BROTHER LAURENCE HUGHES – UPDATE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

requested (* see note below).

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

within DLS.

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

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

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

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

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

DE LA SALLE UPDATE – BROTHER LAURENCE & MORE

Here’s an email from the 15th July from Des Bill, SCOE. I’d guessed SCOE was no more as I couldn’t find their website. Quite a lot to absorb, but my first thought is it means a delay in outstanding DLS matters as new connections are made with RLSS, the successor to SCOE, and they take time getting into their stride.

A couple of months, maybe?

Meantime, it will be interesting to know more about Brother Laurence.

Dear Pat,

I am sorry for the delay in getting back to you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

requested (* see note below).

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

within DLS.

In respect of other allegations and complaints I would ask any victim to

consider disclosing any abuse to the police and to return to the police if

they felt their allegation was not addressed appropriately at the time.

DLS will report any allegation received to the relevant police force via

Operation Hydrant.

I would advise Rafael to make contact again with DLS if he felt he was not

listened to or offered any support from them, outlining what he would seek

from them in tangible support.

He could also consider talking again to the police about this or seek

further legal advice to help him.

I would also encourage Rafael, or others , to consider accessing support and

advice from Safe Spaces the independent organisation managed by the charity

Victim Support who support, advise, and walk the journey with any person who

was a victim of abuse within the Catholic or Church of England Church in

England and Wales.

Since the end of June, the safeguarding commission for religious orders in

education (SCOE) is no longer functioning and its work has closed.

This includes my involvement with SCOE Orders.

DLS, along with most religious orders, are now members of the Religious Life

Safeguarding Service (RLSS) and receives support and advice on all aspects

of safeguarding including allegation management.

It will be through this joint working that any decisions on safeguarding

matters will be addressed in the future.

*As this relationship is only beginning it may add some initial delay in

communications being made by DLS.

Further information can be found on:

www.safespacesenglandandwales.org.uk

<http://www.safespacesenglandandwales.org.uk>

Best wishes,

Des

INVESTIGATION INTO DE LA SALLE ABUSE 

CURRENT POSITION

desbill.scoe@gmail.com

SCOE  – Safeguarding

Dear Des Bill

I wanted to see what the latest situation was regarding the numerous allegations of abuse by old boys, including myself, at the hands of the De La Salles. Not only at St Joseph’s Ipswich, but also Beulah Hill and elsewhere. As you know, they are all recorded on this website and have also been available in summary for an investigator’s convenience.

I’m aware that they have been sent to police Operation Hydrant, via yourself and Catholic Safeguarding, and I look forward to their response in due course. 

The DLS have also contacted Suffolk police  – see below – and this may be part of the Hydrant investigation or separate. It’s not been made clear and it would be useful to know.

It was also stated by the DLS spokesperson that an independent investigator would be commissioned to look into these allegations which he said were  ‘unheard of’.

‘ most of the accusations made on Mr Mills blog were “completely unheard of”, he (Hudd) said. 

See EADT December 11 2021

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

“With regards to St Joseph’s, we’ve put the ball in Suffolk Constabulary’s court”, Mr Hudd said. “It’s up to them to work out what happened and if the abuse truly was systemic. 

“We’ve also hired our own independent and experienced child abuse investigator to assist the police. 

In fact ‘most’ allegations were ‘heard of’ and were  familiar to the DLS as survivors of Brother Kevin’s abuse prove on this site. And the Beulah Hill survivors who have made numerous allegations on line about Brother Solomon. 

For the DLS to claim they were unaware of these allegations and more is unconvincing.

The DLS own records will confirm that ‘most’ were ‘heard of’ as I’m sure Hudd knows only too well.

Moving onto the investigation, I have not had any contact from an investigator. But how else are they to reach the authors of the various allegations on my site?

We have been waiting these many months and nothing has happened. Who the investigator is has not been revealed to us.

I have the strong feeling that the investigator – six months later – has done nothing.

Is that the case?

You will recall that when the DLS provincial Laurence Hughes was being similarly investigated for allegations of his violent abuse of children, I put your independent investigator’s details on my site. Consequently, several Old Boys got in touch with the investigator.

As a system, it worked well and I have no complaints.

Surely that is the way to go here?

On which subject, I’m sure survivors of Hughes’s alleged violence would like to know what is happening. I understand that police action against Hughes is not proceeding? Is this correct? But I believe you said that – whatever the legal outcome – there would then be an internal inquiry? 

Is Hughes now reinstated as head of the DLS or has he ‘retired’ ? I think the survivors of his alleged assaults would like to know. 

I’m putting this letter up on my blog so survivors can be kept in the loop. I look forward to hearing from you.

Pat Mills

SONIA POULTON SHOW : RISE WITH BNT

I was on the show on Friday talking about organised Catholic abuse involving the De La Salles and the Knights of St Columba. Past AND present. I managed to give an over-view of their crimes. Hope to go into detail in specific areas of their systemic abuse on a future occasion.

It was recorded, so you can see it here:

https://brandnewtube.com/v/jLXO9f

My piece starts just after 1:04 

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

Investigations Reporter

M: ‪07809551238

E: sarah.burgess1@archant.co.uk

@sarahburgesss

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.

CATHOLIC SAFEGUARDING – DIFFERENT ORGANISATIONS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

This is really a memo to self on Catholic Safeguarding because I’ve been seeing them as one organisation whereas in fact – especially from a survivor’s point of view –  they are TWO very distinct bodies with distinct points of view.

So I thought I’d make it clear for others who may well be facing similar difficulties understanding them and who to get in touch with.

It is confusing but that may just me!  I’m not used to the internal workings of large organisations and if and where they overlap. If you’ve worked for some big company like Unilever or a government ministry this is probably a walk in the park!

ONE

The Rev Des Bill, chair of the Catholic Church’s Safeguarding Commission for Orders in Education (SCOE) 

Des is the safeguarding lead person for the De La Salles and other Orders connected with education. So he is directly involved with the De La Salles.

It’s my understanding that Des Bill initiated the suspension of Brother Laurence and commissioned an investigation into the allegations, commissioning Jo Norman to look into them. For all this he is to be commended.

He also passed on my allegations about the DLS and the Knights to Operation Hydrant which I need to ask him about shortly.  

Because the way it was done did not follow the usual approved procedure, according to my own communication with Hydrant.

Although these are all valuable steps, Des appears to be negative, to put it gently, to recent progress in bringing the DLS to book. Thus, as I’ve exampled, he is partisan towards the DLS when they have distanced themselves from their crimes and seems to be involved with the DLS public apology fiasco which was not public and was not much of an apology.

And he doesn’t seem to be responding to the most recent concerns I’ve raised.

Never mind.

Whilst I am not experienced in dealing with large organizations, I have considerable experience in how to deal with people who are not being helpful.

TWO

Catholic Safeguarding Standards Agency (CSSA). Colette Limbrick is the CEO.

I think the CSSA’s functions overlap with the SCOE and I guess I will find out more about how that works as things develop.

They are certainly supportive and I value that.

THREE

Nazir Afzal is the chair of the CSSA, but I understand it’s not an everyday role. Whereas I think chair is a full time post for Des Bill.

Nazir, of course, is well known and a fellow survivor thoroughly recommends his book The Prosecutor.

How Nazir responds to survivors we have yet to see. But we survivors are most definitely moving forward in his direction, too.

I will try to make everything much clearer in the future when I refer to ‘Catholic Safeguarding’.

THE DE LA SALLES –  YET MORE DISTANCING FROM THE TRUTH!

I really do not enjoy highlighting the failings of the De La Salle Brothers and Catholic Safeguarding. I have far better things to do with my time. I could be enjoying the stunning view from our garden. I could be promoting my books. I could be working on my next novel.

But this latest development can’t be ignored. Because survivors have been grievously harmed by this religious order.  And both they and Catholic Safeguarding have to do much better to put things right.

THE ‘PUBLIC’ APOLOGY

As I said previously, it was not a public apology. But there’s some news on this:

Before complaining on my blog it was not a public apology, I did a word search on Google quoting a phrase from the apology.

Nothing came up.

A national journalist looked for the apology in a similar way.

Nothing came up.

Today, if you put a phrase from the apology in Google …

Hey presto! It comes up!

This means the De La Salles have belatedly  added the apology on their website  AFTER my blog had said it was not a public apology.

Previously the only person I know who saw the apology was Catholic Safeguarding who omitted to send it to me until I asked them for it.

The intention was obviously for the apology to have zero public impact.

Such blatant manipulation of information does not put the De La Salles in a good light.

And it’s still far from public as it’s buried on the DLS website without comment.

It should go out to all media IF THEY MEAN THEY ARE SORRY.  Of course it’s obvious they do not mean it.

I’ve also been made aware by others of yet further media obfuscation by the DLS.

Conclusion? The De La Salles haven’t changed at all from the bad old days of cover-up and denial.

THE DE LA SALLE WEBSITE

I had a look at it. https://www.lasalleigbm.org/

Three paragraphs stood out for me:

‘The De La Salle Brothers are fully committed to protecting children, young people and adults at risk from neglect and from all forms of abuse. ‘

‘We will be open, transparent and accountable.’

‘We will respond to those affected by abuse with sensitivity, respect and compassion and endeavour to support them in whatever way is appropriate.’

None of this rings true.

Thus there is no mention of the De La Salle brothers who have been found guilty of abuse.

There is nothing in the News section of their website, either – even though a De La Salle brother who liked to electrocute children’s genitals is being sentenced today.

And no mention of DLS proven abusers who definitely run into double figures and may run into triple figures.

It’s like none of it ever happened.

That is not normal. Something is very wrong here.

Therefore from all the foregoing I put it to the Reverend Des Bill at  Catholic Safeguarding once again that – contrary to what he is claiming –  it is therefore provable that the DLS are distancing themselves from their criminal past.

A GENUINE APOLOGY FROM THE DE LA SALLES?

Perhaps naively, I actually think this is still possible!

I see two possible alternative paths ahead:

1)The De La Salles and Des Bill continue with a defensive pattern of behaviour – with obfuscation and denial  – which alienates survivors and is the very opposite of Christian beliefs.  I guess they’re both hoping that an annoying survivor like me will eventually get fed-up and go away. That’s unlikely – I’ve too much emotional investment in this matter to let it go. But I do seek closure.

2) To enter into a proper dialogue with the DLS and Safeguarding about them creating a true, sincere and meaningful apology.  I think it’s possible, after consultation with the numerous survivors I’m in touch with, to present a draft of what most survivors expect from the DLS. 

And to listen to DLS alternative and improved suggestions for a genuine apology.

It’s clear that the previous apology was just one small step in the right direction.

I’m happy to cut through these necessary but acrimonious posts and talk on the phone or Skype with the DLS and Des Bill. And try to find a solution.

Although it’s my understanding that it’s even a challenge communicating with the DLS who are very difficult to make contact with on these matters. Perhaps that’s down to their lawyers who may have advised them not to speak to survivors?

Whatever else, it’s clear that the DLS and the Reverend Des Bill are in denial about the horrifying and widespread extent of the DLS crimes. I realise it’s shaking the very ground they’re walking on and there must be a devastating price they are now paying in cognitive dissonance by blocking out the truth.  And I know what that feels like, because we survivors similarly had the ground shaking beneath our feet because of DLS abuse. And which many of us similarly tried to deny and block from our minds.

So embracing the truth could actually be truly healing for the DLS and Safeguarding as well as for us.

I realise this second option will probably be dismissed or ignored by the DLS but it will happen eventually, whether they like it or not.   And it’s my understanding that Catholic Safeguarding actually have the power to ensure a true dialogue is opened.

Now.

Over to both of them.

My offer of negotiations with the DLS and Safeguarding for a genuine apology to help heal survivors has been made here today, November 3 2021,  for the record.

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!