DE LA SALLE SAFEGUARDING: THE SMOKE AND MIRRORS TECHNIQUE

I was surprised by DLS Barry Hudd’s reaction to the newspaper report on DLS abuse.

Here’s what I said in an earlier post:

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

They were ‘completely unheard of’.

                                                ……..

Now NW1 – survivor of Brother Kevin – has had a similar response.

Here’s what he had to say:

One final thought: I have recently been contacted by the Safeguarding Officer for the DLS Brothers. My details were passed on to him by the Catholic Safeguarding Standards Agency, with whom I got in touch after seeing your comments on this site.   The DLS Safeguarding Officer wrote: “If I understand correctly, you would like to speak with someone from the De La Salle Order. So I can help you, can you let me know if you would like to speak with a senior Brother or a lay member of the Order. If you are not sure, could you briefly describe what you want to talk about? This is just so that I can put you in contact with the right person.”   The email reads as if this person has no idea whatsoever about this whole story. It’s like the past few decades are a complete blank canvas to him. The CSSA must have told him something about me personally and the stories of abuse concerning Bro. Kevin.   And the merest cursory glance through official records – which he should have had direct access to as the DLS Order Safeguarding Officer – will throw up all the legal paperwork related to my case, at the very least, never mid everyone else’s.   Yet he seems completely innocent, as if he knows nothing about anything. Like someone living in a country where he doesn’t speak the language.   That’s not a credible position and it does very little for my mental state that he seems to be behaving like that.   It forces me to have to retell what happened to someone who should KNOW what happened.   It also gives me little confidence that the DLS are willing to go through the process of coming clean which they have pledged to do.

……………………………..

This is why I’m collating evidence for the DLS Investigator so there is no room for anymore of this current obfuscation or faux innocence.

This form of ‘Smoke and mirrors’ is a common defence technique I’ve seen used by dysfunctional people or organizations.  It delays or diverts attention.

‘Smoke and mirrors’ was part of the abuse techniques I experienced as a kid. Put more crudely – it’s the bullshit I had to put up with from Catholic abusers, including  DLS Brother James.

It’s unfortunate that the DLS today are still using a form of  ‘Smoke and mirrors’ on Survivors.

Fortunately, I know how to deal with it and cut through it to the truth.

DE LA SALLE SYSTEMIC ABUSE – KEY EVIDENCE

Comment by a DLS Old Boy which I think is important for the DLS investigation:

I was a boarder at St Peter’s School Southbourne (Bournemouth) in the early to mid 1960s. I remember hearing about an overhead conversation between 2 Brothers that the then Provincial of the Province, Brother Cuthman Anselm had ‘confided’ that if a Brother from any school in the Province had ‘interfered’ with a boy; they would be transferred to St Peter’s and then to the Brother’s school in Jersey. If the Police began asking questions it would be easier to get the Brother to France from Jersey without folk knowing. Goodness knows if this is true but given the times it does seem to have a ring of credibility about it.

The Province means all the De La Salle schools in a geographical area. It could be the whole of the UK.  That’s what the Province means today. Or it might have been just Southern England DLS schools. 

I’ve been told by a Catholic theologian that a Provincial is the equivalent of an Arch-Bishop.

This account is directly relevant to Brother Solomon.

My clear memory as an 11/12 year old (in 1960/61) was that everyone knew Solomon was an abuser and that’s why he left abruptly, even though it was officially for drunken behaviour.

My clear memory was that he was sent to the Brother’s school on Jersey for a brief period BEFORE going on to Beulah Hill.  

A DLS school on Jersey does exist. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_La_Salle_College,_Jersey

We boys thought it was a reformatory for abuser brothers.

It’s so strong in my memory because at the time we all joked about shipwrecked sailors climbing up the rocks on Jersey’s seashore. Then the sailors saw a horde of rampant De La Salle brothers running down to the shore to greet them.  The horrified sailors immediately turned and ran back into the sea. Typical boys ‘gallows humour’.

I think the memory of Solomon being sent to Jersey was so vivid because I was looking for justice against other abusers.

This account is also directly relevant to Brother Kevin who went from St Joseph’s to France in the 1970s.  It’s already been alleged Kevin briefly went to France while things cooled down.

It raises questions for an investigator about Jersey. Were abuser brothers kept there in isolation? Or were they teaching children there? Did it have a reforming function or was it just a convenient jumping off point for Brothers to do a runner to France?

And how many other brothers went down ‘the ratline’?

BROTHER KEVIN – THE EVIDENCE

I want to be sure the Independent Investigator appointed by the De La Salles to look into their crimes has all the key testimonies. There are so many on this site, I’d hate the Investigator to miss important ones. So there’s a SUMMARY below on Brother Kevin Dillon. I’ve done the same for James. Still working on Solomon. If I’ve missed anything crucial, or made a major error, do let me know. Or if you have an additional testimony about Brother Kevin that is important. Your details – as always – can remain confidential and anonymous if you wish.

If the Investigator wants further confirmation, provided the Old Boy in question gives me permission, I can put them in touch, but the evidence against Kevin is so overwhelming in most cases it should not be necessary.

Brother Kevin taught at St Joseph’s prep school Oak Hill Ipswich. St Joseph’s College Birkfield Ipswich. Went to France for one year approx 1968. Then returned to St Peter’s Bournemouth. Then back to Oak Hill again where he became Headmaster.

EVIDENCE OF SEXUAL ABUSE AT ST JOSEPH’S IPSWICH

(OAK HILL FIRST TIME & BIRKFIELD)

1)

NW1’s account below. He was abused at Oak Hill and Birkfield.

… regarding St Joseph’s, Birkfield, and also Oak Hill, the prep school just down the road. I was a pupil at both between 1967 and 1974, when I was expelled mid-way through the year. As I was mid-way through my lower sixth, they allowed me to complete my studies at St Peter’s, in Bournemouth. Many of the Brothers’ names mentioned in other posts are familiar to me and other boys used to talk about them as “homos” at the time, but I have no proof of this.

In my case, I was sexually abused by Brother Kevin, a diminutive shit who was at OakHill when I started there before transferring to Birkfield later in that year. My abuse began while I was at the prep school. Kevin was in charge of the boarders and used to summon me, as well as other boys, to his bedroom after lights out.

After he moved to Birkfield, Kevin used to come down to Oak Hill on Sundays, seek me out and try to abuse me in the biology rooms.

The abuse continued when I moved to Birkfield myself and during my first year there, during which time I was a boarder in one of the dormitories in the so-called 55 Wing. Kevin, whose room looked out on one of the dormitories, continued in a similar vein as before, summoning me and others to his room after lights out.

(See footnote from NW1 below)

He was transferred to France at the end of that school year (1968) but returned to St Peter’s, where I re-encountered him after my expulsion from St Jo’s. Inexplicably, he was once again in charge of the junior boarders. By then, I was too old for him, so was left in peace. I have no doubt whatsoever that he continued to abuse kids there. Sickeningly, the young boarders’ section included kids who were six or seven years old.

About 20 years ago, I reported my abuser to the police in London and he was briefly detained, made a partial admission and was released on bail pending further inquiries. The next time he was interviewed he showed up with a solicitor and denied everything. He was never charged.

Simultaneously, I sued the Order in 1996 and after six years they settled out of court in return for me signing a confidentiality agreement which I suppose I’m breaking today. The settlement just about paid for seven years of therapy. However, the Order refused to offer an apology because to do so would imply that they were culpable. Even today, 15 years later, that refusal to admit what happened and apologise for it – despite paying me compensation – makes me feel incredibly angry.

I remember I went up to Oxford in the mid-90s to confront the order at its “Mother House”: they didn’t seem remotely surprised that Kevin was in the frame as a sex abuser. I mentioned another brother, (AKA Squealer) who I was fairly certain had abused children, although I did not have 100% definitive proof. They effectively admitted he too had been an abuser and it was suggested to me that I should consider whether giving his name to the police would be worthwhile as he now had dementia. I did name him to police but nothing happened to him either.

While I was at St Peter’s, there was another Brother – Cyril – who was in charge of the middle year boarders (3rd and 4th year). He, too, was talked of as an abuser by some pupils, although I did not have any personal knowledge of this. Cyril became head teacher at another school in Southsea, was subsequently charged and cleared of sex abuse.

(See GL’s account of Cyril later)

Three years ago I was contacted by police in Dorset who had received another complaint of abuse at the hands of Brother Kevin by a pupil at St Peter’s. Dorset police managed to track down my name and other details from the 90s and I went through the another set of interviews, filmed this time, and waited several months before the CPS decided not to go ahead with a prosecution, again. My evidence and that of the other person were not considered credible enough.

I’m aware of several other kids who were abused during my time there, also by Brother Kevin. I once met up with one of them many years later. He and another lad were abused a year or so before me and I still remember him telling me that when Kevin started on me he felt jealous a being supplanted by someone else. There was also talk about several other Brothers being abusers while I was at Birkfield, including Squealer, but I have no personal evidence of that. It does make me wonder whether they had their own little circles and agreed not to poach kids from each other.

Almost 50 years later, the abuse still affects me. My entire personality has been affected by the experience and I know I will never be free of what happened. But I’m glad others are talking about it publicly here and in one or two other corners of the Web. It’s about time the Order was forced to face up to what so many of its members were doing. It should make a public apology. I would also like to see all the abusers brought to trial. I’d be happy to work with anyone here to make sure that happen

NW1 added recently:

Kevin Dillon was sexually abusing me at St Joseph’s in 1969 up until May or June of that year. He moved that summer – he wasn’t there when we came back in September 1969. The reason I recall is that my mother died in the late spring of that year and Bro. Kevin was the man tasked with telling me, as a boarder, what had happened to her.

3)

Another testimony

My name is Peter, I was a border at st. josephs preparatory school oak hill Ipswich, a de la salle school, from 1967 to 1970. I’m sure its the same school. Nwi would have been there at the same time as me, and my experiences were unfortunately similar. He might remember me because I am Australian (and still am), I’m sure my brother Robert and I were the only colonials there at the time. I also contacted the police and made a complaint but as I live in Australia haven’t been able to do anything else. I would really like to contact NWI, really, I really would. “Holy Innocents” was the name of the first dormitory I was in, I was 7. bro kevin told me he only did this to me because my mum asked him to, sound familiar?

EVIDENCE OF SEXUAL ABUSE AT ST PETER’S BOURNEMOUTH

1)

NW1’s account cites a St Peter’s pupil reporting Kevin to the police for sexual abuse.

And other boys  at St Peter’s NW1 was aware of who were abused by Kevin and who acknowledged this in conversation with him.

2)

I spoke at length by skype to ‘R’, an American survivor of Brother Kevin’s abuse at St Peter’s. He was there 1976 – 80. R was preparing to ‘take things forward’ when we learnt about Kevin’s dementia. See later. It’s possible R may talk to an investigator, although I’d say the case was proved already.

R tells me ‘Kevin was responsible for the care of about 100 boys aged 9-12; I’m sure the school must have known something.’

3)

GL’s account of Kevin abusing boys at St Peter’s

https://wordpress.com/post/patmills.wordpress.com/1171

EVIDENCE OF SEXUAL ABUSE AT OAK HILL SECOND TIME WHEN KEVIN WAS HEADMASTER

“Bro Kevin took over as Headmaster at Oak Hill from the academic year beginning September 1979 He appears in the official history book of Oak Hill, some photos including with the very few boarders left at the end. The book says that he left in 1989.”

By which time the DLS must surely have been aware of his crimes, especially if he had spent a year in France possibly lying low? And yet, decades later, the DLS made him Headmaster – in charge of the YOUNGER BOYS he seemed to have preferred.

1)  

https://wordpress.com/post/patmills.wordpress.com/1129

This is the link to a post covering Brother Kevin abusing a boy at Oak Hill in this era. See Item ONE in the post.

The matron he refers to passionately defended Kevin to me, but has since written to me reversing her position, saying she didn’t know what was going on.

2)

Another testimony from a Survivor. This also involves Brother Kevin after he had returned to Oak Hill.

FROM ZACH i first went to oak hill in 1984 and was abused by brother kevin, a vile little rat. used to take me to his room after lights out. would be nice to find where the rat is now??

EVIDENCE OF SYSTEMIC ABUSE  INVOLVING KEVIN AND THE DE LA SALLES.

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

1)

The way Kevin was moved around from Ipswich to France (1 – 2 years, ‘long enough for the scandal to blow away’ – GL) to Bournemouth. That suggests a typical Catholic abuse cover-up. 

See also BROTHER SOLOMON – THE EVIDENCE (posting shortly) which indicates THE EXISTENCE OF A DE LA SALLE ‘RAT LINE’ FOR BROTHERS TO ESCAPE THE POLICE. From Bournemouth. To Jersey. To France.

We know Kevin went to France and it would seem likely he used this escape route.

But if Kevin had been arrested after whatever happened at St J’s Ipswich, instead of running away to France with the help of the DLS, none of those boys at Bournemouth and later at Oakhill would have been abused.

I find that so sad, upsetting and important, it needs repeating:

none of those boys at Bournemouth and later at Oakhill would have been abused.

GL’s damning conclusion of systemic abuse at St Peter’s is worth quoting in full here:

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. Even as 11 year old boys we were very aware of the pedophile nature of Brother Kevin. Indeed, the jokes and sniggering comments transcended through every corridor and classroom in the school. Yet not one teacher knew anything about his despicable tendencies?? Impossible. Of course they knew and were fully aware. Every single one of them. But this was the 1970’s and pedophilia behaviour and activities were a taboo subject. It simply did not exist. Sadly it did.

https://wordpress.com/post/patmills.wordpress.com/1171

2)

DLS at HQ’s Oxford’s tacit acknowledgement Kevin was an abuser. See NW1’s testimony. And suggesting NW1 not report another abuser because of infirmity.

Catholic Safeguarding told me personally that all abuse allegations MUST be reported to the police, regardless of mitigating factors, including death. The DLS were thus in violation of that rule.

3)

NW1’s financial settlement with an NDA and no apology.

4)

The DLS must have known about my blog and allegations about Brother Kevin for years yet did nothing until the social media pressure became too great.

The DLS also knew about NW1. 

And, judging by a further testimony below, Kevin’s abuse was known by the DLS for up to 20  years.

Yet the DLS press officer reacts by commenting that the evidence on my blog  is ‘completely unheard of”.  Like it’s unusual, new and even questionable!

But see this testimony :

Bro Kevin (or just plain Kevin Dillon) was suffering in an advanced state of dementia in an Ipswich nursing home the last time I heard of him (2017). There was video on the nursing home website of him singing (trying) Christmas carols but the shell of a human being was hard to recognise as the Bro Kevin of our youth. He was a broken man before the dementia set in. Over the last 20 years he lost everything. When the first rumours about allegations of perversion reached the village in Suffolk in which he lived it brought with it abuse and intimidation from the local youths. His house was attacked and windows broken occasionally and after a couple of years he was compelled to sell up and move to Ipswich. The DLS and other powers-that-be distanced themselves from him and this pushed him over the edge.  

5)The DLS should have reported Kevin to the police, probably at several stages in his life.  

Especially as they knew the truth before he became ill, judging by their response to NW1. But it is NOT for the DLS to excuse his behaviour, whatever his state of health. That is for the police to decide. Distancing themselves from Kevin is also not enough.

Now it’s too late, but if the DLS – knowing what they did about Kevin – had reported him to the police a decade or more ago, he could have stood trial.

6) I’m sure the DLS will have a file on Kevin.

If there is evidence in the file, then a question an Investigator must ask is why wasn’t the file acted upon before as I’ve described.

7) Why the DLS appointed Brother Kevin as a Headmaster of Oak Hill, in charge of younger boys, is a matter of especial concern.

They knew he was a paedophile – using the De La Salle ratline to France earlier in his career – but they still put temptation his way, which he took full advantage of.

BROTHER JAMES – THE EVIDENCE

I want to be sure the Independent Investigator appointed by the De La Salles to look into their crimes has all the key testimonies. There are so many now on this site, I’d hate the Investigator to miss important ones. So there’s a SUMMARY below on James Ryan. I’ll do the same for Solomon and Kevin.  If I’ve missed anything crucial, do let me know. Or if you have an additional testimony about Brother James that is important. Your details – as always – can remain confidential and anonymous if you wish.

If the Investigator wants further confirmation, provided the Old Boy in question gives me permission, I can put them in touch, but the evidence against James is so overwhelming in most cases it should not be necessary.

 EVIDENCE OF HIS PSYCHOTIC VIOLENCE AT ST JOSEPH’S BIRKFIELD

There are so many examples of his violence on this site, it’s not necessary for me to single them out.  They are easily found and there’s surely no need as the case is proven beyond reasonable doubt. So I’ll limit it to two examples.

1)

The violence I witnessed where James went berserk and beat Damian Moss to the ground. I described it in my autobiography Be Pure! Be Vigilant! Behave!

He (James) raised the slipper high above his head and took a spin- bowler’s long run-up towards his bent-over victim, whom he had carefully positioned at the far end of the raised wooden dais. His shoes thundered noisily across the bare floorboards, his black robes flapped wildly around him, before he administered a savage blow to the boy’s posterior, raising a cloud of dust at the point of impact. Returning to his starting point, he took several more high-speed, bowler’s run-ups to his victim, thrashing him without mercy, before the poor kid collapsed in a heap on the ground, whereupon—as we watched, quaking in fear—he stood over him and rained more ferocious blows onto his crouched and cringing, sobbing form.

Damian Moss confirms it in this post:

https://wordpress.com/post/patmills.wordpress.com/862

Damian adds:

Brother James in all honesty was a figure of tragic pity. He was inadequate, unloved, deeply frustrated and a raging sado-masochist. Apart from that, he was you’re standard issue christian brother.

2)

Louis Mastriani. He was the courageous pupil who – in the mid to late 1960s –  was savagely attacked by James and fought back.  

As one Old Boy relates:

I have one wonderful memory, that of an American kid from the Bronx. James wanted to beat him and L.M. the student (who is now a prominent US human law rights Lawyer). At the end of the class we were all thrown out of class. B. James did his usual attack of kicking and punching. LM beat the sh….out of James with a few dozen boys watching and cheering.

Here’s a valuable suggestion made by an Old Boy:

I think it’s about time someone tracked down Louis Mastriani. The yank that fought back and beat Bro James. If he is a lawyer his testimony would be good to have. He and his brother left school the same day as the incident. 

I think this may be Louis here:https://www.adduci.com/attorneys/mastriani

I shall write to Louis and see if I’m correct and if he would like to comment, but it’s something an investigator should also look at. Perhaps LM’s parents withdrew their sons. But if they were asked to leave to cover up the crime, then it’s systemic abuse. Especially as James stayed on at the school.

EVIDENCE JAMES WAS A VIOLENT SEX OFFENDER AT ST JOSEPH’S BIRKFIELD

1)

James combined excessive caning with masturbation. He used the locked school hall. Mid 1960s.

https://wordpress.com/post/patmills.wordpress.com/951

2)

Once again, James combined excessive caning with masturbation. Once again he used the locked school hall. 1964. This time things spiralled out of control.

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

3)

Sexual  assault on me – during school holidays. In the fizzy drinks cupboard.

https://wordpress.com/post/patmills.wordpress.com/1049

 4)

There’s an account somewhere on my site which I can track down if it’s important. In it, James strips a pupil and then decides he’s too young to molest and lets him go.

James seems to have been at St J’s Ipswich until late 60s

He came to Beulah Hill in 1970 and was there until 1978 approx.

This leaves some worrying questions. Why did James leave Ipswich? What school did he go onto after Beulah Hill?  It would seem likely he behaved in a similar way there. Or, given his psychotic behaviour, was he in a mental hospital?

The DLS will have a personnel file on him with the answers which Survivors of his evil have a right to know.

EVIDENCE OF HIS PSYCHOTIC VIOLENCE AT ST JOSEPH’S BEULAH HILL

There are reams of evidence of extreme physical abuse at Beulah Hill  by Brother James and Brother Solomon. It’s a long thread on the Crystal Palace football supporters website.

https://www.cpfc.org/forums/showthread.php?t=161283

There are 21 pages altogether and they date back to 2011. So the DLS cannot say – as they are currently claiming –  they didn’t know until recently or the evidence all came through my site.

Here’s THREE examples. It’s worth an investigator going through all 21 pages for more examples of James and Solomon.  They can reply to Old Boys on the Crystal Palace site if they want further confirmation, but I’d say these statements speak for themselves.  These ex-pupils are not seeking compensation and they are not on a witch hunt, they are simply expressing their outrage at the monstrous crimes of Brother James and how the DLS knowingly allowed him to abuse so many children.

An outrage we all feel.

1)

2016

I, too, was polluted by this excuse for an educational establishment. Was there 73-78 and, I have to say, I’m shocked no-one has mentioned the monster that was Bro. James.

Brother James gave me the most savage beating I have ever had, five or six times across the face with a clenched fist, because someone had been whistling in class and he decided it was me. The experience, which still haunts me more than sixty years later, was made all the worse by the fact that he began by removing my glasses. Years later I met another pupil who was present at the time and who uttered the chilling words “You obviously didn’t know what he was like”. I also discussed the incident, a year or two ago, with a retired teacher who told me that even in the 1950’s such behaviour was illegal. 

2)

Brother James (Ryan) was my history teacher for two years around ’77 and we all saw his temper but after reading the above and this harrowing account he was a lot, lot worse in his earlier days

3)

I was attacked by him in a school corridor, fists flailing in what can only be described as a bout of uncontrolled savagery and bloodlust. This was witnessed by two members of staff, neither of whom intervened. I received a black eye and a split lip. It was 1975. I was 13.

                                                ……………

EVIDENCE OF SYSTEMIC ABUSE  INVOLVING JAMES AT ST JOSEPH’S BIRKFIELD

1)

Cover up of James’ crime.

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

Note the key role of the Knights of St Columba in the cover-up.

I shall be documenting separately the importance of the Knights at St Joseph’s.

2)

Another cover up of James’ crime against me.

I envy 1)s photographic memory. By comparison, mine is patchy. Thus after Brother James assault on me at age 12, I remember exploding with anger to my mother and refusing to be silenced. Then suddenly I was presented with a brand new, top of the range bike. But how? We were poverty-stricken.  I have dim memories of the Knights providing this luxury gift and being told some nonsense about joining their ranks as a Squire when I was older. I lack 1)s  detail, but I remember that bike and how it shut me up.

3)

Brother James covering up Solomon’s abuse.

When Solomon left abruptly, James wrote a glowing farewell to him in the school magazine. Easy to check that. I remember, as a 11 or 12 year old, being  shocked because it was obvious to us all that Solomon was an abuser, so James, of course, knew, too. That’s systemic abuse.

4)

DLS cover ups.

The DLS obituary described James as a shy, timid man, yet they must have files which showed he was a psychopath. The obituary was taken down around the time I started blogging and I have the broken link.

The DLS and St J’s must have known about my blog and Beulah Hill allegations for years yet did nothing until the media pressure became too great.

DE LA SALLES – IPSWICH STAR REPORT

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

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

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

Boys locked in cupboards and beaten.

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

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

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

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

They were ‘completely unheard of’.

Really?

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

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

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

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

I’m equally surprised by your comment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE DE LA SALLES – TALKING TO THE LOCAL PRESS

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

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

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

The EADT assure me your anonymity would be completely protected.

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

EADT CONTACT DETAILS

Sarah Burgess

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DE LA SALLES – POSITIVE NEWS

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.

DE LA SALLE APOLOGY IN THE TABLET & MORE

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

https://www.thetablet.co.uk/news/14677/de-la-salle-order-apologises-for-sex-abuse

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

HOW AN APOLOGY SHOULD BE DONE.

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:

https://mntransparencyinitiative.com/

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.

INTERVIEW

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.

ALL SURVIVORS DAY NOVEMBER 3.  REMEMBERING THE CRIMES OF THE DE LA SALLES

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.

http://www.irishsalem.com/religious-congregations/de-la-salle-brothers/jimmyboyle-06may01.php

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”. http://www.thefreelibrary.com/JIMMY+BOYLE%3B+EXCLUSIVE.%28News%29-a074329190 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. http://www.heraldscotland.com/sport/spl/aberdeen/she-taught-me-how-to-love-she-absolutely-taught-me-how-to-love-jimmy-boyle-faces-life-after-marriage-1.185430

A PUBLIC APOLOGY FROM THE DE LA SALLES

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.

Statement

“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.

A FIRST STEP

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.

However:

A PUBLIC APOLOGY?

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.

THE NEXT STEP

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’S RESPONSE TO THE DE LA SALLE APOLOGY

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.

THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE DE LA SALLES AND CATHOLIC SAFEGUARDING

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

https://www.irishexaminer.com/opinion/yourview/arid-40312103.html?type=amp

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.

MONKS BID TO ROB VICTIMS OF JUSTICE

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.

THE TRUE FACE OF CATHOLIC SAFEGUARDING

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.