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:

https://www.thetablet.co.uk/news/14518/call-for-inquiry-into-former-de-la-salle-school-

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

BROTHER LAURENCE HUGHES: ST JOHN’S COLLEGE, SOUTHSEA

A recollection by Paul Pimms which I’m passing onto Jo Norman at Catholic Safeguarding.

I remember Brother Laurence Hughes very well indeed from when he taught at St John’s College in Southsea in the 1970’s (he left there to go to St Joseph’s). He loved being violent and not a week would pass without him slippering several boys with a hard soled slipper. His swing was mighty and hard. Sometimes he would have 5 or 6 boys lined up in a row. He clearly got off on it. I was also caned by him. He usually did this in his boarding house (Woodleigh), in the front lounge in front of the whole boarding house (around 38-40 boys). Sometimes he would take the boys into Woodleigh Annexe (a classroom joined onto Woodleigh House) and do it in a private session! You could see the rush that he got when he caned boys. You could see the euphoria in his face. It definitely gave him a buzz!

MEDIA UPDATE ON THE DE LA SALLES

Thanks to an Old Boy for bringing this Tablet article to my attention

Here is the link to the story which is about 2/3 of the way down the page. Dated 30th August 2021.

https://www.thetablet.co.uk/news/14434/news-briefing-britain-and-ireland

Brother Laurence Hughes FSC has stepped down as head of the De La Salle Brothers, a teaching congregation, after an allegation of abuse.  A spokesman said: “The De La Salle Brothers are aware of an allegation of non-recent physical abuse involving Brother Laurence Hughes. This allegation has been reported to the police and is being dealt with in accordance with the safeguarding procedures of the Catholic Church. An independent investigation into the allegation is being carried out. As required by these procedures, Brother Laurence has stepped down from all appointments and responsibilities.” A Suffolk Constabulary spokesman said: “We are aware of non-recent sexual abuse allegations following a third party referral made. Following enquiries, a 90-year-old male was arrested in June this year in connection with this. However, due to insufficient evidence and the suspect’s failing health the investigation is unlikely to proceed any further. A second suspect related to the non-recent same offences has deceased.”

Also:

The East Anglian Daily Times are running a relevant article this week. Possibly tomorrow Wednesday or Thursday.

ST JOSEPH’S – SUNDAY TIMES ARTICLE

Article about De La Salle Brothers, St Jo’s etc, in today’s Sunday Times.

https://tinyurl.com/46f92hab

I had to subscribe to read it, so if you don’t want to, below is the text only version of the article.

It all seems pretty accurate apart from Dredd. As I endlessly say, I was the developer of Judge Dredd, not the creator. I think the distinction is often lost on journalists. Otherwise it’s fine.

I haven’t included the readers’ responses which are a predictable mix of agreeing with the article, or defending the Church.

ARTICLE:

Abusive monks were my model for Judge Dredd

The creator of the violent comic-book lawman drew dark inspiration from his Catholic upbringing. Now he too is seeking justice

For more than 40 years a rampaging, ultra-violent lawman called Judge Dredd has stalked the pages of British comics, as well as featuring in films, novels and video games. A television series is even in the pipeline.
Yet behind the blood-spattered fiction of a ruthless enforcer lies a very different story: that of a vulnerable schoolboy who has never forgotten the abuse he says he suffered at the hands of the Roman Catholic monks who ran his school.
The man whose childhood misery inspired him to create the Judge Dredd character is now fighting for a public reckoning of his own.
As a boy, Pat Mills, a writer and publisher often described as the “godfather of British comics”, attended St Joseph’s, a private school in Ipswich that at the time was run by monks from the De La Salle order.
“Judge Dredd causes fear and terror, and those were the feelings we had around the De La Salle brothers,” Mills, 72, said last week. “Dredd was a composite bogeyman of all my recollections of fear of my teachers.”
Mills has spent years accumulating evidence from fellow former pupils who claim to have suffered sexual or physical abuse at St Joseph’s. A group of old boys is now calling for an inquiry into the way the school was run and the manner in which children were mistreated from the 1960s to the 1990s.
Appeals to Catholic authorities to take action have already resulted in the suspension of Brother Laurence Hughes, a former St Joseph’s teacher who currently heads the De La Salle order.
The Rev Des Bill, chairman of the Catholic Church’s Safeguarding Commission for Orders in Education (SCOE), said Hughes had been suspended pending an independent investigation “to ensure recommendations and actions taken are objective and not influenced by any person within SCOE or the De La Salle congregation”. The matter has also been reported to the police.
Mills says he was sexually abused by priests and witnessed the physical abuse of other boys. He believes he was targeted as the child of a poor widow whose fees were waived because he had agreed that he had a vocation to the priesthood.
“I don’t know if I really did … but they knew my life was difficult and I didn’t have a father figure,” he said. “It is easier to admit to yourself physical abuse, but sexual abuse is more intimate. I blocked that out until my forties, and then the memories came flooding back.”
He began recording his experiences on a blog eight years ago. Other former pupils have added their own stories.
Among the accusations levelled against teachers were of boys being lashed with cat-o’-nine-tails and hit repeatedly with other objects. Some of the most serious sexual charges were levelled against one teacher, Brother James Ryan, who is now dead.
Ryan was “renowned for his savagery”, said Mills. “I would draw on his anger — particularly for Judge Dredd.” When the judge set off to punish the fictional town of Repentance in one of Mills’s stories, he said, “Brother James was very inspiring.”
Mills also claims to have been abused by the school’s chaplain, the late Father William Jolly. Another monk allegedly involved in the abuse was the late Brother Solomon, who left to start a short-lived singing career as “the swinging monk”.
Founded in France in 1680, the De La Salle order has four communities in Britain, where it owned several voluntary-aided schools. Accounts submitted to the Charity Commission show that the order set aside £7.7 million in 2015 to settle a case of alleged abuse of pupils at the St William’s Institute, Middlesbrough, between 1958 and 1992.
The abolition of time limits on childhood abuse cases in Scotland has also left the order facing 60 claims, five of which have been settled at a cost of £762,000.
The order is no longer involved with St Joseph’s, which counts the musician Brian Eno and the Labour MPs Chris Mullin and John McDonnell among its former pupils.

BROTHER LAURENCE HUGHES: REQUEST FROM CATHOLIC SAFEGUARDING

Update from a St Jo’s Old Boy below. My emphasis on his post.

Jules Gooch commented on BROTHER LAURENCE HUGHES: NEWS UPDATE

Update – Had a good conversation with Jo Norman today who is looking into this matter. I recounted my memory of the swimming pool assult and she would like to hear from anyone else who had experience of or witnessed the kind of behaviour that we are discussing here. We also briefly discussed a number of other individuals who were involved in similar matters. I think this is possibly a good opportunity to see some kind of consequence / justice for what these people got up to. If you feel you can and want to I recommend you in the first instance contact Des Bill with details. Des Bill deacondesb@gmail.com

BROTHER LAURENCE HUGHES – CATHOLIC SAFEGUARDING INFO.

The posts below from St Jo’s Old Boys reminded me I should have given details of Catholic Safeguarding as they are a complex organization https://www.csas.uk.net/links/

The relevant department for the De La Salle Order is the Safeguarding Commission for Orders in Education (SCOE).

The St Jo’s Old Boy who heard from SCOE that Brother Laurence has been suspended was officially informed by:

Rev Dcn  Des Bill

Independent Chair,

SCOE

desbill.SCOE@gmail.com

He advised that an independent safeguarding professional has been commissioned to manage the case.

So I would suggest that Old Boys who want to share information about Brother Laurence contact  Rev Dcn Des Bill direct at the above email address.

……………………………..

James commented on BROTHER LAURENCE HUGHES   Brother Laurence Hughes , He should leave the order and retire . I am a old boy from St Joseph’s Ipswich. He beat a boy around the head at the swimming pool & gave him six of the best with the slipper. He is a sadist. I know the boys name , I watched what happened to him . This is 43 years later. 

I received this post today:

My attention has been drawn to this by another old boy who reached out to me. I am the boy at the swimming pool and want to share the story. I can confirm directly that BLH was a bully and a savage. What is the best way to proceed?

BROTHER LAURENCE HUGHES: NEWS UPDATE

Brother Laurence Hughes is  Provincial (Head) of the De La Salle Order in Great Britain and Ireland. Following recent posts about Brother Laurence on this website, a fellow Old Boy of St Joseph’s College, Ipswich, Suffolk, sent me a copy of an email from the Chair of the SCOE – the Catholic Safeguarding Commission for Orders in Education. To quote from this email, dated 12th August 2021:

‘I can confirm that since we have been in receipt of your allegation that Bro Laurence has been suspended from all public ministry and roles he performed’ 

Rev Dcn  Des Bill

Independent Chair,

SCOE

The email also states that the case will be managed by a senior and independent safeguarding professional ‘to ensure recommendations and actions taken are objective and not influenced by any person within SCOE or the De La Salle congregation.’

BROTHER LAWRENCE HUGHES JULY 1 2021 UPDATE

Feedback below from a De La Salle Old Boy regarding Brother Lawrence Hughes who is the head of the De La Salle Order in the UK.

The Old Boy’s concerns relate to physical violence by the De La Salles during the 1960s. 

He tried talking to the Diocese of Southwark and got a similar reaction to me when I tried talking to the Diocese for Ipswich some years ago. It’s why I gave up on Catholic Safeguarding.

There are currently four allegations by Old Boys against Brother Hughes of extreme physical violence against children during a later era : the 1980s. This is significantly more than standard corporal punishment which would be considered lawful for the times.

It seems to me entirely inappropriate that an alleged DLS physical abuser is investigating or responding to allegations of physical abuse by the DLS.   

And as a result being ‘less than helpful’.

Not to mention all the endless testimonies of  DLS survivors – see my recent summary page.  Testimonies which Hughes has not responded to.

This site is now read not just by various related Catholic organizations   but also by the new look, fresh start Catholic Safeguarding headed by Nazir Afzal

So my question is this:

What are you waiting for? How many allegations do we need  for you to take action?  If you are part of the solution, this matter needs your urgent attention. Today.

Or are you still part of the problem?

OLD BOY’S TESTIMONY:

 I went to St Joseph’s Blackheath and am of the same generation as you. I also experienced most of what you did and I can tell you more if need be.

I wrote to the Diocese of Southwark about 5 years ago to make them aware of my experiences at the school. Initially they ignored me but I persisted and eventually one of the staff took me seriously and advised me to contact the police. I did not want to do that as most of the staff would now no longer be alive. They put me in touch with the head of the De La Salle order in the UK and we corresponded via email during the pandemic. He was not very helpful and he did not reply to my emails for ages and ages.

His name is Brother Lawrence Hughes! Our correspondence was less than helpful!

I then saw your WordPress article and then saw the name of the Head of the school, Brother Lawrence Hughes and then everything fell into place.

MORE SHAME OF THE DE LA SALLES 12th June 2021.

Excerpts below from a survivor of the De La Salles.  It’s from the Irish Examiner and the full article can be read at the link below. I believe Brother Laurence Hughes is responsible for the DLS in Ireland as well as Britain.  That same order that today’s St Joseph’s College, Ipswich, still likes to be associated with by saying it’s ‘In the La Sallian Tradition’

Whatever happens to Hughes – I predict he will retire soon –  the whole DLS order needs investigating, just as the Benedictines were investigated by IICSA and the current Scottish Inquiry. AND whether all connections with St Joseph’s, Ipswich, have been severed. I suspect there’s an unofficial connection just as there was with the Benedictines at Ampleforth.

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

My education was non-existent. I suffered severe mental and emotional trauma at age of six and seven — the consequences of which only became real when my own six-year-old son started school.

As was common in Ireland then, no one at home believed me. In fact, I was made to feel responsible for my abuse. This was counter-trauma, I’ve since learned.

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.

I am the remains of a beautiful little boy who was violated and has been in hiding ever since. Who had the same chances of surviving this
valley of tears as any other privileged middle-class farmer’s son in 1966.

I am a victim. I was used by an adult, whose job it was to care for and nurture me (nurture, care, console were words I didn’t know existed then). His job, as directed by the Department of Education and the De La Salle order, was to educate. But like thousands of others, he did the opposite.

A 22-year-old brother of the De La Salle order realised one of his fantasies with the help of my little six-year-old classmates. I was the centre of this fantasy.

His use of me continued for two years. Just two years was the entire time he spent in the school and the order. When he left Macroom he applied to the Vatican and was released from the order.

Where is he now, I’ve often wondered? Has he had a family? Did he enter another profession? Is he happy?

Has he continued to abuse?

The Catholic Church is an organisation whose sole reason for existence is to make money and to continue to wield power. Male dominance over utterly helpless women and children.

I’m sorry for myself that I didn’t have an education. Other members of my family did.

The Catholic Church failed a young man from Leitrim. They failed the De La Salle order and they failed the Department of Education.

I have tried and failed countless times to educate myself. I am the victim. I have been failed. But I’m not a failure.

BROTHER LAURENCE HUGHES –UPDATE JUNE 12 2021

A new testimony just received concerning Hughes. That makes a total of four testimonies of physical abuse against this man who is the current head of the De La Salle Order in Britain and Ireland.

James commented on BROTHER LAURENCE HUGHES   Brother Laurence Hughes , He should leave the order and retire . I am a old boy from St Joseph’s Ipswich. He beat a boy around the head at the swimming pool & gave him six of the best with the slipper. He is a sadist. I know the boys name , I watched what happened to him . This is 43 years later. Approve