THE DE LA SALLES – THE MISSING INVESTIGATION
As you may have seen on my previous blog, the RLSS – Religious Life Safeguarding Service – have successfully arranged for DBS police checks on Cistercian monks on Caldey Island.
So it’s a great step forward for Caldey Island Survivors and the RLSS are to be congratulated for their supportive work.
It suggests that, despite, IMO, the questionable nature of all Safeguarding organizations as ‘fronts’ to protect religious orders and priests, that individuals can still work within the system and create real change. Even though independent agencies are the real answer.
But this still leaves the serious matter of the De La Salles and the RLSS long outstanding.
Currently there is a missing apology and a missing investigation.
Both are of considerable current importance to survivors of the De La Salles.
I’ve got a little tired recently of reading in posts here how wonderful the DLS were with barely a grudging nod to survivors, and often with the qualification, ‘But I never saw the brothers do anything wrong myself.’
Well, of course you didn’t because you weren’t at risk!
It’s like we survivors are necessary collateral damage to fulfill the perverted desires of the De La Salles, while you high achievers got on with your splendid careers, thanks to these wonderful and ‘holy’ brothers you admire so much.
Such high achievers should reflect that, in my era, at least 10% of every class were physically and sexually abused by the DLS. (I can break that down for skeptics.) That makes the DLS a criminal organization and it’s impossible to identify, with any certainty, who was good and who was evil. Only the blatant ones, a very few of whom were caught. Please reflect on that before you continue to sing the praises of a questionable organization that is still operating today and still has its hand out for more funding to continue its ‘holy work’ in the Global South.
So onto the missing apology and investigation.
I’ve been holding off for some time on both the foregoing, not least because the SCOE, the Safeguarding organization for religious orders of which the De La Salles was a client, was disbanded earlier last year and replaced by the RLSS, a new safeguarding organization.
Before it disappeared, the SCOE didn’t pass any information about these two matters above onto the RLSS.
But of course the SCOE was directed by the DLS who could have easily updated the RLSS.
In both instances, the Safeguarding organizations are limited by their client, the DLS, who actually have the real power as the RLSS have indicated to me.
To reprise, when it existed, the SCOE/DLS assured me there would be a public apology for the horrific corporal punishments delivered by Brother Laurence Hughes previously head of the DLS. He has been ‘reduced to the ranks’ following an investigation which is now complete without criminal charges being made.
I’ve been told that it’s almost impossible to bring criminal charges for physical abuse after such a long time period.
The important issue of how Laurence Hughes dismissed abuse complaints while he was head of the DLS has never been addressed.
Given that he has been reduced to the ranks, it should be. It means that those complaining of child abuse received a hearing from a man who committed savage physical abuse on children.
Here’s what the SCOE actually said to me on 15th July last year.
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.
AFAIK the DLS did not make a statement in the ‘near future’ as promised.
It was also stated, as you can see, that it would be a prominent apology, rather than the earlier example of a DLS apology on a separate and general matter. That was a vague and general apology to all survivors of DLS abuse. Such a cursory ‘sorry’ was buried on the DLS website only after I’d shown the announced apology was actually missing. Even the Tablet had to acknowledge this was untoward.
And the DLS also said in a newspaper interview last year that there would be a thorough investigation of all the allegations about the DLS in Ipswich and elsewhere in the South of England which it suggested were ‘unheard of’.
As I’ve told the RLSS the cases against Brothers James, Kevin and Solomon in particular are overwhelming and need public acknowledgement by the De La Salles. They also involve the Catholic laity who helped cover up the crimes of James and Solomon.
Since then, there has been nothing about this ‘investigation’ which I do not believe even exists.
There have been meetings between the RLSS and DLS with no outcome and emails from the RLSS assuring me of their best and genuine intentions.
Because they are a new organization I believed I should give them the benefit of the doubt and also in the interests of due diligence.
So – after an extended delay on the apology and the investigation – we are no further forward.
The DLS have done an excellent job of stalling for most of last year and their RLSS has played a role in this.
The DLS – according to the RLSS – have not been very communicative with them either. Whilst I have some sympathy with them and the frustration they must feel, my priority is we survivors who have been harmed by the DLS.
The comments below relating to the CSSA (the ‘general’ Catholic Safeguarding agency) apply equally to the RLSS.
I think both commentators on twitter put it very well.
Every ‘respectable’ persons engaged as the face of #CSSA must be responsible for their use by church leaders as a ‘smokescreen’ of safeguarding to disguise, facilitate false trust & add more layers to leaderships cover up and concealment of clerical sex crimes.
Countess Sigrid von Galen
Those ‘respectable’ persons are dangerous accomplices, as they create a smokescreen & illusion of safeguarding to disguise & facilitate cover ups & ongoing crimes. All inquiries have shown that the churches can’t be trusted & safeguards are PR stunts. https://twitter.com/Smartcairns11/status/1590654903328051200
Despite the positive result at Caldey Island, after my personal experience with the SCOE, the RLSS and the DLS, I see nothing to disagree with here, not least because Safeguarding organizations have very limited power.
Of course the real culprits are the De La Salles who would seem to be more formidable opponents than the Cistercians and who are treating survivors with absolute contempt.
Not the behaviour of supposed ‘holy’ men.