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

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

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

The EADT assure me your anonymity would be completely protected.

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


Sarah Burgess

Investigations Reporter

M: ‪07809551238





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Their silence speaks volumes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Like Savile, Knight B ‘made things happen.’

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Not least because the Knights are still involved with children.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


As I’ve reported, there is now some movement on the historic crimes of the De La Salles both at St Jo’s and throughout the UK.  The DLS have themselves contacted the police and asked them to investigate allegations against their order. Whatever their motives, they are surely to be commended for taking this important step. Catholic Safeguarding have also asked the police of Operation Hydrant to similarly investigate the DLS.  This investigation will overlap into the serious issues raised about the Ipswich Knights of St Columba who were closely involved with the Ipswich DLS and perhaps still are.

In all this, the modern day St Joseph’s College Ipswich has stood aloof with the position that it is nothing to do with them, they are an entirely new organisation now which is thus not responsible for the multiple crimes of its past. And they are not a De La Salle school.

This is despite the fact that this “new” regime has basically the same uniform, they’re still listed as a La Sallian school, in recent years, at least, they still had a financial connection with the DLS, they compete for a La Sallian rugby trophy, they until recently honoured a violent and questionable teacher from the past with a school prize, they described themselves in the La Sallian tradition and they look back proudly on the College’s many historic La Sallian achievements.

But not the College’s many historic La Sallian crimes. They don’t know anything about them and they do not want to know. They take no responsibility for their school’s past.

It might seem that whatever the outcomes of the police investigations which I imagine will take some time, a year perhaps (although Safeguarding assure me they will be regularly expedited), that this is nothing to do with the modern St Jo’s. This is a defence used by other schools, too, (Sherborne, for instance) and sooner or later it will be challenged in law, not least because it is so transparently questionable and yet so popular with schools who choose not to take responsibility for their pasts.

When the time comes, the case below will have some relevance. It’s from a lawyer’s website and they specialise in dealing with abuse cases. There are some similarities to St Jo’s and some differences, too.  But I have certainly made a note of the lawyers concerned and will keep this under review.

It’s also interesting that  “Kingston and Richmond Local Safeguarding Children Board quite rightly commissioned a Serious Case Review into the school in approximately 2017.”  This covered five decades, so there is a similar potential remit there to St Jo’s.

I didn’t know there was a local Safeguarding Board and that’s something to also look at in due course and bring to their attention.

This sentence is particularly relevant. “BBK brought a claim against St Paul’s Juniors on the basis that they were responsible under the law for the actions of Harbord as their employee.”

Where the DLS responsibilities end and the modern day school’s responsibilities begin is something that will ultimately be determined by agencies external to the school itself.  

Meantime this case history may be useful for St Jo’s and other DLS survivors considering taking action. It should also be a reminder to St Jo’s, especially now the DLS have, rather surprisingly, done the decent thing, that they might like to do the decent thing, too.  


4. Schools

Independent school St Paul’s Juniors (formerly Colet Court) pays damages for abuse

BBK have successfully sued St Paul’s Juniors for abuse that one of their clients experienced, carried out by one of the school’s teachers.  The school, based in Barnes, London was the subject of an abuse scandal over many decades from the 1960’s involving numerous members of staff and has been heavily reported upon in the press in recent years following successful convictions.

Such was the extent of the allegations made against teachers at the school (over 80 complaints in relation to 32 different members of staff), that following convictions of five members of staff, Kingston and Richmond Local Safeguarding Children Board quite rightly commissioned a Serious Case Review into the school in approximately 2017.

The review’s report was published in January 2020 and focused on the systemic abuse by a number of teachers over five decades at the school and demanded that the school make an “unambiguous statement” that it accepts full responsibility for the abuse experienced by pupils at the school.

Following the case review, the school responded by stating, “We accept full responsibility for the past abuse experienced by pupils at the school and have previously apologised to survivors and our wider school community.”

Having seen the report, our client, who had previously never told anyone of the abuse he suffered, bravely reported his teacher Timothy Harbord who taught at the school between 1998-2013.  Harbord was charged with numerous offences against our client but was found dead before a trial could take place.

BBK brought a claim against St Paul’s Juniors on the basis that they were responsible under the law for the actions of Harbord as their employee.

As part of the claim we obtained a medical report detailing exactly how our client had been impacted over the years by the abuse he suffered.  It was clear that the abuse had caused him difficulties with his mental health which had also impacted on his employment and ability to earn a living.

Following negotiations, the claim settled for a five figure sum, allowing our client to obtain therapy on a private basis with a therapist of his choice as and when he requires it.


I’m always a little wary of being optimistic where bringing Catholic child abusers to justice is concerned.  Even so, I think this is encouraging news and is certainly a big step forward, following the DLS not-so-public public apology.

Catholic Safeguarding have written back to me. As I’ve previously related, the allegations on this site are with Hydrant and Safeguarding confirmed this is the case.

But the key NEW information they gave me is as follows:

Firstly, they informed me:

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

I have to say I read this sentence several times before fully absorbing it. I really couldn’t believe it. This, surely, is progress, although I know we’re not at the end of the road yet.

Catholic Safeguarding also responded to my raising concerns about the Scottish DLS St Ninian’s case.

Here’s what they had to say:

“Thank you for bringing the latest court case to my attention, the concerns raised will be placed before DLS and communicated to Hydrant and I will bring it to the attention of the SCOE Commission at our next meeting.

In respect of SCOE, although the victim testimony is powerful, safeguarding matters pertaining to Scotland are not under our remit for any member religious orders within SCOE, only those pertaining to England and Wales, so this case or others that may exist, outside of England and Wales, are not considered by us.

Safeguarding matters in Scotland are overseen by the Scottish Catholic Safeguarding Service.”

So special thanks to the two survivors of St Ninians who wrote and told me what happened to them.  You are super stars!

I would hope there will be some traction as the English Safeguarding and the DLS and Hydrant presumably bring the Scottish Safeguarding into the loop.  If you don’t hear anything in a couple of months, do let me know.

Thanks also to all the survivors of all the De La Salles schools for writing into this site with your testimonies.  Hey – we finally got somewhere!

I think there is cause for a little cautious celebration all round.


Here’s details on the De La Salle apology as reported in The Tablet.

Looking ahead to when Operation Hydrant reports on the DLS, here is a good starting point on:


It could be done NOW on the three most notorious and multiple abusers Brothers Solomon, Kevin and James. Because the DLS must already have files proving their guilt beyond any reasonable doubt. They can’t possibly not know.

Making a true apology now on this trio would be a gesture of good faith. It would also save valuable police time and Safeguarding time proving what the DLS already know.

 So here’s a possible ROLE MODEL FOR APOLOGY.

It is a recent example from the monks at St John’s Abbey in Minnesota. Whilst by no means perfect, it’s a HUGE  improvement on the De La Salles apology

So if the DLS or Safeguarding ask, ‘Well, what is it you do want?’ I would say this was a good starting point.

I would urge the DLS and Safeguarding to study it because it shows there can be a solution. Or maybe they know of a better one?

What I like about the example is the FILES of the abusers are made available to survivors. I don’t really want to know all their personal history and medical records, but I would like to know who they were and why they did the terrible things they did. Brother James, in my case.

And when the De La Salles knew about their crimes.

And by releasing the files they are acknowledging the crimes of individuals. So if anyone wants to seek compensation, which is their right, the path is made a little easier and clearer.

I would hope the files have not been lost or destroyed as has happened too frequently in Catholic abuse cases.

St John’s also do a public outreach through the media to other potential survivors which is another thing the DLS could do.

It also makes clear (in the interview below) that the crimes have to be confirmed first. That’s fine and is the work Hydrant I hope is currently doing.

But just as important as the input below– IMHO we Survivors need to make contact with the DLS.  At the moment, I’m pretty certain they can’t be reached. They’re in their fortress, responding only with lawyer-speak and guarded and limited apologies.

Saying ‘We’re sorry, but we don’t want to speak to you, now please go away’ is not good enough.

A key element in reconciliation or closure is to make EYEBALL contact with the abuser or his representative and know they mean it.

After the cases have been proven, I’d certainly like to speak to a DLS brother spokesperson in his robes (not a Suit or a Lawyer) and hear what he has to say and for him to listen to my views. That would work for me. I want to see their faces.

It can be limited to…  30 – 60 minutes max?  And if they fear the call becomes abusive, which is most unlikely as we’re all grown-ups,  well, they can just end the call.

Twenty or more calls (say)  to survivors by Skype or Zoom is practical and feasible. A phone call  – for me, at least – isn’t personal enough.  It’s better than a webinar because each survivor needs an individual response. Or individual letters if survivors don’t want to look at a DLS brother.

But EYE CONTACT is best.  That makes it real.

I think we can all recognise a genuine apology, so it would be up to the DLS to pick genuine and courageous brothers, rather than spin doctors and definitely not Suits. I would hope they still exist in the ranks of the DLS. It may be triggering, but if safeguards are in place I feel it should be okay.

If the De La Salles have no spine to do this, no gumption, no compassion, no time, then what is the point of their existence?

 Although a public webinar is an interesting alternative or addition that would be similar to IICSA and might be recorded like IICSA.  A Survivors Tribunal on line would have gravitas but it would take a lot of organising and I doubt the DLS would turn up! I could see the DLS and their Suits obstructing and resisting a common sense procedure , so that would not be practical, I fear.  A pity.

Sometimes – even now – it seems to me the DLS think they have the power and we are individuals to be treated with impatience or even disdain. Similar to how things were when we were kids and they were abusing us.

As part of our healing, we need them to acknowledge the tables have been turned.

We have the power now.

Not the Suits. They need to talk UP to us. Not down to us.

Not the DLS brothers. They have lost their power by their crimes.

Not Safeguarding.

And not IICSA with its cringe-worthy establishment respect for abusive  clerical organisations unworthy of respect (e.g. Benedictines)

 On balance, individual calls seems easier and  feasible and if it’s never happened before, that’s no reason it can’t happen now.  Zoom and Skype are relatively new so we should take advantage of the technology.

I know 12 step programs sometimes include making contact with someone who has been wronged, so it’s hardly unique.

As I said previously, a true apology would be healing for the DLS, too. It can’t be pleasant living with the constant gorilla of abuse in the corner.

Other survivors may have better solutions. If so, do please say. These are just my thoughts on the subject.

Here’s the link to a better way:

Below are just highlights of the article and interview:

Saint John’s Abbey is voluntarily releasing the files of monks who credibly have been accused of sexual abuse of minors. These files include the personal letters, medical records, legal documents, and other papers that document every aspect of these monks’ lives. They are being released with the consent of the monks in the hope that their disclosure will help survivors. 

Read an interview with Abbot John Klassen, OSB, on the importance of the files and their role in the abbey’s decades-long journey to help the healing of survivors, to hold offending monks accountable and to prevent abuse. The interview is here.

Certain portions of these disclosed documents have been obscured (i.e, the names of victims and uninvolved persons, and social security numbers).  These mark-ups, or redactions, were made out of concern for the rights and privacy of private persons, and to protect the rights and privacy of victims of sexual abuse.  

The Walk-In Counseling Center in Minneapolis, MN, which has been engaged by Saint John’s Abbey to offer assistance to anyone who may have experienced abuse by a monk of the Abbey. Contact Mr. Gary Schoener. Telephone (612) 870-0565.


Is the transparency Initiative something new? Abbot: The name, Transparency Initiative, captures a 30-year record of the abbey taking effective actions to reach out to survivors, to hold offending monks accountable and to prevent abuse. Those who review the files will see a decades-long record of the abbey making public the names of monks who have offended, public outreach through the media to other potential survivors and a history of effective actions the abbey has taken to prevent abuse. The actions have been extraordinary and effective. We know of no incident of sexual abuse of a minor by a monk of Saint John’s in more than two decades.

Why aren’t the files of other monks who have been accused of abuse included? Abbot: The abbey has released comprehensive files of all monks who likely have offended against minors. When credible allegations have been presented, the abbey rigorously has implemented its sexual abuse policy regardless of the monk involved. This policy requires a thorough investigation of the claim by an expert, objective third-party. While some allegations have garnered headlines, the detailed and objective investigation found the claims to be unsubstantiated. The files released in the Transparency Initiative are those of all the monks, past and present, who have likely offended against minors. Claims that there are other offenders are simply false.

How do the files help survivors of abuse? Abbot: The release of the files is an acknowledgement of the harm that has been done. The files share heartbreaking and tragic details of suffering inflicted on survivors of misconduct. We in the monastic community grieve the pain and suffering of those who have been harmed, whose lives have been diminished by the pain they suffered. Survivors will find in these files a commitment to holding accountable those monks who have offended and a consistent record of effective actions to prevent abuse. It also is important that survivors – those who have come forward and those who have not yet made that decision – have complete and accurate information. The files provide that information.

Is the information in the files relevant to others? Abbot: Absolutely. It is important to evaluate the files in the context of a journey the abbey has been taking for the past quarter century or more. The release of the files is not the destination. The destination is defined by three critical goals: First, contributing to the healing of survivors; Second, holding accountable those monks who have offended; and, Third, preventing new incidents of abuse. The importance of the files and their release is not so much in their detail — although, we are hopeful that survivors will see in the detail the abbey’s commitment to acknowledging the harm that has been done and the priority we have placed on accountability — but the record the files collectively show of the abbey’s initiatives to reach out to survivors and to prevent new cases of abuse. What often gets lost in today’s headlines is that because of the effective actions the abbey has taken we know of no incident of sexual abuse of a minor by a monk of St. John’s in more than two decades.


It seems appropriate on November 3 to remember the appalling crimes of the De La Salle brothers which both they and their defender, the Rev. Des Bill at Catholic Safeguarding, seem to be unconcerned by.

And my old school St Joseph’s College,Ipswich which is still listed as a DLS school and still competes for the rugby De La Salle Cup.

Below is an eloquent and moving account by Jimmy Boyle of DLS crimes.

He revealed: “The violence at St John’s was the worst I’ve ever witnessed, either on the streets or in the toughest jails.

“Today, I’m still haunted by the sound of breaking bones as a monk deliberately smashed a child’s leg to smithereens.  or the footsteps in the night that heralded yet another horrific rape of a terrified crying child.”

“Scotland’s prisons were littered with the casualties of the De La Salle regime. Inside prison, we De La Salle boys were like a secret brotherhood. We all recognised the signs.”

On Nov 3 I shall be remembering is his school mates who didn’t survive the rapes, torture and beatings of the De La Salle brothers.

Lest we forget.

He made a heartfelt plea to the Catholic Church: “Drop this conspiracy of silence and open your hearts to the suffering of these men.”

You will see the report is dated 2001. How much has changed in 20 years?

Not much. The De La Salles continue to pay only lip service to acknowledging their crimes.

Doubtless they may think that they ‘rode out the storm’ of Jimmy Boyle’s charges against them and – behind closed doors – congratulate themselves on sitting tight and  it all went away.

But not this time.

Because today social media enables us to expose their crimes to a wider public in a way that was just not possible twenty years ago. 

And their crimes are better known today, more so than 20 years ago.

I intend to make them more well known.

They are running out of time.

JIMMY BOYLE; EXCLUSIVE. Sunday Mail, (Glasgow, Scotland) 6 May 2001 Byline: Marion Scott

IT’S hard to believe now that society once labelled him the most feared and violent man in the country.

But, vicious as he was in his youth, one thing struck terror in the heart of former hardman Jimmy Boyle…

The De La Salle Brothers, the Catholic order of monks which ran List D Schools throughout Scotland with a sickening regime so brutal, it brought hard cases like Boyle to their knees.

Breaking a 43-year silence over the “sadistic beatings” at St John’s List D School, Glasgow, Jimmy Boyle told the Sunday Mail of the horrific catalogue of abuse.

He revealed: “The violence at St John’s was the worst I’ve ever witnessed, either on the streets or in the toughest jails.

“It was terrifying   and vicious because the violence and abuse was directed at innocent, vulnerable children.

“Today, I’m still haunted by the sound of breaking bones as a monk deliberately smashed a child’s leg to smithereens.  or the footsteps in the night that heralded yet another horrific rape of a terrifiedcrying child.”

Boyle, 57, now a sculptor, was moved to come out of seclusion seclusion in the South of France  to support hundreds of other victims of De La Salle brutality.

He made a heartfelt plea to the Catholic Church: “Drop this conspiracy of silence and open your hearts to the suffering of these men.

“We are all living testament to what happened in these schools. You know we are telling the truth.

“This is a weeping sore that will not go away until they are given justice.”

Born in 1944 to a poor family in Glasgow’s Gorbals, Boyle was hardly out of short trousers before he’d started on a life of crime, with shoplifting and petty thefts.

, tough and street-wise as he was, nothing prepared young Boyle for life inside St John’s List D School in Springboig.

Barely 14, Boyle had stolen a cash box containing pounds 7 from a stall at a fun fair, a crime which was to earn him 14 nightmare months under the care of the De La Salle Brothers. [See NOTE 1]

At St John’s, he was soon to learn that, inside that building, brutality and gratuitous violence were as much a way of life as breathing.

He said: “As I stood in the school corridor, scared and thinking of my mum crying at the court, I was met by a De La Salle brother, his black robes flying around him as he walked towards me.

“He neither looked directly at me, nor said a single word. As he passed, he lifted his hand and smashed it down on my head.

“He was carrying a red snooker ball and I hit the deck like a pack of cards, as stunned by the blow as I was that a monk could do such a thing.

“It was the first taste of many beatings and tortures to come. Although some of us, like me, had already been in trouble with the law for petty offences, many boys had been placed there under care and protection orders.

“They were the most vulnerable and the easiest targets for paedophile paedophile  monks, for the psychopaths and for the brutal monsters who stalked the corridors of the De La Salle schools
“Every single one of us who went through that regime still bear scars on our hearts and souls. There was rampant child abuse, rape and paedophilia

“Children were passed around like parcels of meat for the satisfaction of paedophile monks who ruled by terror and hid behind a conspiracy of silence.

“We’d lie in our dorm beds, night after night, and listen to kids being taken away to be raped and abused.

“I can still hear the sound of those footsteps walking across the dorm, stopping at a bed, then walking off again with a sobbing child as we cowered in fear under our bedcovers.

“I was a tough street kid, brought up in the Gorbals, so I was never a target for sex abuse.

“But we saw and heard it going on all around us, and knew there was no-one we could turn to or tell about it.

“We’d already earned the label of ‘bad boys’, so nobody cared or wanted to believe Catholic monks were paedophile monsters.

“It was unthinkable in those days to accuse a monk or a priest of sex abuse or of beating a child. My mother was a devout Catholic. Even she wouldn’t have believed me if I’d told her what was going on.

“I was luckier than many of the other boys. I was subjected only to their brutality. I was never sexually abused. But the fear that you could be victim to sexual abuse was always there. We’d do anything to stay safe and keep the paedophiles at bay.

“One brother, nicknamed ‘Bounce’ because he was so fat, liked pornographic magazines as well as young boys. Whenever we got a weekend pass home, we’d bring him back some porn, so he’d pick on other boys for sex.

“It was like a survival game, but we were all casualties. What happened to me at that school still affects me deeply. Talking about it now, all these years later, is still very hard.

“I’m not making excuses for what I did in my life. But I, and most other De La Salle boys, went on to a life of crime, or to destroy ourselves through drink or drugs.

“Scotland’s prisons were littered with the casualties of the De La Salle regime. Inside prison, we De La Salle boys were like a secret brotherhood. We all recognised the signs.

“We knew instantly who’d been inside a De La Salle school because we all carried the same deep emotional and psychological scars. In our darkest moments, we’d talk about our horrific experiences there. All of us agreed, no matter how tough any prison regime, none was as brutal as De La Salle.

“The stories were the same from all the De La Salle schools – St Mary’s, Bishopbriggs, St John’s, St Ninian’s, Gartmore, and St Joseph’s, Tranent.

“We found many monks moved around from school to school, abusing boys at will.

“Many of us had learned to fight against authority before we arrived at these schools. But we still trusted, respected and feared the Catholic Church.

“What hurt the most was these so-called men of God, the last men on Earth we expected to betray us, turning into abusers, and taking our last bastion of hope away.”

After 14 months of brutality, Boyle was finally released from St John’s. But the experiences had changed him. Long before he arrived at St John’s, he had lost any respect and fear of authority figures. After St John’s, he couldn’t even trust the very Church his mother Bessie had lived her life and her family around.

It was the ultimate betrayal. Afterwards, Boyle was in and out of jail for most of his young adult life. He became a notorious knife man, involved in gang fights, slashings, bottle attacks and money lending.

He earned the nickname Babyface Boyle. But there was nothing cute or cuddly.  about Boyle in those days. In 1967, he was found guilty of murdering a rival gang member, William ‘Babs’ Rooney, and was jailed for life.

Railing against prison authorities led Boyle to years of dirty protests and extra jail time for violent outbursts against warders. Locked away like an animal inside the solitary segregation cages now banned in Scotland’s jails, Boyle was the most hated and feared prisoner in the system.

He was ruthless, fearless and uncontrollable. In May 1973, as ringleader of the Porterfield prison riots. , he was sentenced to a further six years for the attempted murder of six warders.

His salvation came after he became one of the first prisoners to enter the controversial and experimental Special Unit at Barlinnie.

In the Special Unit, Boyle discovered he no longer needed a knife or a weapon to express himself or make his mark on society. He found art and sculpture a more acceptable forum, and began carving out a whole new life.

He had been in prison for 10 years when he met psychologist Sarah Trevelyan, the middle-class daughter of former film censor John.

Drawn by his book, A Sense of Freedom, Sarah met him and soon saw through the hardman image to the real Boyle. Despite all the odds, and the huge gap in cultures, they were married in 1980.

Released two years later from jail, Boyle developed a respectable career as an artist and writer, feted by television and the media. Although they recently split, Jimmy and Sarah remain extremely close, continuing to work together for their life-defining charity, The Gateway Exchange programme.

Jimmy said: “I’ve been very, very lucky. I’ve gone on to enjoy a wonderful life, success and happiness. But, I know I’m one of the lucky few. Only a tiny handful of my contemporaries have managed to break away from the past.

“Most are still traumatised and badly affected by what happened. I recently met one of my old St John’s schoolmates. He looked like a man in his 70s. I know this man was repeatedly abused. He was passed around the monks like a parcel of meat.

“He’s a shadow of a man now. He shakes all the time and looks totally defeated by life.

“Larry Winters, who was in the Special Unit with me, was also at St John’s. He wasn’t a tough city boy. Being brought up in the country, Larry didn’t have my hard edge. He was mercilessly abused by the monks.

“The De La Salle Brothers were big strong brutes of men. The sexual abuse they inflicted made the boys feel dirty and worthless inside.

“These victims have found it virtually impossible to have normal, happy relationships for the rest of their lives.

“They’ve found it difficult to relate to wives and girlfriends, and even to their own children. The damage is enormous. None of us realised how badly we were affected until we left these schools, and tried to get on with life in the real world.”

Visibly moved by the plight of the hundreds of men who have come forward and accused the De La Salle Brothers of the most horrific acts of abuse, Boyle went on: “I share their pain.

“I’m dismayed and disappointed that Cardinal Winning has allowed this situation to drag on without intervening. As a man with a good heart, he cannot stay silent any longer.

“I’m disgusted by the Church’s response to this scandal. The evidence of systematic abuse is overwhelming.

“How can they say the De La Salle order weren’t responsible for running these schools?

“I was there for 14 months and, apart from a couple of civilian workers, I saw no-one other than De La Salle Brothers. I never saw any Board of Governors, or any other civilians. The head of St John’s when I was there was a Brother Peter. He was a wonderful man who did nothing but inspire me.

“I believe I was protected from the full horror of the abuse because he was a benign influence. But it didn’t stop the rest of the monks destroying other children in their care.

“The Nolan Report sets out guidelines which are supposed to stop anything like this ever happening again. But it also calls for past abuses to be investigated.

“I call on the Church to do that now, and end the suffering of these men and their families. This isn’t about compensation, because no amount of money can ease such suffering. This is about justice.

“For 40 years, men have been suffering in silence, battling to come to terms with this horror. The Church can make a start towards the healing process by at least saying sorry.

“My wife Sarah was extremely supportive and helped me get over the traumas I suffered. She understood the effects of such abuse.

“She and our two children have given me their full backing to support the Sunday Mail campaign and to talk of my own experiences in the hope it will help others.

“If families in difficulty need support or counselling, we will try to help through our Gateway Exchange Opportunities Trust.

“I will be calling on First Minister Henry McLeish to ensure this issue is brought into the public arena, and I’m willing to give testimony to what happened in these schools.”

Applicants for counselling and support can write to: Gateway Exchange Opportunities Trust, 13 Inverleith Place Lane, Edinburgh, EH3 5QJ.

Life and crimes of Jimmy Boyle

1944: Born in Glasgow’s Gorbals. Is thieving while still at school.

1954: Sent to St John’s De La Salle List D School for stealing pounds 7 from a fun fair cash box, and later describes the regime as the most brutal he’s ever witnessed.

1956: Leaves St John’s after 14 months. Soon joins the Glasgow street gang scene and earns a reputation as a hardman with a knife in the feared Gorbals ‘Cumbie’ gang.

1967: After various knife fights, sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of rival gang member William ‘Babs’ Rooney.

1968: Begins a campaign of violence against prison authorities at Invernessand Peterhead and after being sent to the solitary block, begins a dirty protest in the notorious “cages”. Another four years added to his sentence for assaulting officers at Peterhead.

1973: Described as ringleader of the Porterfield prison riots, and sentenced to a further six years. Categorised as most dangerous, violent prisoner in the country. Out of the blue, is invited to join Barlinnie Prison Special Unit.

1977: An art teacher gives Boyle a lump of clay, and a dam of creativity bursts forth. He writes his autobiography, A Sense of Freedom, in just six weeks, and it is published to critical acclaim.

1978: Beautiful middle-class psycho-therapist Sarah Trevelyan reads his book, and decides to meet Boyle. She quickly sees through the hardman image and their friendship blossoms.

1979: Second half of his autobiography, The Pain of Confinement, is published. A Sense of Freedom, with actor David Hayman’s portrayal of Boyle, becomes a celebrated TV movie.

1980: He marries Sarah while still in prison and creates a media frenzy.

1982: Finally released from prison, Boyle is by now a sculptor, writer, artist, and totally transformed human being.

1984: Uses the proceeds from A Sense of Freedom to launch a trust for underprivileged kids.

1985: Daughter Suzi is born.

1988: Son, Kydd, follows.

1994: Murder of son James, from first marriage, aged 28, in Glasgow.

1999: First novel, Hero of the Underworld is published.

2000: He and Sarah part.

2001: Quits for the South of France to protect children from his past, but pledges to continue his work with Sarah for their Gateway Trust project.

Life and crimes of De La Salle

1680: De La Salle Brothers are founded in France by John Baptist de La Salle. Not ordained monks in the true sense, but men with a vocation to teach.

1949: Recognised when the Pope proclaims St John Baptist de La Salle the “Patron Saint of All Teachers”.

1950s: De La Salle Brothers take in thousands of Scottish Catholic children placed at their four List D schools under care and protection orders, or for minor petty offences such as truancy. Four schools – St John’s, Springboig, St Mary’s, Bishopbriggs, St Ninian’s, Gartmore, and St Joseph’s, Tranent – all have the motto: ” To touch the hearts of your pupils is the greatest miracle you can perform.”

1954: Jimmy Boyle is sent to St John’s, Springboig for stealing pounds 7.

1982: With the costs of keeping each child at a De La Salle School reaching pounds 2000 a week at today’s prices, the Scottish Office decide to change tack and the schools close.

1999: The Irish government is forced to apologise to thousands of victims of orphanages and schools, including De La Salle, after reports of widespread abuse. A commission investigating child abuse is launched, Legal Aid made available, and a compensation tribunal established. Over pounds 4million a year is pledged to provide counselling for the many victims.

2000: James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan reveals he was a victim of De La Salle brutality, repeatedly physically abused at school in Navan in the 1960s.

2000: In Belfast, suspected “pervert” monk, Joseph Scallyknown as Brother Flo, is sued after abuse allegations from a former De La Salle pupil. Brother Flo, 64, was head of the De La Salle Boys’ Home at Rubane, Kircubbin, County Down, from 1977 until the mid 80s.

2000: In Queensland, Australia, the De La Salle Brothers are among religious orders at the centre of horrific child abuse allegations. After the Catholic Church denies the allegations, the Australian government launch an on-going Commission of Inquiry into a catalogue of abuse at orphanages and detention schools dating from 1911 until the present day.

2001: The Sunday Mail reveals monks and civilian teachers are the subject of reports to the Procurator Fiscal after allegations of torture, sexual abuse and brutality at De La Salle Schools in Scotland between the 50s and the 80s.

Hundreds of alleged victims come forward, but the Scottish Legal Aid Board turn down their applications, claiming there is no evidence of “systematic abuse”. NOTES: [1] Extract from article in The Herald Scotland on 2 June 2001 by Jean West – “She Taught Me How To Love”: He had already tasted years in punitive institutions – including a draconian spell at St John’s List D Catholic school in Glasgow, run by De La Salle monks and now subject of a childcare scandal – for petty theft and significant violence.


I’ve just received today this De La Salle (DLS) general apology to survivors from Catholic Safeguarding.

I have some thoughts on it and on the role of Catholic Safeguarding, but first here is the apology itself.


“The Trustees of De La Salle GB  acknowledge social media posts alleging historic abuse in De La Salle school settings. The Trust is also committed to cooperating with the police in any investigation into any allegation made.

We strongly denounce the abuse of children and those who commit such acts. We realise that only the victim can fully understand the nature of the hurt and the damage caused by their abuser, especially when it has occurred at the hands of someone who was in a position of trust, being responsible for their wellbeing.

WHERE A BROTHER OR MEMBER OF STAFF AT ANY DE LA SALLE SCHOOL WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ABUSE OF ANY PUPIL WE OFFER AN UNRESERVED APOLOGY.  (My caps)  It goes against everything that compelled our Founder to respond to the needs and challenges of the young people of Rheims in the 17th century”.

October 2021

My thoughts on this apology are BELOW and I welcome the views of everyone on this subject. Do let me know how far you agree or disagree with my conclusions and that may help in framing a possible response now or in the future. After all, I’m representing the views and experiences of a number of survivors as well as myself.


I feel the apology is a small but positive first step and it seems to be in response to this blog and the social media posts of others who have spoken out.  So that is encouraging and to be welcomed! Thank you to all the DLS survivors who had the courage to speak out and relate their often painful testimonies. You’re all stars! It looks like it could finally be worth it.



It’s actually far from public.

As you can see from the above, it arrived without any official letterhead and it was unsigned.

I only became aware of it because Catholic Safeguarding mentioned it and I had to request a copy from them!  No other DLS survivor is aware of it that I know and I am in contact with numerous DLS survivors.

So how was it publicly released?  I’ve tried a number of Google search terms and can find nothing. I’ve also checked a key Lasallian website and it’s not there either. Therefore:

It is NOT a public apology if the public can’t read it.

It is NOT a public apology if you apologise to yourself in private.

That appears to be what happened here – that it had a limited circulation to Catholic Safeguarding and similar bodies.

Therefore the DLS have done the minimum necessary and that is NOT a good sign for the future.   

ALL DLS survivors need to read this apology.  

Not just those who read my blog. The DLS survivors of St Ninian’s for example where a DLS brother who tortured children with electric shocks is being sentenced on November 3.

So I would ask the DLS and Catholic Safeguarding or journalists reading this blog, to make this apology more widely known.


In my view, a blanket statement and generalised apology as above is useful but not enough.

Especially where a particular school, like St Joseph’s College, Ipswich, was a proven hub for widespread sexual and extreme physical abuse, the apology needs to be specific.

And, indeed, for all survivors of DLS abuse.

And the DLS also need to back it up with deeds. Otherwise it’s meaningless just saying ‘sorry’ to multiple cases of extreme violence, torture, rape and sexual abuse.  The deeds do not have to mean financial compensation necessarily. There are other ways of proving sincerity and I’ve suggested some to Safeguarding, in line with actions in the States against a Benedictine order there.  That order have shown full transparency and compassion to survivors and that’s what I, for one, am looking for rather than cash.  It could actually save the DLS money!

I have passed details of  allegations of sexual and physical abuse by THIRTEEN DLS brothers and lay teachers and a school chaplain at St Joseph’s – and also at DLS schools elsewhere in Southern England – to Catholic Safeguarding.

They have in turn passed them to Operation Hydrant, the police force that deals with historic abuse.

As these 13 cases have already featured on my blog, and are thus already in the public domain, I can publish them again or forward them to any interested party. They include, of course: Brother Solomon aka The Swinging Monk aka Mike Mercado, Brother Kevin and Brother James.

And they also include a detailed account of just how the DLS covered up abusive crimes by their members.

To quote from it

‘What is abundantly clear to me is that it was not just one individual who was responsible for moving these monsters around to avoid detection, but an administrative organisation. Someone somewhere knew exactly what kind of person Brother Kevin was/is and actively appointed him in a position of trust and authority over young boys, some as young as 6 or 7 years old.’

Here’s what Safeguarding have told me: ‘I have forwarded it to Operation Hydrant and have asked for their comment and advice on any next steps.’

They have also told me that they will consider further steps regarding the DLS once Hydrant have looked into it.  They had this to say:

‘As a police investigation is ongoing I would wish to see the outcome of this before the SCOE commission considers and determines what more needs to be done in respect of the issues you raise.’

I’d absolutely agree with this and can understand and appreciate we may now have to wait some time. Hydrant may or may not want further statements from survivors who have written to this site. These include myself. But I would also hope that the sheer volume of testimonies  – combined with endless cases nationwide against the De La Salle order, historic and more recent- would indicate that corruption, cover-ups and abuse was clearly rife with no indication when it stopped and therefore today’s DLS order should be investigated at every level.

It should also be born in mind that the DLS today are still in charge of children. At what point in the past the DLS  changed their ways – and why – I have no way of knowing.


Catholic Safeguarding officer Rev. Des Bill alerted me to the existence of the apology when he said to me “It is disappointing if the statement recently issued by the order may not be seen, by victims and survivors, as acknowledging any abuse that may have been committed in any De La Salle school setting.”

‘Disappointing’ , to me, is a weaponised word. I and many others use it as a rebuke for conduct or responses we don’t like. I assume his rather oblique disappointment is with me personally.

One of my twitter followers also had this to say about his response: ‘That’s really **** lawyer-speak.’

What I took away from Bill’s response, rightly or wrongly, is that the view of Catholic Safeguarding is that DLS have apologized, we survivors should accept their minimal, general and unpublicized apology and that should be it.

In short, we (or perhaps me, personally) should be silent now at least until Hydrant reports and advises.

I can absolutely see Bill’s point of view, but in the interim there are other serious aspects to all this, some of which Safeguarding could deal with alone or at the very least acknowledge. 

That hasn’t happened thus far.


I had thought that the reformed Catholic Safeguarding of today was there primarily to support survivors, rather than to safeguard the Church and its religious orders against survivors.

Des Bill’s statement above and the statement below indicates otherwise.  Remarkably, he had this to say to me, without any evidence:

“I believe De La Salle are not distancing themselves from their responsibility and accountability for historic abuse at St Joseph’s or elsewhere.”

This indicates to me that Safeguarding are primarily supportive towards the De La Salles, rather than the survivors.

I have asked Des Bill for clear evidence when the DLS have been pro-active as he suggests, rather than distancing themselves.

This has not been forthcoming.

By comparison, I can provide endless clear evidence where the DLS have seriously distanced themselves from responsibility and accountability for their abuse.

As follows:

Here’s the view of one survivor

Here’s an excerpt from this link:

I’ve asked for an education from the De La Salle order. I was treated with utter contempt by a representative. The order didn’t have the courage to meet with me in person, so they sent a messenger to scold and embarrass me. All I was asking for was a chance to be educated.

And here’s the opinion of a National Newspaper, Scottish Mail in 2003 on the DLS St Ninian’s case.


DE LA SALLE monks are trying to wash their hands of 200 sex abuse claims that could cost pounds 20million in compensation.

The order is using a technicality to try to stop a mass claim in a landmark civil court action.

They say cases dating back to the 1970s are timebarred and should have been raised within three years of any attack – or by the time victims were aged 19.

Here’s the Guardian in 2001 showing, once again, how the DLS are trying to distance themselves.

Former pupils at the school, which closed in 1982, have alleged they were tortured, beaten and sexually molested by a number of the monks and civilian staff.

A spokesman for the order said all the allegations were vigorously denied, and the home had been run in an “exemplary” manner.

(The account later continues)

“I was battered so many times on my head and ears I cannot hear a thing on my left side, and I’ve undergone extensive surgery because of it. There was a field next to the school with an electric fence. I saw the monks, on a number of occasions, forcing boys to grasp it until they cried out in pain.”

John McCormick, a Glasgow-based lawyer representing the De La Salle order, said the monks had cooperated fully with police. “Nobody has been charged,” he said. “The allegations are vigorously denied.

“All the evidence available to me indicates that St Ninian’s was run in an exemplary manner. Unlike those making the allegations and their advisers I will reserve any further comment until after the results of the civil action are known.”


Solicitor John McCormick’s dead father Frank was a governor of St Ninian’s at Gartmore, Stirlingshire.

McCormick has been blamed for labelling the victims attention seekers and accusing them of being motivated by greed.

He told the Catholic Observer: “There are many reasons why people make spurious allegations, including, of course, the obvious, a claim for compensation.

“There are also people with various attention-seeking psychological conditions.”

McCormick also battled to stop victims getting financial assistance to fund civil actions against the Catholic order despite their tormentors gaining Legal Aid to defend themselves in court.

He told the Scottish Legal Aid Board the De La Salle order never “owned, governed, or ran” the former List D Schools, St Mary’s Bishopbriggs, St Joseph’s, Tranent, St Nininan’s, Gartmore, or St John’s, Springboig.

Yet all of these schools were listed in the Scottish Catholic Directory as De La Salle Schools, and large number of Catholic Church heirarchy held responsible positions in them.  “


Despite the efforts of the DLS and their front man McCormick, three men from St Ninians – including a DLS brother – have been found guilty of abuse and will be sentenced on November 3.

I pointed all the above ‘distancing’  out to Catholic Safeguarding and they have chosen not to respond.


I’m extremely grateful that Safeguarding have passed the charges  to Hydrant. That is very positive! Neverthless it’s clear to me from the foregoing that Safeguarding are partisan towards the DLS and either dismissive of my objectives – truth and justice – or disbelieving of the questionable role of the DLS.  

That is worrying.

I also found their attitude at odds with their mission statement:

Care and support of those who have been harmed by abuse with whom we build these relationships will be foremost, ensuring that any engagement does not create anxiety or the possibility of re-traumatisation for the individual involved. Positive engagement can be part of the healing process for the person who has been harmed by abuse and care will be taken to ensure that those we speak with are not adversely affected. 

Suggestions from those who have been harmed by abuse will be welcomed and considered as part of the ongoing development of the safeguarding service. 

I found Des Bill’s reponse to me extremely terse and hardly welcoming to the evidence I submitted to him. He also did not respond to important points I raised – separate to Hydrant and relevant for a response from Safeguarding alone.

The result was it was indeed retraumatising.

As a boy my claims  of abuse by key figures in the Church were dismissed by Catholics in authority and here it was happening all over again. Hardly a unique story.

I also felt, rightly or wrongly, that he was exasperated by the sheer volume of claims against the DLS whom you can see for yourselves he clearly holds in some regard.  Even in summary with links to more testimonies the document amounted to over 6,000 words.  That’s a measure of just what we’re dealing with here and how very serious it is.

I’m hardly alone in my concerns.  Other Catholic survivors have endlessly complained about the singular lack of compassion in their dealings with the Church. To also quote from IICSA’s report into the Catholic Church:

‘The support offered to victims which was in some cases entirely absent or, in one case, “grudgingly offered”.680.She told us that when reading the records she could feel “the compassion” for those accused of child sexual abuse.“When it came to the alleged victims, that was rarely visible in the reports. If there was consideration for their needs, it was rarely … with any sense of great compassion.”’

In my future dealings with Safeguarding, I will now have to sadly recognise that they remain part of the problem with the Catholic Church as well as being part of the solution.

Call for inquiry into former De La Salle school

An article in the Tablet 17th September with the headline as above. Here’s the link:

Good to see the story of St Joseph’s featured in a publication read by the Catholic community. And it’s encouraging to know that the Tablet was interested.

A few details I should comment on. I was the developer of Dredd, rather than its creator.  Brother Solomon – ‘The Swinging Monk’ – actually had a pop career as a pianist, not as a singer AFAIK.

And Brother Laurence Hughes is in his 70s.

The 90 year old referred to is another individual


In February 2017, Ipswich MP Ben Gummer wrote to a constituent concerning abuse in the town.

His comments included this: ‘I am aware that, according to a report in October last year, Ipswich has the unfortunate accolade as being the town with the largest number of sex offenders per resident, a total of 361, living in it…’

This is also born out by the Mirror

Ipswich, Hull and Grimsby have the highest rates of sex offenders living in the area, as numbers in England and Wales continue to rise.

There are 361 registered sex offenders in Ipswich, a rate of 308.8 per 100,000 people aged 10 and over.

The information was only brought to my attention yesterday, but it came as absolutely no surprise to me.

Ipswich was, and seemingly still is, an infamous town where children are more at risk than elsewhere.

My recollections of Ipswich in the 1960s are that it was an absolute hive of secular and non-secular abuse.  I believe there was often an important overlap between the two which is also worthy of comment.

I’m sure proven De La Salle sexual abusers – like Brothers James, Solomon, and Kevin – didn’t care whether their young victims were Catholic or Protestant or Atheist. Whoever was the most vulnerable, available and would keep silent. It just happened to be Catholic children.

Although some predators normally hunt and eat zebras, and that’s their modus operandi, I’m sure they’re not averse to antelopes, too. It’s all just meat to them.

I mention this because it took me a while to realize, as I recalled my childhood experiences from fourteen to sixteen years old, that such Catholic and non-Catholic predators mixed freely and socially at parties with each other. Sharing their common interest in prey. Perhaps naively, I had previously thought that abuse was divided along strictly sectarian lines, just like everything else with religion.

This is why important Catholic laity, Catholic professionals, and Catholic lay teachers from that era are of particular interest to me. The De La Salles may have had their boarder victims already easily available ‘on tap’, and has no need to go hunting, but St Joseph’s lay teacher abusers – and there were some from that era  who I’m not going to name today –  had to look elsewhere for their prey.

In Ipswich.

The worst town in the whole of Britain for the sexual abuse of children.

Defining what this means in practise gets me into the territory of the Catholic laity and the Ipswich Knights of St Columba, already clearly identified as covering up abuse in my ‘The Shocking Truth’ post.

Consequently, I’ve asked Catholic Safeguarding to look into both organizations both on a local and a national level.

But the confirmation that my hometown is still the darkest town for abuse in Britain set me thinking about further implications.

Like most of us, I’ve always thought – perhaps with justification – that Catholic abuse, at least, died down around the millennium and there were significantly less Catholic abuse crimes afterwards. Statistically that’s probably true. But equally, children often keep traumatic experiences to themselves, block them out (as I did) and only acknowledge or recall them in mid-life (as I did). So it’s possible that ten years from now there could be a series of allegations that could change our perception. After all, we’re told that abuse is actually on the increase, presumably thanks to the internet.

But not where Catholic abusers are concerned? Really? Does that increase apply only to secular abusers now? Have the Catholic organizations really cleaned up their act? When and why did that happen? Especially given the intergenerational factor in organized abuse, provably passed on to the next generation. That’s another question I’ve asked Safeguarding.

We can’t simply take the word of the De La Salles that they’re the ‘good guys’ now. They forfeited that right with their crimes. That’s for others to judge now, not for them.  And don’t tell me about all the supposed good they and the Knights of St Columba do today. All the wonderful work for the poor, for charity etc. So did Jimmy Savile whom the Knights admired so much that they officiated at his funeral.

It’s children at risk today that rightly take priority over ‘historic’ crimes. I fear they may still be at risk today from Catholic organisations. The precise reasons why I fear this I have also brought to Safeguarding’s attention and will elaborate on it further with them.

I would assume, rightly or wrongly, that the usual targets today are not schools and boarding schools anymore (because of the terrible publicity about them) but children abused via the internet, family victims, runaways, children bred for purpose, trafficking, institutional victims and organizational victims.

As the Catholic Church plays a key role in the last two categories that concerns me.  

Personally, I’m bemused if parents who are aware of this blog and similar sources should want anything to do with them anymore. Why take a risk with your children? Whatever happened in the past doesn’t just go away with an unemotional, meaningless apology like Cardinal Nichols

To me, the De La Salles and other religious organizations with a history of sexual and physical abuse have to carry the shameful cross of their crimes for a long, long time to come


Excellent report by the East Anglian Daily Times. I’m really pleased it’s out there because it raises awareness about the De La Salle connection, especially locally.

Finally the modern day St Jo’s have commented:

Current school bosses say they “acknowledge the gravity of the questions being raised” adding that at the college, they are “absolutely committed to the safeguarding and wellbeing of every student in our care”. 

“As a community, we have the greatest sympathy for anyone who has been a victim of abuse, wherever and whenever it has occurred,” a spokeswoman said. 

College chiefs said that due to a change of ownership in 1996, and with active police investigations ongoing into the historical claims, they are unable to comment further. 

They said the allegations relate to a period of time “prior to the current college structure”. 

It’s as I predicted.  What I take away from their response is ‘This is nothing to do with us.’ 

So why still associate yourself with a disgraced religious order which has had a disproportionate number of serious sexual and physical abusers in its ranks?

For example

A religious brother accused of abusing a child by attaching wires to his genitals and connecting them to a battery had “a streak of evil” running through him, a court has been told.

Brother Benedict, a member of the De La Salle order, is accused of using indecent behaviour towards a former pupil at St Ninian’s List D School at the Gartmore Estate, Stirlingshire, between 1966 and 1968.

The former pupil, now aged 66, told the High Court in Edinburgh that it made him feel numb but Brother Benedict “just sat laughing, enjoying himself”. He said he did not tell anyone about the abuse at the time.

This case above is CURRENTLY before the courts. The chances of this happening in a state school are very remote. Yet acts of sexual violence against children were commonplace in the DLS schools.  Way, way above any kind of  ‘national average’.

In short, the UK De La Salles uniquely attracted a disproportionate number of violent, evil sexual abusers nationwide, including at St Joseph’s College, Ipswich: Brother Solomon, Brother James and more.  ‘Why?’ is a question that I want an answer to. It doesn’t just happen by coincidence. There is some grapevine, some organisation, some ring that made it possible. And WHEN did it stop?

Turning to the modern St Jo’s, my guess is they HAVE to say ‘In the La Sallian Tradition’ because they are still financially connected to the DLS in some way. That it was part of some deal they made that seemed beneficial to them at the time. Certainly they are still listed as an official La Sallian school and that means SOMETHING. It would take a financial detective/accountant to unravel because it will be concealed in ways above my pay grade to understand. But that’s my gut feeling.

The DLS connection is no longer good publicity for the school and it’s going to get worse. So if I was a Suit, I’d have dumped the ‘La Sallian Tradition’ by now, so I really think they must be stuck with it.

Or it could be that the Suits –school governors, lawyers and insurers – are not up to speed yet on just how serious this matter is. Or there is some personal  connection or misguided loyalty between the governors and the DLS that over-rides their common sense.  So they still want to talk about the school’s La Sallian achievements of the past, but not the school’s La Sallian crimes except in the most remote, cold and guarded manner as above which – as a survivor – I really don’t care for. I imagine other survivors feel the same way.  

You’d imagine a Suit would factor in negative publicity and make a decision for the good of the school to acknowledge and disengage from its criminal past.  They surely know they cannot be held financially responsible for the past, so there’s no downside to cutting the connection whilst responding to survivors who shared a common heritage.

We would all be impressed by a new policy of genuine Christianity, genuine compassion for others, and genuine separation from the DLS.

The alternative is to be shamed alongside the De La Salles as the truth continues to come out.  

Perhaps it’s on their agenda to consider. I hope so.