ST PANCRAS CHURCH, IPSWICH, REMEMBERED

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Doctor Martyr concludes:

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

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

THE PRIESTS

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

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

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

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

And did.

MALE CATHOLIC LAITY AT ST PANCRAS

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

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

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

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

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

Especially children.

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

FEMALE CATHOLIC LAITY AT ST PANCRAS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why did they do it?

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

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

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

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

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

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

These fanatical women knew what they were doing.

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

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

I’m not.

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

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

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

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

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

SAFEGUARDING

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

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

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

They’re not.

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

Furthermore.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And:

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

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

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

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

I was briefly impressed.

Shearer resigned shortly afterwards.

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

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

Returning to the laity.

The CEO of the CSSA said to me:

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

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

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

Today.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Collusion.

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

SO WHAT CAN BE DONE?

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

That’s not the case.

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

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

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

Particularly local media.

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

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

It is clearly his personal duty to act.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You’ve been told.

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

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

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

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

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

BROTHER LAURENCE HUGHES – THE MISSING APOLOGY

THE DE LA SALLES – THE MISSING INVESTIGATION

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

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

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

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

Currently there is a missing apology and a missing investigation.

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

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

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

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

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

So onto the missing apology and investigation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I think both commentators on twitter put it very well.

Reference Group 

@Smartcairns11·

Nov 11

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

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

Countess Sigrid von Galen

@instcrimjust

Nov 10

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

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

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

Not the behaviour of supposed ‘holy’ men.

LIST OF BROTHERS AT ST JOSEPH’S COLLEGE IPSWICH 1974 – 1980

My name is Seán Michael Lea – I was a Border at SJC Oakhill – then at Birkfield from 1975 to 1980. I left at the end of the 5th Year – and went to my local Grammar School then onto Surrey University.Most of my career was in Retail Leisure and Hotel Management. I retired in 2021.

I’ve got to say Pat that during my years at SJC I never experienced any abuse or ill treatment from any of the Brothers. I was also never aware of any of the guys in my year being subject of any form of sexual abuse. There was also to my knowledge no innuendo of any form of sexual abuse by either the Brothers or Lay Teachers.

Maybe my circumstances were somewhat different from the average pupil at SJC. I was the College Head Sacristan and Master of Ceremonies. I served Morning Mass every day and as therefore got certain extra privileges eg on Liturgical Feast Days eating with the Brothers in their Ref etc. I was also President of the SJC Railway Society and the Brothers in particular Bro Damian (Director) allowed me to organise regular weekend trips to eg National Railway Museum York or Bressingham etc. Also at the time I intended to become a Jesuit Priest so maybe that protected me from abuse.

As I had a lot of day to day contact with the DLS Community in Ipswich I thought it would be helpful to supply you with a full list of names and dates that the various Brothers were at Ipswich from 1974 to 1980.

Oak Hill 1974 – 1980

Headmaster Bro Mark. After Oak Hill Closed Mark went on to teach at the DLS University in Bethlehem. He later returned to the UK to join the DLS Community in Bournemouth. I visited him several times between 2003-04 when I was General Manager of The Carlton Hotel in Bournemouth.

The House Masters were Bro Bede & Bro Charles. I know that Bro Bede later went onto work at St William’s Reform School at Market Weighton East Yorkshire which closed in March 1994. I believe that Bro Bede left the DLS Order around that time.

Also in residence at Oakhill was Bro Osmund. He was Retired and had no Teaching or House Master Duties.

Birkfield 1975 to 1980

Headmaster Bro Lawrence Anthony aka Squealer taught several subjects including History & RE He left Ipswich in 1978. He had replaced Bro Edwin Gerald (who had left the Ipswich Community in 1974 but was the Chair of Governors so regular returned for meetings) Bro Lawrence Anthony was replaced in 1978 by Bro Damian who had previously been at Beulah Hill.

Bro Owen 1st Year House Master still at SJC in the mid 1980’s

Bro Benet 2nd Year House Master until 1978 but remained in Ipswich. He later went onto become Bro Provincial at the Provincialate at Half Moon Lane Herne Hill London. He assisted Mr Michael Thuell aka WallEye who was the 3rd Year House Master during my entire time at Birkfield. Mr Thuell taught History and British Constitution. As of 1978 Bro Benet was replaced as 2nd Year House Master by Bro Laurence Hughes who joined the Ipswich Community in 1978. Bro Laurence Hughes later become Bro Visitor of the DLS Order in Great Britain.

Bro Paul RE Teacher – he assisted Bro Owen and took us on numerous weekend camping trips around Dunwich etc. He left the Ipswich Community in 1978. In the mid 90’s he left the DLS Order and went to work in Peru and was tragically murdered there in 2019.

Bro Aidan taught French and lived in the cottage by the tennis courts with Bro Cuthman. Aidan didn’t have any House Master Duties.

Bro Cuthman aka Fluff taught Classics and Latin. He didn’t have any House Master Duties whilst I was at Birkfield.

Bro Ives – 6th Form House Master left Ipswich in 1977. He was assisted by Mr Rose who taught History.

Bro Laurence Treanor aka Lispboo (due to his lisp) joined the Ipswich Community in 1978 and was the House Master at Goldrood as of 1979.

Brother Richard Allen aka Egg Head a previous Assistant General of the DLS Order based at The Generalate in Rome. Richard arrived at Ipswich in late 1977. He was House Master at Goldrood (4th and 5th Years) in 1977 but was only in post until 1979. He remained at the Ipswich Community for a few years. I met him several times in the late 80’s whilst on visits to Rome. He had returned to work at The Generalate.

Bro Terence – taught various Science subjects – he had no House Master Duties and lived alone in The Lodge at the entrance to SJC off Belstead Road. He was the College Rev Bro Sacristan with myself as Head Sacristan and MC.

Bro Lawrence taught several subjects including English & RE he didn’t have any House Master Duties. He left SJC Ipswich in 1978 when Bro Laurence Hughes arrived.

There were several Brothers at SJC called Lawrence and Laurence.   So there were 3 in total during my era

Bro Lawrence Anthony – Bro Laurence Hughes and Bro Lawrence Treanor.

Bro Peter was Deputy Head and Sub Director of the Community and lived in the House by the entrance by the Art Block / TD & Woodwork. He later joined the Community at St Peter’s Bournemouth. I attended his Funeral in Bournemouth in 2004.

Regarding their various ages – the only ones I’d assume could still be alive in addition to Bro Laurence Hughes would be Bro Aidan Bro Owen Bro Charles Bro Lawrence Francis and possibly Bro Bede.

I do know that Bro Benet died of cancer in April 2009.

TRIGGERS

Often on this site, there are graphic accounts of abuse by lay teachers, priests, monks and De La Salle  brothers.

What is more rare, though, is the psychological abuse that often goes with it.  And how it can be triggered today by relatively minor incidents. 

Catholics, abusers or not, always seem to seek control over children. Maybe it’s the same with other religions.

But it is especially heinous in Catholic communities because they are so authoritarian, so convinced of their rightness and even holiness, they cannot and will not be challenged.   

Their role model, of course, starts with the Vatican and the Pope when he speaks ex-cathedra.

Thus, as I’ve related some time ago,  a staunch Catholic doctor (a functioning alcoholic) and his hospital matron wife needed to bring their typically rebellious sixteen year old daughter ‘to her senses’. This involved her being drugged and incarcerated in the general ward of a mental hospital over Christmas.

Her rebellion was the usual thing – staying out late, bad company, surly attitude, punk clothes and so on. I don’t recall anything unusual or horrendous. But in any event, if every rebellious teenager was sectioned to bring them to their senses, the mental hospitals would be filled to overflowing.  What I do recall that was horrendous was her parents’ close examination of her clothing which, in my view, crossed boundaries.

Undoubtedly they used their connections to get the necessary two Doctors (IIRC) to have her sectioned.  When my daughters told me this, I was so appalled, I contacted the hospital and said the girl could stay at our house with her friends, my daughters, over Christmas. The hospital agreed.  I just had to ask her parents’ permission.

This I duly did. Their response I believe is so typically Catholic, it’s worth writing about again. They told me they were bluffing when they intended to keep her in a mental ward over Christmas, alone with seriously disturbed teenagers. They were going to have her released on Christmas Eve when she’d learnt her lesson and promised to behave herself in future. I told them I was delighted that the family would be united. ‘No, you’ve spoilt it now,’ the matron mum glared at me. ‘So we don’t want her back.’ The girl duly spent a happy Christmas with our family and IIRC now has a couple of university degrees and a successful career. But I happen to know she still bears the scars of her ghastly Catholic family.

Similarly I bear the scars of my ghastly Catholic family.  And that’s probably why I chose to intervene. It was triggering me.

My Catholic family circumstances were different, yet ultimately the same. My mother was mentally ill, so she had delegated her authority  to a group of  four or five Catholic worthies to similarly ‘bring her rebellious teenage son to his senses’. Some, but probably not all, were Knights of St Columba.  All were sexual abusers of children.  And they controlled the financial purse string to my fee-paying education at St Joseph’s College, Ipswich, and thus my destiny.

If you look at photos or film of the Knights today, they’re still puffed up with their own arrogance and so were these gentlemen. They saw no contradiction between sexually abusing children and their own self-proclaimed  ‘holiness’. I have no idea how that works. I suspect they compartmentalised their lives and didn’t make any  connection  between their conscience and their vile crimes. Or they think if it’s good enough for bishops, priests and De La Salle brothers to sodomise and sexually molest children, so it’s good enough for them. Or they see it as an initiation rite, like a frat club.  

If anyone has any insights, knowledge or theories, I’d love to hear from them. I think my theories above are correct, but Catholics are hardly going to explain their crimes today.

What is truly remarkable is how I fought back and how they wouldn’t give up. They were determined to impose their will on me.  I’ve no real idea how I survived and eventually won, albeit at a price. They stopped paying my school fees and so I left at age fifteen and became a messenger boy for R and W Paul in Ipswich.   Even then, they still tried to impose their will on me, which I find astonishing. If I was them, I think I’d  be pragmatic and say, ‘We’re not going to win with this annoying little shit. Let him go. There’s plenty more where he came from.’ 

But Catholics simply don’t think that way. They have to win. Maybe the challenge of  ‘breaking in a wild horse’ appealed to them.

It was only when I was sixteen and left home that I was finally free of them.

In my healing work in recent years, I realised I was dealing with at least four sexual abusers, and it was necessary to understand each one’s style, as I was being psychologically assaulted from four different directions.  Sometimes separately. Sometimes in unison. That takes some unpacking. Thus one, a violent thug teacher, used the heavy-handed, boot camp disciplinarian approach. A second, a barrister, used legal threats combined with suggesting I’d be better off moving to an Ipswich hostel where he’d have me all to himself. A third, an English teacher, appealed to my writing ambitions before ultimately turning on me. A fourth, seemed to be the treasurer of the Knights and I can only remember two things about him. First, his impressive marbled Parker pen with its gold nib, ready to write out a much needed cheque for my school fees. ‘On certain conditions, young man…’And second, the terror his two sons – who  also went to St J’s – regarded him with. Let’s not talk about the fifth man. Too big a subject other than to note he was always whining, Uriah Heep style, ‘I always tried to do the best for you boys.’

I clearly won my battle against these five Catholic heavies, although I still find that remarkable. But I didn’t get off Scot-free, it left a scar and that’s where the Triggers come in.

Some months ago, I was triggered when some of my readers said I shouldn’t even be researching Web3 ‘because it was evil’. They were outraged!  It triggered memories of the Catholic Index and reading Heaven and Hell by Swedenborg. When the teacher thug I’ve described found out, he was outraged! He went nuts.  I’d completely forgotten it, but now the memories came rushing back.(More in an earlier blog)

Naturally, I ignored the Triggers.  After all, if I could stand up to a thug when I was 14, I wasn’t going to let anyone today dictate what I should or should not read.

Recently, the same thing occurred when I brought out my Web3 book, a minor project, ecologically and ethically valid. The complexities and rights and wrongs of Web3 needn’t concern us here, only the attempt by a small group of readers to stop my project, to mould me into someone I’m not, to insist I behave differently, to impose their will on me, without any debate,  adopting a ‘holier than thou’, finger-wagging, moral standpoint just like those awful Catholic worthies I’ve described when I was a kid.

They weren’t interested in polite discussion, only in reacting emotionally and dumping their emotions on me. Angry, sad, reproachful, etc.  Doubtless triggered by something in their own pasts that makes them act disproportionately. Maybe they needed an outlet, a scapegoat, for whatever is wrong in their lives.

As you might expect, it, once again, triggered emotions in me from long ago.

But it also reminded me of one way I defeated the finger-waggers as a boy.  

Music. There were so many battle hymns against authoritarian bullies and I still sing them in my head to this day.

The words of Lesley Gore were a life-saver.

You don’t own me
You don’t tell me what to do
Don’t tell me what to say

Don’t try to change me in any way
You don’t own me

I don’t tell you what to say
I don’t tell you what to do
So just let me be myself
That’s all I ask of you
I’m free and I love to be free
To live my life the way I want
To say and do whatever I please

Such music helped me survive as a kid and those words are particularly relevant today and I shall direct them at today’s Triggers if necessary.

If you’re wondering why I’m fairly  relaxed about it, then I should let you into my secret. Over the years I regularly use such Triggers in my stories and they make for excellent negative characters. I’ve written them into two of my current published series. For example, a science fantasy series where the High Priest of the Archeologists, who bury all forms of progress, has banned technology, and has an especial hatred for Web3. Needless to say, he comes to a bad end which I found most cathartic to write. I’m now thinking of a third way I can use them.  

It’s a great way to deal with the finger-waggers and turn their lead into gold.  

I hope others have found similarly constructive ways of dealing with Triggers.

INFO ON BROTHER JAMES RYAN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BROTHER LAURENCE HUGHES – UPDATE

No real news yet, but I wanted to let everyone know that the issue is ongoing.

It’s now with the RLSS – the new Safeguarding organisation that represents the De La Salles.

Just to remind you, here’s what their predecessor, the SCOE, said

on the 15th July in  a somewhat guarded response to my enquiry:

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

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

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

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

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

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

requested (* see note below).

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

within DLS.

I think the promised ‘near future’ has come and gone!

The RLSS has a meeting scheduled with the DLS for the 14th October when I assume this will be raised.

There may be further prevarication, but I’ll wait a month to see.

I want to give everyone an opportunity to fulfill promises before responding and complaining.

Given the wretched track record of the DLS, their considerable skill at avoidance and obfuscation, that’s probably naive of me, but I think it’s important to show due diligence before taking it further.

BROTHER JAMES RYAN AT BEULAH HILL. PHOTO.

Finally got into the Crystal Palace site (thanks!) and there are some shocking accounts of violence by Brother James. One account cites him as Brother James Ryan history teacher. I’m assuming that the other accounts also relate to James Ryan, although that will need confirming.

There’s also the photo below. Marked with an arrow.The text says it’s Brother James, but once again I want to be sure it’s Brother James Ryan.

It certainly looks like him to myself and another St J’s Ipswich survivor. But we were in the 60s and this photo is in the 70s. He’s changed his glasses, I think, and his hair is longer, understandable in the 70s. The hairstyle is pretty much the same, though. I’d say it was him.

Anyone who is positive it’s Ryan, do let me know – just to be 100 per cent on this and do due diligence.

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

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

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

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

ST JOSEPH’S COLLEGE IPSWICH. 1960s

Just to keep everyone up to date, see this tweet from Dino below.

@DinoNocivelli

I have been instructed to investigate allegations of childhood sexual abuse in the 1960s at St Joseph’s College in Ipswich. I would be grateful if any potential witnesses could contact me in respect of this – dnocivelli@leighday.co.uk / 020 7650 1397. Many thanks

11:26 AM · Aug 9, 2022·Twitter for Android

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

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

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

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

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

Harding would be such a case.

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

Or the police.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FIRST TESTIMONY FROM A POST MAY 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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