Excellent report by the East Anglian Daily Times. I’m really pleased it’s out there because it raises awareness about the De La Salle connection, especially locally.
Finally the modern day St Jo’s have commented:
Current school bosses say they “acknowledge the gravity of the questions being raised” adding that at the college, they are “absolutely committed to the safeguarding and wellbeing of every student in our care”.
“As a community, we have the greatest sympathy for anyone who has been a victim of abuse, wherever and whenever it has occurred,” a spokeswoman said.
College chiefs said that due to a change of ownership in 1996, and with active police investigations ongoing into the historical claims, they are unable to comment further.
They said the allegations relate to a period of time “prior to the current college structure”.
It’s as I predicted. What I take away from their response is ‘This is nothing to do with us.’
So why still associate yourself with a disgraced religious order which has had a disproportionate number of serious sexual and physical abusers in its ranks?
A religious brother accused of abusing a child by attaching wires to his genitals and connecting them to a battery had “a streak of evil” running through him, a court has been told.
Brother Benedict, a member of the De La Salle order, is accused of using indecent behaviour towards a former pupil at St Ninian’s List D School at the Gartmore Estate, Stirlingshire, between 1966 and 1968.
The former pupil, now aged 66, told the High Court in Edinburgh that it made him feel numb but Brother Benedict “just sat laughing, enjoying himself”. He said he did not tell anyone about the abuse at the time.
This case above is CURRENTLY before the courts. The chances of this happening in a state school are very remote. Yet acts of sexual violence against children were commonplace in the DLS schools. Way, way above any kind of ‘national average’.
In short, the UK De La Salles uniquely attracted a disproportionate number of violent, evil sexual abusers nationwide, including at St Joseph’s College, Ipswich: Brother Solomon, Brother James and more. ‘Why?’ is a question that I want an answer to. It doesn’t just happen by coincidence. There is some grapevine, some organisation, some ring that made it possible. And WHEN did it stop?
Turning to the modern St Jo’s, my guess is they HAVE to say ‘In the La Sallian Tradition’ because they are still financially connected to the DLS in some way. That it was part of some deal they made that seemed beneficial to them at the time. Certainly they are still listed as an official La Sallian school and that means SOMETHING. It would take a financial detective/accountant to unravel because it will be concealed in ways above my pay grade to understand. But that’s my gut feeling.
The DLS connection is no longer good publicity for the school and it’s going to get worse. So if I was a Suit, I’d have dumped the ‘La Sallian Tradition’ by now, so I really think they must be stuck with it.
Or it could be that the Suits –school governors, lawyers and insurers – are not up to speed yet on just how serious this matter is. Or there is some personal connection or misguided loyalty between the governors and the DLS that over-rides their common sense. So they still want to talk about the school’s La Sallian achievements of the past, but not the school’s La Sallian crimes except in the most remote, cold and guarded manner as above which – as a survivor – I really don’t care for. I imagine other survivors feel the same way.
You’d imagine a Suit would factor in negative publicity and make a decision for the good of the school to acknowledge and disengage from its criminal past. They surely know they cannot be held financially responsible for the past, so there’s no downside to cutting the connection whilst responding to survivors who shared a common heritage.
We would all be impressed by a new policy of genuine Christianity, genuine compassion for others, and genuine separation from the DLS.
The alternative is to be shamed alongside the De La Salles as the truth continues to come out.
Perhaps it’s on their agenda to consider. I hope so.