DE LA SALLES –  THE FINAL EVIDENCE

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

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

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

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

That won’t work.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GEOGRAPHICAL LIMITS OF  DLS SYSTEMIC ABUSE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OTHER DLS SCHOOLS

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

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

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

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

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

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

OTHER DE LA SALLE BROTHERS AS SYSTEMIC ABUSERS – THE EVIDENCE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LAY TEACHER ABUSERS HIRED BY DE LA SALLES – THE EVIDENCE

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

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

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

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

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

1)

ABUSIVE DLS LAY TEACHERS IN THE 1960s.

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

2)

ABUSIVE DLS LAY TEACHERS IN THE 1970S.

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

There’s also this testimony from another Old Boy:

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

3)

ABUSIVE DLS LAY TEACHERS IN THE 1980s.

(Mercado has been covered previously.)

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

There is another testimony regarding a further lay teacher:

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

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

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

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

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

BROTHER ELWIN, BROTHER HUGH, BROTHER JAMES

I thought it was important to make a separate post of this new statement below from an Old Boy.  This now makes four accounts of sexual abuse by Brother James at St Joseph’s. (As well as endless accounts of his extreme violence.)  The implications of Brother James’s comment, ‘I can see you’re not ready,’ is  troubling and confirms his role as a serial sex offender as well as a violent psychopath.

If I had confirming evidence in my own case against James,  e.g. a witness, I would have already taken legal action against the De La Salle Order.  Unfortunately, it’s a solo crime, but sooner or later the right case will come along as it does with other schools, and action can be taken.

I was reflecting today that I wish there were other sites or places where the crimes of the De La Salle Brothers and the Catholic Church in Ipswich could be recorded. I’m very happy to list them here because I know one day soon they will have to be acted upon, especially as the testimonies grow in numbers.  But some Old Boys may prefer sharing with a different body.

For the record, I’m only aware of three options. But do say if you know of more.

1)The police. By far the best option if the De La Salle brother or lay teacher is still alive and compos mentis.   Many of them are still alive, so if you’re a survivor and you can handle it, please don’t leave it too long.  I can assure you from personal experience the police will take your statement seriously.

2) Diocese Catholic Safeguard Officer. In my opinion and personal experience, they are there to safeguard the Church, not survivors. I tried them some years ago and found the Officer was a complete waste of time and full of b.s. They might argue that the DLS brothers fall outside their jurisdiction. The Church’s ability to buck pass is impressive.  But I would be very happy to be proved wrong.

3)The De La Salle Order. Its current head is Brother Laurence Hughes who has stated publicly how concerned he is for the well-being of children.  See a past post. I’ve just read three harrowing accounts of his extreme physical violence against children when he was a teacher at St J’s.  One account, where Laurence takes a bowler’s run up to beat a child, is identical to the violence the psychopath Brother James used on a boy.  A man like this is a disgrace and should clearly resign, but until he does I don’t see how the DLS can take complaints of abuse seriously.

It goes without saying that the current  St J’s  would go into Pontius Pilate mode and say any complaints against the school are nothing to do with them. They’re very happy to draw on the great achievements of the school’s past but not its serious crimes against children.

It’s surprising how many famous and influential Old Boys who were at St J’s at the same time as myself but have nothing to say about the appalling abuse which we all know was endemic at the time. It may not have happened to them personally, but they’d have to be deaf, dumb and blind not to have seen what going on.  At the time, with gallows humor, we’d all make jokes about Brother Solomon being sent to the DLS Jersey ‘reformatory’. Shipwrecked sailors arrived on the island, saw Brother Solomon, and ran from him in terror.

Now is the time to speak out, even if it duplicates what’s already been noted. It helps to confirm the truth beyond any reasonable doubt.

I’m reminded of the phrase: If you are able to speak up and you don’t, then you are implicitly condoning it.

THE LATEST ACCOUNT:

I’m coming to this very late. I had a fair bit of contact with Brother Elwin as I was Head Choirboy in the year or so leading up to his death, and I lived a long way from Ipswich so spent half term holidays at the college. During half term he would sometimes set up practice sessions with me and get me to sing music outside the usual Catholic repertoire. I was obviously lucky or just unattractive to him as even in those 1:1 situations he was never other than appropriate. I wish I could say the same of Brother Hugh. Actually I am slightly worried that I might be misremembering events because I have seen no reference to him as an abuser but when I was in the 3rd or 4th form he was in charge of our dormitory, and at night regularly positioned himself in a chair next to one particular bed after lights out and abused it’s occupant. One of the boys with a quick wit came up with a re-working of the tune to Dad’s Army which parodied this activity. Was Brother Hugh’s surname Leyland? I was groomed for a time in my first year by I think Brother James (I have buried the memory very deep) and ended up naked (him still dressed) in the laundry room off our dormitory, but bizarrely he then said “I can see you’re not ready” and told me to get dressed and didn’t touch me. That was my one and only near-miss although I was on the receiving end of much brutality during my years (1967 to 1973).