BROTHER SOLOMON: DARK NETWORKER

The real purpose of this post is the mechanics of a  Catholic Dark Network.

How they operate.

 And how this can sometimes mean a Catholic paedophile  ‘taking one for the team’. I believe  Brother Solomon had to ‘take one for the team’.

 I’ll come back to that a bit later. But first to set the scene:

In case the tag ‘Brother Solomon’ has drawn you to this site for the first time, let me explain that a Dark Network is an academic term for a paedophile ring. 

An academic study (see my past post ‘Dark Networks’) shows a primary example in Victoria, Oz. Muytjens, Sally (2019) An exploration of the existence of clergy child sexual abuse dark networks within the Victorian catholic church. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.

Muytjens identified 16 Catholic child sex abuse rings in Victoria, Oz.

This, for me at least, validates my own recollections that there was a similar paedophile  ring at St Joseph’s College Ipswich in the 1960s.

There was also a separate investigation by the Age newspaper which covers further criminal Catholic networks in Oz, some of which may overlap with the academic study. If you just want a quick read, here it is: https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/revealed-how-paedophile-priests-in-victoria-worked-together-to-share-victims-20190916-p52rtz.html

The evidence for Brother Solomon being in a similar paedophile ring is more circumstantial than Brother James where  two testimonies specifically show the involvement of the Knights of St Columba  who covered up his crimes . This resulted in more of James’s perverted behaviour being inflicted on pupils in the 1970s when he should have been in jail.

To briefly reprise on the evidence about Brother Solomon.

I knew as a first former in 1960/1961 that Solomon was a paedophile. All the kids joked about it and talked about him being sent to a Brothers’ reformatory on Jersey where shipwrecked sailors would be at risk from them.  Brother James – a confirmed Dark Networker – wrote a glowing farewell to Solomon in the school magazine and I remember at the time thinking how it was simply untrue.  Then Solomon went to Beulah Hill where he committed numerous crimes, had a brief interval as a minor pop star, then probably went to do ‘missionary work’ at Homan’s Boys Town in India,  and came back to St Joseph’s Ipswich as lay teacher Mike Mercado in the mid-1980s. He was dismissed over further allegations of sexual abuse.

The endless shifting him from school to school is suggestive of a Dark Network of organized abusers. Then there’s his involvement with Joe Homan, a proven paedophile (I have the private testimony of one survivor from Oakhill which is heartbreaking to read). Homan may have won a libel case alleging abuse, but there is a great deal about him still left unanswered and strongly suggestive of a Dark Network, despite Old Boy Chris Mullin’s whitewash obituary on him in the Guardian.  

There’s more about Solomon which is potentially relevant.  His co-ownership of a fun pier at Weston Super Mare, for example. According to Mullin, he ended his days playing the piano on a pier. Maybe this was the one.

Before getting onto how Solomon ‘took one for the team’, here’s a reminder from Old Boys at Beulah Hill as to what this sick individual was like.

Bear in mind he’d just been thrown out of St J’s Ipswich because of some serious allegations which resulted in him disappearing literally overnight.  So then he’s allowed to carry on at Beulah Hill doing exactly the same!

(I have a private testimony from an Old Boy from Ipswich describing a sexual assault Solomon made on him and a number of other boarders.)

I was a pupil at St Joseph’s College, Beulah Hill, from 1955 to 1965 – I can confirm that it was an absolutely terrible experience – and in 1961, as if there weren’t enough very strange, totally weird, ‘Christian’ Brothers (all from the ‘De La Salle’ order) – they brought in Brother Solomon (they already had Brother Leo and Brother David, niether have been mentioned in these columns but I can honestly say, both horrendous, merciless, harshly-appalling people). Brother Solomon was allowed total freedom by the school and by the order as ‘Master of Discipline’ – everything that has been said here about this man is true, however it all only just touches on his evil brutality, his mental and sexual perversion; I would say he was at least twenty times worse than anyone has stated here – over a period of four years he became worse and worse and by 1964 he was out of control. Dispite what clearly must have been known by those in authority, he was allowed to continue with his sinful, vicious, atrocious, criminal, immoral, debauched, perverted, abhorrent, detestable, monstrous, foul, vile, discraceful ways for a further full year – it was absolutely scandalous. Finally, during the summer holidays of 1965 Brother Soloman was dismissed from St Joseph’s and at the same time expelled from the De La Salle order. Within a very short time he became known nationally as ‘The Swinging Monk’; he was in the Sunday papers and on Records, TV and Radio being described as pianist ‘Mike Mercado’. Today he would have been in court, subsequently locked up, after just a couple of days in any school; he got away with it for so long by intimidation and because in those days, if you dared to say anything against this “incredible” school (in your Catholic parents view) you were immediatly set-about by your father, as I was on several occasions – including once when I phoned my father (a complete bully) from the phone box at Crown Point and described an incident that had only just occurred in Bro’ Soloman’s locked and curtained office; “Stay right there, it’ll take me an hour to get to you!” shouted my father as he slammed down his phone – some time later, as he pulled up and dived out of his car I thought to myself (I was still in the phone box) this is it, at last, this will be the downfall of this terrible man, Soloman, but alas, my father ripped open the red glass-paned door and totally laid-into ME, beating me almost unconscious; I was lying on the ground as he turned for his car, shouting at me “get back into that school and don’t you ever tell such lies about people again, or I’ll beat you to death”; and then he sped off. I was helped into a nearby sweet shop by a GPO telegram boy who had seen the beating and so was very sympathetic but terrified for me of my father, saying you’d better get cleaned up and back into school in case he comes back…. I would say I was one of probably less than a dozen boys regularly (daily) picked on by Brother Soloman but those awfull times have, on and off, affected my whole life – as a young 13 and 14 year old boy I was completely traumatised on many occasions, and left with absolutely no support from home, and that has returned to haunt me at various different stages of my life….. . Now, more optimistically, can anyone provide me with any actual evidence to confirm Brother Soloman is now deceased (an entry in death records; his place of death/buriel etc); in this respect please refer to this website: http://www.salfordonline.com/waywewere2.php?func=viewdetails&vdetails=239&os= which shows he went back to his home town of Eccles in 1968; it also shows that others seek to know where he is now. With my sincerest thanks, in advance, for any assistance that can be provided.

(Solomon is, of course, dead now)

This next quote may be relevant for indicating the transgenerational nature of Dark Networks:

Re-visiting my copy of St.Joseph’s College 1855-1955 Book, Beulah Hill, by W.J.Battersby [Senior History Master].

This bit of information that may interest you:-

Appendix III [p.92]

Old Boys Who Became Brothers:

extracted from the list……

At College 1941-43:

Brother Patrick Solomon (Michael Mercado)

If you find transgenerational abuse unlikely, let me assure you that it’s a proven characteristic of Dark Networks that they like to recruit a new generation to corrupt.

(Thus I believe Brother James was a De La Salle schoolboy)

The Network tried it with me, recruiting me to be a priest, and I resisted. 

Here’s the transgenerational confirmation in the Oz academic study.

DN = Dark Network. Actors = abusers

The data chapter discusses clergy perpetrators who were placed in roles of recruiting boys into the priesthood. The importance of recruitment and mentoring to the DN is that the ability to be able to replace DN actors is crucial to DN resilience (Ayling 2009).

Back to Brother Solomon/Mercado.

I’ve been passed his letter of resignation when he was kicked out of St Joseph’s Ipswich as lay teacher Mike Mercado.

He sent this letter out to parents and it’s well written and cleverly worded to make him seem like an injured party. If we didn’t already know he was the Jimmy Saville of the De La Salle Brothers, we might even be convinced by it.

But what I found interesting was the  threats  he makes which he does not follow up on. So why not just keep your mouth shut?  This is not a stupid man. Is he really just ‘mouthing off’ because he’s angry at losing his job? In my opinion, he’s hinting and mentioning certain individuals deliberately to make a point.  There’s a code here which I can only partly decipher.

We already know Solomon is a clever and experienced paedophile. I’d say he weighed every one of his key sentences with care. With great care. Hence why he says he could write a book about it, which he mentions twice.

I’m only going to include relevant excerpts here:

‘Dear Friends,

A year ago I sent a Newsletter to all of the parents of my Boarders wishing the compliments of the season and giving a few hints and tips on the guidance of teenagers through their most difficult years…

It is not possible to explain in detail the events of the past six months. If I did so, I would have to write all of you a book!  …

My problems started with an allegation being made against me by one of my Boarders that I had touched him in an indecent manner on his bottom…I was very hurt and insulted when the Headmaster indicated that he accepted the word of the Pupil and did not give me the opportunity of giving my version of the matter. These hurtful and insulting things were said by those with the Order one would have expected to support rather than condemn.

At this juncture I should point out that I had been a Christian Brother for some thirteen years prior to 1966  AND I AM FULLY AWARE OF WHAT GOES ON WITHIN THE ORDER. (Pat’s caps)’

Mercado then quotes a supportive Brother Damian who writes to Mercado, ‘I hope you will forgive the Community their lack of support.’

Mercado then relates how the Governors – whom he does not name – accepted he was innocent, but sacked him for drunkenness instead which he also denies.  He goes on:

‘I also consider it was significant that the Chairman of the Governors Rev. Bro. Edwin, Mr Kearney  (Senior Lay-Master whom I have known since 1958) and Bro. Cuthman Francis the Clerk to the Governors were not present at the Governors meeting on the 16th September. ‘

He’s making a point here by saying it was significant.  Why was it significant?  There’s a code here which I can only speculate about.  Had they deliberately stayed away, knowing Mercado was going to be sacked?

Mercado continues that he was finally vindicated by the settlement. ‘I am not bitter but rather sad at the treatment I have received from certain Members of the De La Salle Order. 

‘I have every intention of writing my experiences with the Order in a book.  I would recommend the reading of “In God’s Name” by David Yallop which clearly indicates that even in the Vatican things are not always as Holy and as Perfect (Mercado’s capital letters) as one would expect.’

Mercado ends by wishing everyone a Happy New Year for 1986.

AMENDMENT HERE. My thanks to Rob for pointing out I had Edwin originally confused with Elwin. So I’ve removed that piece.

TEXT NOW CONTINUES AS BEFORE

I suggest Mercado’s reminding Kearney of their long association with each other for nearly thirty years. Whilst there could be other explanations why he should stress their connection, I know the explanation that I take away from this.

Mercado’s letter is definitely hinting and threatening that he could say a whole lot more and he’s letting certain individuals know this loud and clear. 

He never wrote that book.

If he had blown the whistle, his own crimes would have been further exposed and he must have known that. His Dark Network of fellow abusers could also make life difficult for him.  Or ‘bring you much pain’ – as one Survivor put it to me. And they would fail to support or rehabilitate him later.

So he had no choice. He shut up and took one for the team.

It could be that, in return, judging by this letter he was partly exonerated (his crime abruptly altered from unacceptable child sexual abuse to acceptable drunkenness) and financially compensated. 

To quote him: ‘An out of Court settlement has been agreed and I have also received a glowing reference from the Headmaster… I believe that the settlement and the reference does vindicate me.’

The whole thing stinks to high heaven. The Dark Network looks after its members.

This is of personal interest to me because  I need to understand just how these Dark Networkers function. Because when I was 15 and went to the police about the Catholic Dark Network  I’d had the misfortune to be ensnared by, the cops did actually interview one Catholic Knight who I focussed most of my fury and accusing attention on.

Although he talked his way out of it, I did later see the fear and the anger in his eyes that he just might be in  trouble and be thrown to the wolves by his fellow perverts. I was a ‘troublemaker’.  (And still am, of course) And I’d singled him out as the pervert I was going after. He subsequently was very careful how he behaved in my presence.

I can still feel that buzz I had as a 15 year old when I had the power and my abuser was the victim for a change. Even if it was short-lived.

Currently I’m still gathering information on this individual. I hope to name and shame him in due course as a useful catharsis.

But in broader terms, I think it’s valuable to understand the mechanics of how Catholic Dark Networks operated and may still operate if they are – by definition – transgenerational. 

Which means today’s Catholic children are still at risk from them.

We are deliberately – and endlessly –  conditioned by Catholic influenced or Catholic funded ‘damage limitation’ academics and authors to think it’s just one rogue priest, one rogue Cardinal who acts in a moment of madness, that we find it hard to deprogram that obsolete thinking.  That’s exactly what they want and why these books keep coming out which simply tread water and say nothing new. (See my ‘Sins of Omission’)

But the Dark Network study and the Age newspaper expose have changed that forever. They will lead to other  Catholic Dark Networks, historic or current, being investigated and exposed as other academics and media follow up on the Australian groundbreaking work.   

St Joseph’s College, Ipswich, and the connected Catholic laity in Ipswich would be a good place to start.

SINS OF OMISSION

With the testimonies posted on this site and with the empirical evidence of the  Australian Catholic Dark Network study  proving beyond any reasonable doubt  the existence of Organised Catholic Abuse, you would expect it to be covered in recent academic and serious studies of Catholic Sexual Abuse.

So I looked at three important recent studies. One in Australia, one in Ireland, and one in Britain.

They are:

Child Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church:
An Interpretive Review of the Literature and Public Inquiry ReportsDesmond Cahill Peter Wilkinson

Centre for Global Research

School of Global, Urban and Social Studies RMIT University, Melbourne August 2017

Child Sexual Abuse and the Catholic Church: Gender, Power, and Organizational Culture Marie Keenan.

Betrayed: The English Catholic Church and the Sex Abuse Crisis  by Richard Scorer  

All three provide valuable insights into the crimes of the Church.

All three have significant omissions.

The Australian book is written by two academic priests, but that doesn’t stop them rightly castigating the Church.  At the same time, it’s a cleverly manicured damage limitation exercise. Here’s a typical example concerning failures in Catholic residential care:

The intentions of the religious orders were generally altruistic and well-intentioned but flawed, although many former residents in all inquiries expressed gratitude for the way they had been cared for.

Sexual, physical and emotional abuse was a feature of almost all residential institutions, although the sexual abuse was much more endemic in boys’ than girls’ institutions.

There’s endless whitewashing in their selection of material. For example:

Winship’s study is more targeted than Keenan’s, focusing on 12 priests and religious who had offended against pre-pubescent children aged 13 or under.

Winship describes her subjects as ‘romantic paedophiles’, because their lives and affections were centred on children. Their minds did not contain conscious sadistic fantasies of children, and none engaged in penile penetration so she describes them as sexual molesters, vilified by society, rather than paedophiles.

I don’t think any of the survivors on this site would agree with her definition of ‘romantic paedophiles’.

Marie Keenan’s work has an Irish background. Academics greatly admire her supposedly ground- breaking book. I don’t share their admiration.

She acknowledges her book was partly funded, at least, by the Irish Bishop’s Conference and two religious orders ‘with no conditions attached.’

Her central premise about lonely priests, the structure of the Church etc, is hardly groundbreaking. I’ve read it countless times before. She says there is no evidence that the Clergy enter religious life in order to abuse children.  She challenges the view that abusers of children are pure evil and makes various excuses for predators. She also quotes an academic study that abuse doesn’t always harm children and may even be character building.

Richard Scorer’s book I admire greatly. He’s a lawyer who has worked with Survivors and he relates how a client told him she had been warned by her local Catholic priest that to ‘rake over the past is a mortal sin.’

But Scorer reaches roughly the same conclusion as the other distinguished authors. ‘The factors which give rise to the abuse crisis – clericalism, authoritarianism, sexual immaturity the priesthood have not gone away.’

All three ignore a wide range of Catholic abuse issues for which there is hard evidence. And yet they must have been tripping over some of this evidence in the course of their investigations.

You may ask why would they ignore the truth?   After all, these are clearly good people.

If you’re familiar with how authors and academics operate, as I am, you’ll already know the answer. You may already know there are subjects in every walk of life that are strictly off limits in a world where there’s now only a handful of key controlling publishers.

Academics cannot and dare not explore certain topics.  Their livelihoods and their contracts are at stake, so they simply keep their mouths shut. I’ve already done a study of how important truths are censored at a lecture I gave at Liverpool university in 2014.

In the area of child abuse – as in other sensitive areas –authors and academics are provably not telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Instead, they are selecting their truths and their omissions are disturbing.

 Consciously or unconsciously, they are acting as damage limitation, distraction (‘don’t look over there – look over here’),  officially approved opposition, call it what you will.

 By doing so, although they claim to be part of the solution, they are actually part of the problem.

                        THE CHECKLIST

Here are the areas of clerical abuse they are ignoring for which there is empirical evidence.  Evidence that is worthy of study and analysis. They will have come across some of these areas at least. I’ll try to keep them brief so you can get an over-view.

1.Catholic priests  were – and possibly still are – Knights of St Columba. There are three priests on a KOSC obituary list I have (It’s since been removed from the web, but I have retained a copy).  Two of these priests abused me.  Such membership means the line between laity and the priesthood  is blurred.  That has  worrying implications worthy of study.

2.None of the books I’ve referred to suggest the laity-  the congregation – were ever involved with or supported clerical abuse. Similarly, I only found one account on the web that indicates the laity were involved. Yet it’s highly unlikely that the congregation were always passive and unknowing and never participated.

3. The role of all Catholic Knights is to protect the good name of the Church. What does that mean in practise?  My testimony and the testimony of another survivor, plus a further account I have, would suggest it was used to cover up in the context of Ipswich Province. The Dark Network study indicates something similar.  The Knights worldwide play an important role in the Church. Why isn’t this studied?

3. Finance and control. The Knights controlled and paid my school fees. They paid compensation to Survivors, including me (see my last post about Brother James).  They also in the past helped finance schools like St Joseph’s and possibly the building of new churches.   As they have a tradition of being secret organisations, how is that monitored and why is it never studied?

4. The Knights rituals, a form of psychological brainwashing and for which there are transcripts, stopped in the late 1960s. Why? And did those traditions continue in some truncated form?

5. Papal Knight Jimmy Savile was almost certainly a Knight of St Columba from the photos at his funeral where the KOSC act as ushers.  See Google images. There are no references to this on the web. It’s been ‘combed’.  Are his connections to KOSC  off limits like his connections to Thatcher and Prince Charles.    Given the KOSC’s charitable work, it’s a relevant question.

6. Major studies often refer to the legal situation in clerical abuse. Lawyers are  involved in compensation to victims. The Dark Network study shows such an important role for Catholic  lawyers. A private testimony I have does the same with a KOSC lawyer providing support after a child has been abused.  Why is there never any reference to similar legal interventions which must have occurred elsewhere?

7. All these books I’ve referred to – and all others on the subject –   still present the abuser  as a  lone rogue priest or monk, like a clerical version of Lee Harvey Oswald, the lone gunman.

Yet any anthropological study show humans  like to work or get together in organised groups whether it’s golfers, authors, organised crime, or organised abusers.  Why haven’t academics considered this on an anthropological level alone?  Apart from all the other evidence.

 8. In one recent testimony on my site there is evidence of a private hospital that dealt with a  Catholic victim of abuse. The nurse indicates this has happened before. It’s clearly well organised and yet it would seem the academics know of no such time where it’s happened before.  Is the nurse lying? Are we all lying?

9. The Dark Network study of clerical abuse in Oz  has details which cannot be unique. The academics must have come across the same or similar details.  Why don’t they mention them?  Note the study also refers to abuse amongst leading members of the laity.

10. There is Opus Dei self harming  and also British examples of  Catholic self harming.  For instance,  John Cornwell’s Seminary Boy describes his self- flagellation at his seminary and how it was approved by priests. Surely that has some relevance, not least because  of the danger of clerical abusers flagellating victims.  I was aware of the threat of this, at least.

11. At the heart of the Church is Mother Theresa’s view of the glory of suffering (although she didn’t apply it to herself, having first class palliative care). It’s because it’s the Imitation of Christ’s suffering. Why hasn’t this driving concept been explored in the context of abuse?  As excuses for abuse?  Just how far does the Imitation of Christ’s suffering go? Quite a way, I can assure you.  

As the basis for a twisted theology with an abusive modus operandi, it is highly relevant.

It’s astonishing that academics never even consider or discuss the central premise of the Church in the context of abuse.  I will be shortly.

12. Most survivors accounts that we read are passed through the filter of academics and authors who act as gatekeepers, selecting, censoring and editing.  Is this why we are not seeing more accounts as on my site where there is no censorship?

When that doesn’t happen – as in the excellent survivor site on Oz ‘Broken Rites’ -it supplied much of the hard evidence for the Dark Network study. We surely need the equivalent in the UK .

13.  Why aren’t there more sites like Broken Rites that can finally expose the whole truth? Not a censored version.

There is a very reputable Catholic survivor site, for which I normally have the greatest respect, who invited me to talk at one of their conferences. They even offered to pay for my hotel. So I went into further detail, covering my experience of  the organized nature of Catholic sexual abuse. I told them this would be the basis of my talk.

I never heard from them again.

Where is this self-censorship coming from?

14. There is substantial evidence on this site gathered over some seven years.  And my site is now widely known. Why isn’t the evidence affirmed or repudiated?

 Instead, there’s silence which is the usual response from academics when they’re presented with uncomfortable truths that they dare not consider.  I have overwhelming evidence of academic silence in other areas, such as the real truth about World War One, which is my personal area of expertise. It looks like it’s the same here.

…………………….

In conclusion, let’s hope there’s a serious author or academic out there who is courageous enough  to look at the serious issues I’ve raised in this Check List.

I’m not holding my breath.

The Dark Network

The Dark Network is a term used by academics to describe organised crime such as sex trafficking, Mafia, drug rings, youth gangs and so forth.

It is also the term used by an authoritative thesis study of organised Catholic abuse in Victoria, Australia.  It is not an isolated or maverick study; it is  further confirmed by other related sources and also independent Australian sources which state clearly that abuse in the  Australian Catholic Church was organised and endemic.

It’s remarkable that such a major study should feature on the internet – it’s only been up there since early 2020.  It has wider and serious implications for the Church in other countries, including Britain and Ireland. Therefore – if you find the study of interest – I recommend you download it, in case it mysteriously disappears.

It is relevant to the whole subject of abuse at St Joseph’s, Ipswich, the Catholic priests in Ipswich, the laity, notably the Knights of St Columba of Ipswich Province, and their wives – as I’ve detailed in past posts.  The Catholic structure in Australia and in Ipswich have enough similarities for this Dark Network to be worth looking at.  Thus I have posted the testimony of a St Joseph’s Old Boy that Father Jolly tape recorded confessions. Here is a similar account in the Australian thesis:

Searson’s sexualised conduct included having children sit on his knee inconfession, having them kneel between his knees during confession, taperecording ‘hot’ confessions, cuddling girls and having girls do handstands in front of him in their dresses.

It has always been my contention that there was organised Catholic abuse in Ipswich when I was growing up in the 1960s. Namely that it was premeditated, planned and highly organised.

It was a way of life.

 Thus all three priests I came in contact with were abusers and two, probably three, were Knights of St Columba. If it was just the odd ‘rogue priest’, as Catholics desperately still like to claim, that would be most unlikely.

Initially, my view was very much a maverick opinion which I voiced with some caution, because the prevailing view is still the ‘rotten apple’ theory of Catholic abuse. I didn’t want my evidence and the evidence of other St Joseph’s  Old Boys to be seen and dismissed as wild conspiracy theories.  But today there are now enough statements on my site to amount to empirical evidence of organised Catholic abuse.  For example,how Brother Solomon was moved around schools, and his disturbing connection with the equally disturbing Joe Homan (ex De La Salle brother) charity.  Homan (previously covered on this site) may have been ex DLS, but – as an Old Boy recently reminded me – there were still appeals in St Pancras, Ipswich, to raise money to buy him a tractor.  Everything was, and probably still is, interconnected.

 In particular, apart from my own testimony, there’s a recent detailed testimony of a survivor relating to Brother James, Father Jolly and how the Catholic authorities covered up a major crime. Plus a further private testimony I have from a survivor which describes in comprehensive and disturbing detail how organised laity cover-ups works in the Catholic Church.

In short, there was a similar Dark Network of organised Catholic crime in  Ipswich in the 1960s.

The Australian report confirms for the first time, as far as I’m aware, that such criminal Networks of organised clerical sexual abuse exist within the Catholic Church.  This should encourage survivors to speak more openly about their experiences without fear of being dismissed as fantasists. Unless family ties, tradition, and fear of the consequences still enforces the rule of omerta?

First, the other evidence from Australia which shows there was ,and probably still, is highly organised Catholic abuse.

There’s Kristina Keneally in The Guardian who highlights the response of the police to what she calls  ‘Catholic extremism’.

I posed this question on Twitter last week: should we call this Catholic extremism? One of the police officers who blew the whistle on the sexual abuse of children in the Australian Catholic church, Peter Fox, responded “I’d call it organised crime.” He’s right. But it is more than that. It is a warped, extreme and deeply flawed interpretation of the Catholic faith that led to such crimes.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/13/lets-call-child-sexual-abuse-in-the-church-what-it-is-catholic-extremism

I discuss this extreme interpretation of Catholicism later in this post and how it endorses and encourages abuse.

Then there’s The Conversation by Michael Salter, Lecturer in Criminology, Western Sydney University.

He asks if it’s rogue priests or a Culture of  abuse? He answers his question as follows:

The report of the South Australian Mullighan Inquiry into children in state care was published in 2008. In the report, former state wards provided detailed accounts of groups of staff sexually abusing children in institutions and taking them to what Commissioner Mullighan described as “paedophile parties”. Priests, nuns and care staff were implicated. Like so many other inquiries of this nature, the report hinted at a degree of sexual abuse that has not received full public recognition.

https://theconversation.com/rogue-priests-or-a-culture-of-abuse-investigating-paedophilia-in-the-catholic-church-10700

There’s also this statement made in Australian parliament.

Here is one person’s story which, I warn senators before I begin, is very disturbing. This particular woman told the inquiry that, as a young child and soon after her mother died, she had been placed in care at a Catholic church-run institution which held around 130 children in the mid to late 1950s. She alleges that a man, who she believes may have been a priest, started to sexually assault her soon after her arrival at the orphanage. She said that a nun took her to a room on the ground floor where the man put her face down on a table, lifted her dress, removed her undergarments and sexually assaulted her. He allegedly told her that she was worthless, that she deserved to be treated in this way and that she should never tell anyone because no-one would ever believe her. She said that she bled badly. The man returned her to the nun, who then put her to bed. This woman told the inquiry that this abuse occurred possibly twice a week over some time and would follow a similar pattern. Sometimes the nun who took her to the man would beat her and she would try to run away only to be taken back again. This woman did not tell anyone about the abuse at the time because she thought that she would not be believed. She recalled that she felt: ‘So lost, so lonely, so sad, so worthless. I cried every day. I cried myself to sleep every night. I used to go off into the toilet any time and I would just sob.’

And finally the thesis itself.  It’s backed up, of course, with further sources.

An exploration of the existence of clergy child sexual abuse Dark Networks within the Catholic Church.

Signed 17th September 2019.

By Sally Muytjens BJus(Hons). Doctor of Philosophy. School of Justice. Faculty of Law, Queensland University of Technology

It’s an excellent document, much of it concerned with statistics to bear out her premise that there is a Catholic Dark Network and showing its similarities to other ‘traditional’, recognised criminal organisations.

Chapter 5 introduction has a good summary.

The chapter begins by evidencing ties between clergy perpetrators of CSA (child sexual abuse)  to show that rather than committing CSA on an individual level these DN (Dark network) actors (perpetrators) are connected on an organisational level. Furthermore, qualitative data shows these ties being utilised to support and share DN resources with fellow clergy DN actors. The data chapter provides examples of clergy DN resources and how these are shared between clergy DN actors. Clergy DN resources include victims, victim information, shared knowledge for the facilitation of CSA and silencing of victims. The data reveals common patterns for committing CSA and for silencing victims.

As I was recruited for a seminary and there was a very punitive response from the Catholic authorities  when I refused to go, this next piece was significant and confirms my recollections are correct.  As a fourteen year old boy, I was aware of the criminal nature of the Catholic Network and I wanted nothing more to do with it.

Recruitment is an important aspect of maintaining network numbers… The data chapter discusses clergy perpetrators who were placed in roles of recruiting boys into the priesthood. The importance of recruitment and mentoring to the DN is that the ability to be able to replace DN actors is crucial to DN resilience (Ayling 2009).

Her thesis cannot possibly cover crimes by the Catholic laity and female Catholic abuse as well. But both are relevant in my view. Namely the Knights of St Columba and their wives whom I’ve previously written about.  Here’s what Ms Muytjens said on this subject:

These crimes were not limited to Victoria and did extend beyond Australia’s borders, but the boundaries for this research were set within Victoria. These crimes, and the crime of CSA particularly, were not limited to clergy and were also committed by nuns and Catholic laity. The scope of this research was limited by the enormity of criminal acts committed within the Catholic church as boundaries had to be set to analyse a manageable data set.

Ms Muytjens later gives an example of where  Catholic laity were involved in organised Catholic sexual abuse. It’s from a survivor’s testimony:

I would have been about 16 or 17 years old. We stayed in a hotel and I stayed in the same room as Fr Pickering and he continued to abuse me. I remember one night during this trip, we went to a local hotel for dinner where Fr Pickering met up with someone, who I think was called Fr Gavin, and three other men. I don’t remember Fr Gavin’s last name, but he was quite young, about 30 years old. I don’t know who the three other men were, they were not priests, but my impression was that they were involved in the church in some way. All the men had boys with them around the same age as me. I was made to sit on the kids’ table while the men sat on a different table (RCICA 2015g, 46).

It’s an important quote because thus far the congregation have largely managed to escape scrutiny. It needs more survivors to come forward.  Australia, of course, has its  own equivalent of the Knights of St Columba.

Later in the thesis (Page 166), there’s a record of a clerical death threat made to a survivor. I had several such threats made to me because I would not stay silent. Here’s the quote:

Br Best, the school principal, also teaching Grade 6, called Paul to his office. Paul was aware of Br Best’s fondness for belting the boys, the nervous child entered and was told by Best: “It’s all right. Just want to talk to you” (BRA 2017). Best then sexually penetrated the boy. Soon afterwards, Paul told his own class teacher, Fitzgerald, what Best had done. Fitzgerald responded by hitting him and then asked the boy again what happened and when Paul repeated the claim he was struck again. After being asked a third time, Paul replied: “Nothing happened”. (BRA 2017). Paul could not bring himself to tell his parents, so he approached a Catholic priest who responded with a “backhander” and threatened his life, saying, ‘If you tell anyone what happened I will f***ing kill you’. (BRA 2017) 

The relatively modern, rather than historic, nature of Catholic Dark Network cover-ups is demonstrated by the following incident from 2003.  The Grey Network that she refers to is the Catholic Network that doesn’t commit abuse but supports it.

Br Julian Fox was appointed as the head of the Salesian Order in Australia, supervising Salesian schools in several States (BRA ndn).  The Victorian police wanted to interview Fox, but in 2003 the church gave him a job in Rome as a web-master on the Salesians’ worldwide website (Family and Community Development Committee 2012b, 7). Fox used Rome as his base, but he travelled the world (Family and Community Development Committee 2012b, 7). This transfer of Fox to Rome by the grey network showed the grey network not only protecting this DN actor and obstructing a police investigation but placing Fox in a position which provided significant opportunities to acquire new DN resources such as victims, new DN actors, safe places to hide clergy subject to complaints and connections to other DN actors globally. The promotion of DN interests by the grey network was also apparent in the role promotion of known clergy perpetrators of CSA.

As Cardinal Pell has recently won his appeal, it’s relevant to quote this from the thesis:

I told George (Pell)  I had been abused by Gerald. His first reaction was, “Oh, right”.There was no shock. His tone then became terse relatively quickly and I could sense anger in his voice. I started to get a sense he was insinuating things about my story and I felt like I’d done something wrong. George then began totalk of my growing family and my need to take care of their needs. He mentioned things such as, I may soon have to buy a car or a house for my family. I doremember with clarity the last three lines we spoke together:

Me: ‘Excuse me, George, what the fuck are you talking about?’ George said, ‘Iwant to know what it will take to keep you quiet’. My response was, ‘Fuck youGeorge, and everything you stand for’. I hung up the phone. (RCICA 2015d, 73)

The thesis also details how important judicial members of the Catholic laity are involved in cover-ups. The private testimony I have from a St J’s Old Boy says something very similar.  And there’s my own experience, too. I was warned off by a Catholic magistrate (A Knight) and told to keep my mouth shut as I’ve related previously.  

At Gladstone Park, Fr Baker befriended a local family who had a son. Bakersexually abused this boy on trips away and in the boy’s bedroom. The victim’s father complained about Baker to the chairman of the parish school board,Brian Cosgriff, who was also a magistrate (BRA nda). Cosgriff consulted another Catholic layman, Brendan Murphy, who was a barrister. These two men of law neglected to notify the police and, instead, merely notified ArchbishopFrank Little (BRA nda). Archbishop Little’s secretary, Monsignor Peter Connors, who later became the bishop of Ballarat, visited the victim’s family and convinced them to keep the matter secret (BRA nda).

This evidence highlights the fact that the DN were also protected by certain members of the Catholic laity. It is significant that a magistrate and a barrister considered clergy CSA to be a matter for the Catholic Church to deal with rather than a legal matter.

It would be reasonable to assume the Catholic magistrate and barrister in question were Catholic Knights.  In two similar British incidents (my own and another survivor’s) they were Knights.

That’s as far as I’ve analysed the thesis. I must follow up on her sources where I can. Australians are to be congratulated for their courageous search for truth about the full extent and nature of Catholic abuse in Oz. By comparison, Catholic Britain is a long and shameful way behind and seems to have little interest in the subject.

The Dark Network that this thesis so superbly describes has numerous disturbing implications. The one that springs immediately to mind is – when did it stop?  There is no direct cut-off point in the thesis, but it starts to move out of historic abuse into current times with the example I’ve indicated and others.

Previously with historic abuse, the Catholic Church has been able to say:  the monks, brothers and priests who abused are now all dead or in their 80s, so it’s all in the past and today there are stringent protocols in place to ensure it can never happen again. So can we please just shut up, forget the whole unpleasant business, and look to the future?

But a Catholic Dark Network is different. It’s not dependant on individuals who die or retire as the thesis demonstrates.  It’s transgenerational.

You might assume that with such a spotlight on the Catholic Church today, that Networks would have disbanded in the last decade or so.  But this is not the case with other forms of organised crime, even though the spotlight is equally on them. The Mafia, sex trafficking, drugs rings and so on continue to this day, albeit more secretively, cautiously and cleverly than in previous eras.

So there is no reason to suppose that a Catholic Dark Network is any different. Yes, there are more stringent checks today but that’s never stopped criminals in the past from finding ways around checks.  And the Church’s wilful and provable delaying tactics and attempts to minimise and excuse its past crimes do not inspire me with any confidence. Its various  organisations’ silence about abuse at St Joseph’s College and in Catholic Ipswich is also a matter of concern.   Furthermore, in the current age of austerity, there will be more vulnerable children than ever before. 

They will be new targets for Catholic predators. And they will find new ways of reaching them. Doubtless they already have.

I’ve had one anecdotal confirmation from a police officer, who investigated paedophile crimes, that Catholic clerical abuse is still current rather than historic. I’ve also come across two incidents on the web that are thus already in the public domain. They also relate to the current era and I’ll refer to them in a future post. They’re not empirical evidence of Dark Networking, but they are a matter of concern.

 As several reports have shown, the Church has been riddled with sexual abuse for most of its two thousand years existence.  The underlying reason for this is because, underneath their paedophile and sadistic behaviour, there is also a belief system, a credo. That’s why it’s been tolerated. Priests, monks, brothers and laity do not form part of an organised Dark Network just to find an outlet for their depravity or sexual frustrations. There is an excuse, a rationale, a logic, a reasoning, a twisted theology behind their crimes. This ‘justifies’ their crimes. That’s something I can personally confirm from my own childhood encounters with these perverts.

It’s rather more than a depraved priest excusing his conduct with some pseudo-spiritual nonsense as he abuses a young child. And it’s rather less than some elaborate,  conspiratorial, esoteric,  masonic belief system.  Although it draws on  both and it has elements of both.

In fact it’s more down to earth and actually rather familiar to most of us. It’s a private interpretation and development of the Church’s public teaching on the weakness and evil of the Flesh, how to defeat the Flesh, and how to truly imitate Christ and his suffering. It’s all there, hiding in plain sight. I’ve covered some of the ground already – see ‘The Greatest Betrayal’ – but I’ll return to it in a future post.

The thesis also doesn’t cover what goes on in the criminal minds of Catholic Dark Networkers, it’s outside her terms of reference.

Significantly, few academics who relate and analyse the whole story of Clerical abuse go there either.  It’s like it’s off limits, even though it should be centre stage. It’s an aspect I’ll return to.

What Catholic abusers say, what they think, how they excuse their behaviour, how they explain what they are doing to their victims, is highly pertinent.  And yet, officially, all we have is a few pathetic  ‘rotten apple’ excuses and a few tawdry, pseudo-spiritual excuses which can be quickly dismissed.  Yet all organised criminals have a  sophisticated rationale for their behaviour – and putting Catholic abuse down to the frustrations of celibacy, traumatic childhood, the structure of the Church etc, as some authors claim, is deliberately going down a useful detour, a calculated cul- de-sac to distract us from the truth.  

‘If we can just get the celibacy/screening/structure right, everything will be fine in the Church in the future.’

It’s a classic, questionable academic technique which I’m very familiar with.  It uses that well-tried and successful ploy: ‘Don’t look over here – look over there.’ I need to return to this in a future post.

The authors concerned know it’s a detour, but desperately need to believe the Church can’t be all bad and so blind themselves to or filter out the truth.  That’s a gentle explanation for their conduct. There are other explanations.

Fuelling their work, consciously or unconsciously, is that ongoing premise, ‘The Church’s good name must be protected at all costs.’

These individuals are the loyal opposition whose work gives the fake impression that something is being said and something is being done. At last.

By comparison, Ms Muytjens courageously  ‘tells it like it is’ and exposes the true nature of the Catholic Dark Network.

 It’s a rare and refreshing contrast to and challenge to academia and the establishment’s calculated damage limitation exercises to protect the Catholic Church.