teacher – according to another calm, balanced and insightful recent past testimony.

A man who came from a racist country at the height of its racism, and behaved in a racist and covertly violent manner – as shown in the testimony above.   

And today, the current St Joseph’s College, Ipswich, has a Memorial Chemistry  prize to proudly honour this man’s memory.

Well, maybe not quite so proudly today.

They previously announced the Kearney prize regularly  in their Summer newsletters, but I see the 2019 newsletter no longer makes the award information public.

Whether that’s in response to this blog I can’t say. Certainly the De La Salle Order hurriedly took down their glowing obituary to Brother James as a ‘gentle and timid man’ when various Old Boys, myself included, highlighted his psychotic rages and violent sexual assaults and rapes on schoolboys on this site.

And the Knights of St Columba, Ipswich Province, have removed their list of past Knights (which I have a copy of) from their website. Possibly because I was writing about them as their list of deceased members included paedophile Canon Burrows and  Father Jolly, school chaplain at St Joseph’s,  who was almost certainly a Knight. And a member of a Catholic paedophile ring.  

(Sources: See my past testimonies on Burrows and Jolly. And another Old Boy’s testimony on Jolly and how he tape-recorded school boys  ‘impure sins’  confessed to him in the confessional.  And see my Dark Networks post for an authoritative academic study proving the existence of transgenerational Catholic paedophile rings and how they function. )

So St Joseph’s might choose to ‘update’ their prize list and remove Kearney’s name from the memorial prize on the grounds that he was a racist– even if they don’t care about his criminal violence and other matters still to come. 

If numerous councils, schools, universities and other public bodies can disassociate themselves from racist characters in their pasts, and tear down their statues and remove their names, I really think St Joseph’s should follow suit.  Particularly as the school must be more multi-racial today than in earlier decades.

There are other precedents.  I’m told on good authority that the Joe Homan charity is likely to be renamed so its evil founder – an ex De La Salle Brother who also taught at St Joseph’s College –  is no longer honoured.  (See past testimonies detailing his horrific and violent sexual abuse towards children)  That renaming process is currently a work in progress, but I hope it has a positive outcome.  If so, that’s excellent news and I hope it helps survivors and gives them some closure on Homan’s numerous crimes.

As you can see from the above, Catholic sexual abuse was endemic at St Joseph’s College, Ipswich in the 1960s and it seems to have carried on in a similar vein in the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s. It was not all clerical  abuse. There are several instances where lay teachers were also abusers.  Hence the validity of a transgenerational organised ring as confirmed by one survivor here as well as myself and backed up by the academic study of ‘Dark Networks’ in  similar Catholic schools and churches in Oz

Today’s St Joseph’s College is very different although they still proudly describe themselves as in ‘The La Sallian Tradition’ . This is an obvious insult to survivors who, as children, were brutalised and raped by De La Salle Brothers. And they still want to honour a racist teacher.

Why they should choose to hold onto these aspects of the past and maintain their  provocative links, I find disturbing because it lacks any obvious motive. It’s easy enough to get rid of the association, to give some plausible ‘modernising’ excuse, so there’s no loss of face, and they can still espouse worthy Catholic values without being connected with a religious order which included numerous violent sexual predators.  Any web search on the De La Salle order will show this beyond any doubt. That way they are rid of people like me reminding them with our testimonies appearing on search engines where parents can read the damning evidence.

The fact that the school haven’t fully cut the connection with their past makes me wonder if there is a hidden motive or some covert pressure on them to maintain their inappropriate links to the College’s past.

I think it’s time they entered the 21st century and did the right thing, don’t you?

The Mike Kearney Memorial Prize

An Old Boy commented recently on Kearney:

I went to st joes from 1984 to 1991. My experience of mr Kearney was not a good one. He punched me in the face once in chemistry as a third year. My dad went to the school and he apologised.

This is not a historic crime that can be conveniently lost in the mists of time. It’s relatively recent and it was clearly serious.

Yet today’s regime at St J’s still have a Chemistry prize in this scum’s memory

Any teacher who punches a thirteen year old boy in the face is scum.

By the 1980s it would also be a criminal offence.  

Kearney had obviously not evolved as a human being from the 1960s when he was equally vile.

Or does this somehow come under the heading of necessary tough discipline? That’s what one female apologist and admirer of Kearney claimed when she wrote into this site about a year ago.

 A trawl through my site will show other examples of Kearney’s physically abusive behaviour, to which I will add my own experiences at some stage.  I’m still researching Kearney and his past.

Today’s St Joseph’s College knows that the College’s past teachers were physically and sexually abusive and they have remained silent on the subject.  It’s impossible not to know – the evidence is overwhelming and is added to every day.

But here it would seem it’s absolutely okay because of Kearney’s scholastic achievements.

So why not have a Brother James Memorial Mathematics prize. Because he was a truly brilliant maths teacher – I was terrible at maths until James taught me. His teaching made a huge difference to my life.

Or a Brother Solomon Memorial Music prize.

I owe my deep passion and love of classical music directly to him.  And I’m sure many other pupils feel the same way.

Or a Brother Kevin Memorial Latin prize.

I was hopeless at Spanish, but Brother Kevin taught me Latin and I quickly excelled at it.

But of course all these three teachers are also now proven physical and sexual abusers.   There are so many devastating testimonies against them, it’s no longer a matter for debate.

So why the exception with Kearney? Is it because he’s only known for his physical abuse, so that’s sort of okay?

St Joseph’s :  Do we have to wait for something really shocking that Kearney did before you change the name of your prize?

Punching a boy in the face isn’t shocking enough for you?

How bad does it have to be? I’m curious.

Or is it that the ‘greater good’ is Kearney’s teaching  which trumps any crimes he committed. 

In this respect, your regime is definitely following in the La Sallian Tradition, a tradition you’re clearly proud of.

You might want to reflect on all this the next time you give out your Kearney Memorial Prize. 

And so might the recipient of the Prize. It’s not a Prize that is worth accepting when it’s associated with a proven abuser.

Meanwhile:

Shame on you.