DE LA SALLES –  THE FINAL EVIDENCE

In preparation for the independent Investigator, I’ve previously summarised the evidence on this blog concerning Brothers James, Kevin and Solomon. Also, school chaplain Father Jolly and the Knights of St Columba and their close links to the DLS.

But it shouldn’t be assumed that the abuse is limited to these rotten apples.

There were many more DLS abusers noted on this blog and elsewhere.   

My concern – and I believe the concern of others – is that there could be a damage limitation exercise to just deal with those criminals as ‘scapegoats’  in Ipswich alone and then claim the matter is dealt with.

That won’t work.

It’s far more wide-ranging and systemic. And if there is a damage limitation exercise, it will only mean ANOTHER investigation LATER because I’m not giving up until the whole rotten orchard is exposed.

Another damage limitation technique is to claim that DLS corporal punishment was ‘normal’ for the times. That won’t work either. It was abnormal and any attempt to spin it away will result in an avalanche of anger from Survivors. See for example, this post with Old Boys’ views about corporal punishment:

https://wordpress.com/post/patmills.wordpress.com/1481

I realize the investigation has to be realistic and set some boundaries. Nevertheless, the DLS is a multi-million pound organization and owes it to survivors to look into these matters properly and comprehensively.

It’s also worth noting that the four abusers detailed on this blog were clumsy criminals. They made mistakes and that’s why they’ve been discovered.

Brother James was a psychopath; he couldn’t control his behaviour. Father Jolly forgot to retrieve the tape recorder he left in the confessional. Brother Solomon and Brother Kevin were such insatiable paedophiles, abusing countless children, and they could not suppress their criminal lust. 

(I have seen evidence that Kevin and Solomon were still in close contact in the 1990s after they had both left the DLS when Solomon was clearly as predatory as ever.)

By comparison, most paedophiles are smarter and better at hiding their tracks.   See the section on DLS Lay teachers.

GEOGRAPHICAL LIMITS OF  DLS SYSTEMIC ABUSE

It would be wrong to investigate Ipswich DLS alone. Two other DLS schools at least are intimately connected with St J’s Ipswich.

As previous evidence has indicated, London Beulah Hill DLS was probably far worse that St J’s. Ipswich.

St Peter’s Bournemouth DLS was also a major concern – not least because it was the start of an escape route for abuser Brothers to flee to France if the police were closing in on them.

London was also where the private hospital was located where DLS victims were treated. Did these young victims, under the aegis of the Knights of St Columba,  come from DLS schools all over the country? 

It should be possible for an investigator to discover by looking at the hospital records.

So where to draw the line?  At just those three schools? An ex De La Salle Brother had this to say:

‘maybe it would have been better if the (DLS) schools in London, Portsmouth, Ipswich Bournemouth, Jersey, Liverpool, St Helen’s, Manchester had never been built.’

In my opinion, ALL DLS schools should be investigated in order to confirm or reject that systemic abuse took place across the whole of the UK and not limited to just Southern England.

Most of the Old Boys at other DLS schools are unaware of  this site, but that is changing and more evidence and testimonies are likely to be forthcoming.

These are just some of the examples I’m aware of:

OTHER DLS SCHOOLS

1)London DLS Blackheath. One survivor had previously complained to the DLS at Oxford about inappropriate violence at the school and was fobbed off by the DLS brother in charge.  

 I believe this survivor has now passed his testimony to SCOE  : Catholic Safeguarding responsible for religious organizations. This is separate to DLS Safeguarding.  (I will look at the confusing nature of  these twin overlapping safeguarding organizations in my next post)

2)Liverpool DLS  https://wordpress.com/post/patmills.wordpress.com/1220

This is a testimony from the 1980s: ‘ i too went to a De La Salle school in Liverpool although it was not a boarding school there were Brothers, of worst sort you could imagine. They were brutal sadistic pedophiles in which one of them was convicted twice of sexual assault named brother Paul.’

3) St  Gilberts  DLS school. A Survivor of this school has informed me when DLS teachers served their sentences for crimes they committed there, they were then sent to another DLS school in Scotland. If correct, this is evidence of systemic abuse.

4) St Ninian’s. See next section item 3 below.

OTHER DE LA SALLE BROTHERS AS SYSTEMIC ABUSERS – THE EVIDENCE

1. Brother Elwin was the headmaster at St J’s Ipswich, mid 1960s, when there was a major cover-up of Brother J’s psychotic sexual violence. As the account describes,’ there was Brother Elwin naked on his bed with a naked kid of only about 12 sitting on his stomach.’ https://wordpress.com/post/patmills.wordpress.com/1029

This testimony has been on my site since March 2020!  So the DLS and SCOE will be aware of it. Yet no one has been in touch to respond or ask to contact the Survivor.  This is a DLS headmaster.

Ignoring this account alone for over a year amounts to systemic abuse by the DLS today.

Apart from the account above, Brother Hugh is also referenced here:

‘Brother Hugh. Actually I am slightly worried that I might be misremembering events because I have seen no reference to him as an abuser but when I was in the 3rd or 4th form he was in charge of our dormitory, and at night regularly positioned himself in a chair next to one particular bed after lights out and abused it’s occupant. One of the boys with a quick wit came up with a re-working of the tune to Dad’s Army which parodied this activity. Was Brother Hugh’s surname Leyland?’

2.Brother Leo. Headmaster St J’s Ipswich. 1960s. Three testimonies on my site of his sexual abuse. He was known as a ‘nocturnal groper’. Here’s the testimony by DN in the comments section of my post  ‘In the La Sallian Tradition 3’:

‘Normally we would fall asleep quickly being 13 or 14 but that night I stayed awake watching Bro.Leo (headmaster at the time) who opened the door to leave but then closed it and stayed still in the corner until he thought we were asleep. I assumed he would walk to the other boy’s bed but instead he came to mine and molested me. Only when I rolled over a couple of times did he stop. The next day I went with the other boy to father Jolly and told him the story. He told us to stay at his house while he went on his own to the Headmaster. Later he came back to say the HM denied it but for our information he was leaving at the end of the term for other reasons!! Father Jolly then took us to the HM’s study and we had to relate the story to his face. He denied it and we left. That was the last I heard of the matter.’’

Once again, Father Jolly is centre-stage in these DLS systemic abuse cover-ups.

3. Joe Homan when he was a DLS Brother at Oakhill. Late 50s approx.There are several accounts of his extreme violence to children on this site. I also have a  testimony of Homan’s serious sexual assault on a pupil at Oak Hill.  I can facilitate that Survivor contacting an Investigator.

This interview below relates to Homan after he left the order:

Recent interview on ABC TV in Australia has some horrible stuff about Homan (about 10 minutes in): http://www.abc.net.au/news/programs/one-plus-one/2018-06-28/one-plus-one:-michael-robotham/9920588

Nevertheless it strengthens the case that Homan should be investigated for his conduct when he was a De La Salle Brother.  It confirms his extreme violence.

4) St Ninians DLS. Brother Thadeus & Brother Benedict.

https://wordpress.com/post/patmills.wordpress.com/1379

The DLS headmaster brother Thadeus ‘set up an elaborate scheme where another boy on promise of release said he did it.’ So Brother Benedict putting a child’s hand in a vice was blamed on another child.

Despite the very recent conviction of Brother Benedict, the systemic abuse involving the headmaster Brother Thadeus does not appear to be addressed and there is no personal apology to the Survivor. Why not?

This all looks to me like a continuation of systemic abuse by the DLS today.

5) This is the view of an ex De La Salle brother about abusers in his order:

‘In my opinion, the biggest disgrace is the cover up with regard to the individuals (albeit a minority) of abusers. Men like this tend to be quite cunning and the rest of us in the rank and file did not know what was going on, beyond a sense of unease, which we were too reticent to share with outside agencies or with the ecclesial authorities at higher levels.’

When systemic abuse is present, it makes reporting abuse difficult and that is  what happened here. Everyone kept quiet. It’s hardly surprising when DLS headmasters like Brothers Leo, Thadeus and Elwin (see above) are sexually abusing children and/or are part of an elaborate criminal cover-up.

LAY TEACHER ABUSERS HIRED BY DE LA SALLES – THE EVIDENCE

Lay teachers were hired by the DLS and are thus their responsibility.  This is confirmed by the DLS acknowledging they are currently looking into lay teacher Mike Mercado.

DLS lay teachers therefore need investigating as well as DLS brothers.   Especially the cover-ups,

At least as many abusive DLS  lay teachers have been mentioned on this site as DLS brothers.  But – generally – they are mentioned briefly in passing and there is less secondary confirmation from Old Boys. Based on my own experiences with DLS lay teachers in the 1960s, I’d say this is because lay teachers were so much better at covering their tracks than abusive DLS monks.

This is not a comprehensive over-view of lay teacher abusers below.

If I’ve missed anyone important, do say and I will add them.  Two lay DLS teachers are excluded from the names below for legal reasons.

1)

ABUSIVE DLS LAY TEACHERS IN THE 1960s.

I’m still collecting evidence on two other abusive DLS lay teachers in this period.  I’ve spent a fortune on therapy over the years and the biggest percentage is  processing my encounters with these two individuals, more so than Brother James and Father Jolly. It’s still a work in progress but what I can say just now is my encounters with these two teachers is once again evidence of DLS systemic abuse.

2)

ABUSIVE DLS LAY TEACHERS IN THE 1970S.

I understand from an Old Boy there are abuse issues relating to at least one lay teacher from this era.  This, too, is a work in progress for the Survivor.

There’s also this testimony from another Old Boy:

‘I was at St Joe’s for many years. I remember them , Bros Cecil, James, Hugh, Damien, Owen, Gerard, Soloman, Denis Robert, Gregory, Benet, Cuthman, Peter, Terrence and others. They seemed all to have some sort of attitude or psychological problem or were perverts. Having spoken to others over the years about this it does seem that all the Del a Salle Schools and Catholic Schools were all the same. I am quite sure all the stories are pretty much true. The film Catholic Boys captures it pretty well. I’m in contact with a number of people from the 60s and early 70s from St Joe’s, I think some have tried to give details to the police. Interestingly and rather oddly one of the number listed above is still around and his partner (female) works for the police in relation to child abuse. Talk about poacher turned game-keeper! He waxes lyrical now about abuse saying ‘it only takes good men to do nothing etc etc’. He knew what was going on when he was at St Joe’s and did nothing. The pious hypocrite.’

3)

ABUSIVE DLS LAY TEACHERS IN THE 1980s.

(Mercado has been covered previously.)

Two abusive PE staff and another lay teacher were mentioned to me in a recent email from an Old Boy. He has contacted Ipswich police.

There is another testimony regarding a further lay teacher:

TONY HARDY. Lay teacher St J’s Ipswich. Era 1986 – 1990. Sexual and physical violence.  One testimony in comments – see: CS commented on ROLL OF DISHONOUR:

I attended St Joseph’s College from 86 – 90. I was at the school when David Hennesy became headmaster, he was a very relaxed guy and I liked him a lot. After our GCSE’s a few of us got our ears pierced – stupid, but hey we were crazy teenagers. We were in Birkfield house, Tony Hardy was the housemaster. He was a well known drinker and had a ferocious temper. After being told to take our ear rings out which we ignored as we were so close to school holidays we thought nothing more of it. One night Hardy had been out at a BBQ and came back after lights out, he pulled me and the other lads who had pierced their ears out of bed and made us stand in the corners of his living room. We were made to stand there when he went on a screaming rampage around the house. He came back to his quarters where we were all waiting frankly sh*tting ourselves. One by one he called each of the lads into his bedroom where he gave them all slippers. He then made me stand in a cupboard which he locked me in and then again went on another rampage around the house, when he came back hen made me stand in his bedroom drop my pyjama bottoms and then took a cat-o-nine tails out of his draw. He lashed me about 10 – 12 times with it till I was bleeding. The next morning when in the showers the other lads saw the state of what had happened to me and they took me to see Mr Hennesy, when we explained what happened he sent us to his cottage on the grounds and Hardy was got rid of that day. My parents were dealt with by the school’s solicitors and unbelievably agreed that as long as he never taught there again, wouldn’t involve the Police.

This is a cover-up by the DLS in the late 80s.

Harding may still be alive. If so, that makes this testimony especially important.

I will now  look at what the next step is on DLS abuse investigation. How does the investigation proceed?  How can we Survivors help? Who do we  get in touch with?  My next post.

Named and shamed

See Katie’s comment on my post, Charity begins at home?, below. So much for that glowing obituary in The Guardian by St Joseph’s old boy Chris Mullin. Do we really want to live in bullshit land where creeps like Homan are honoured TODAY (!!) as near-saints? I don’t. Watching this excerpt from an ABC TV interview (at 10.48) about the ex-De La Salle Brother made me feel sick. Very upsetting.

I have it on very good authority that the notorious and proven paedophile Mike Mercado/Brother Solomon used to visit Homan’s Boys Town. A supposedly wonderful place for boys.

It is not just the journalist/writer on the TV interview who makes these allegations about Homan: it cross-references with other accounts I’ve read. And there were so many other DLS brothers who were like him, as survivors have recorded on this site, which makes the DLSB an organisation which should be outlawed, in my book.

‘In the La Sallian Tradition’ is a most inappropriate term to describe St Joseph’s today, because it connects the school with such truly vile people.

So many people want to pretend none of this ever happened, or it’s all in the past so we should forget about it, and that’s how these evil filth get away with it. And continue to do so.

I wonder if The Guardian would be interested in the truth about Homan? I doubt it.

The homes and charity are STILL named after Homan!

Thanks, Katie, for your most valuable post:

KATIE PURVIS

Recent interview on ABC TV in Australia has some horrible stuff about Homan (about 10 minutes in): http://www.abc.net.au/news/programs/one-plus-one/2018-06-28/one-plus-one:-michael-robotham/9920588

 

Charity begins at home?

Old Boy Chris Mullin – one of my all-time favourite authors, the author of A Very British Coup – wrote an obituary on Joe Homan, the founder of Boys Town:

Joe Homan founder of a network of villages for poor and destitute children in southern India

Homan was educated at St Joseph’s, Ipswich, and taught there later.

I’ve read several old boys accounts of Homan’s conduct at St Joseph’s. They cross-reference with each other and I believe them to be true. They’re disturbing, and seem to confirm the articles below.

The first article, The Queen of Bubble Bath, is by journalist Jon Entine and was published in Brazzil Magazine (date unknown: the date quoted is clearly incorrect). There are other related articles on Entine’s website. It is a critique of the green and fair trade credentials  of Body Shop founder Anita Roddick. Here’s an extract:

In 1987, Roddick began sourcing foot massagers, which she calls “footsie rollers”, made in India at the Boys Town orphanage. In the early 1980s, when Richard Adams was head of the fair trade company Traidcraft (UK), he sourced a different Boys Town product, wood carvings. He soon discovered that Joe Homan, the project’s director, was sourcing the carvings from sweat shops and was molesting the boys. He kept the police at bay by using a slush fund kept full by church agencies that were innocently sending him money.

When Adams found out that the Roddicks had linked up with Homan, he was horrified. He immediately advised them of the problem. “I never heard back,” he says. Two alarmed members of the Catholic order which had kicked out Homan years before also visited Roddicks at their home. Still, nothing was done.

“Gordon was aware of Homan’s reputation,” writes Anne Downer, the former Body Shop head franchisee in Singapore, in a signed, legal affidavit. At the Roddicks invitation, Downer had accompanied the family in India for the dedication of Boys Town. “I slept in accommodations close to where some of the boys lived,” writes Downer. “I was approached by one of the assistants to the project. He informed me about Homan’s behavior and the sexual molestation. He was concerned and extremely anxious that I inform Gordon and Anita.

I remember Gordon saying: “We’ve heard those rumors, but I don’t believe it.” Downer continues: “He didn’t seem unduly concerned and didn’t seem to take it seriously.”

Over the next few years, as Homan went about stealing charity funds and buggering orphan boys, the Roddicks sent out glowing reports to their franchisees. One idyllic account in 1989 reads: “Joe’s work in Boys Town is ceaseless; he cares for the boys and girls and they really appreciate what he is doing for them.” The roof caved in the next year when the story broke in the English and Indian press. The Roddicks first tried to suppress the story and then tried to turn it into a public relations advantage. “This story has not hit the.press yet, but could erupt at any time,” read one memo to employees and franchisees. “It is important that you know your facts. Anita….blew the whistle on Joe.”

The second article is by James Heartfield in 2007: Anita Roddick: prophet of Green Capitalism

This is the relevant piece:

 …foot massagers were made in the Boys Town orphanage in sweat shop conditions while gang leader Joe Homan sexually molested the children (‘Joe’s work in Boys Town is ceaseless; he cares for the boys and girls and they really appreciate what he is doing for them’, said the label);

These allegations have definitely been challenged. For example, there’s this response to it:

Margaret Cianni27 September 2017 at 03:26

This is completely untrue and was proved through the courts of UK. Maybe you feel that the boys worked for little but I am adamant that there was no sexual abuse.

However, a quick internet search revealed that Margaret Cianni is in fact one of Joe Homan’s 12 siblings, so of course she would vouch for him.

I can find nothing online to follow up on this one way or another. I find that a little strange. It’s like most articles relating to this important story have been deleted. Even if a court action was won, it seems odd – Kafkaesque even – that a court victory was not reported on.

However, the authoritative Sunday Times had this to say back in 1995:

Caring Capitalism

The relevant piece:

High among the issues that Body Shop has faced is the controversy surrounding a former Christian Brother who ran the Boys’ Town orphanage in India. Body Shop used to buy “footsie roller” foot massagers from Boys’ Town. It was its first Third World “trade not aid” scheme.

After adverse press reports about Boys’ Town in 1990, Body Shop pulled out. It then resuscitated the “trade not aid” venture at a new facility, Teddy Exports, which employed local teenagers, setting up a hospital and school. But recently dozens of Boys’ Town thugs crossed the road to Teddy Exports. Eleven workers were knifed, two seriously. The woman who ran the project is now home in Ireland, afraid to return. Steve Mitchell, who owns four Body Shop franchises and has worked on both projects, says: “It’s a complete mess. Nobody knows what will happen. This is probably its death knell.”

Boys’ Town has been a long-running problem for the company. Richard Adams, the founder of Traidcraft and director of two “Out of This World” sustainable markets, remembers when he first saw leaflets about Boys’ Town at Body Shop’s stores in 1987. “I was shocked,” he says.

As a Traidcraft director, Adams had carried a different Boys’ Town product, wood carvings. After receiving poor-quality goods, he sent a manager to investigate. He was stunned by the news. “The project’s then director was sourcing carvings from child-labour sweatshops,” he recalls.

When Adams found out about Body Shop’s Boys’ Town link, he wrote to the Roddicks. “I never heard back,” he says. Over the next few years glowing reports went to franchisees about Boys’ Town. “We have the power to change people’s lives for the better,” Roddick wrote.

I have no way of knowing what the final outcome was. If anyone knows more, I’ll happily post it. Certainly The Sunday Times took it seriously. Homan’s behaviour in India – if these accounts are untrue – may well have been very different to the serious allegations I’ve read about him from old boys in the UK.

Chris Mullin is a patron of the Joe Homan Charity, which is the principal funder of the Boys Town Society, and I see its website continues to portray its founder in a very positive light.

Two things made me feel I really must post something about this. Firstly, I understand the notorious predator Brother Solomon paid a visit to Boys Town when he ‘went to work in the missions’.

Secondly, I read a recent article about a similar, modern day organisation, ‘Street Kids International.’

FORMER SENIOR UNITED NATIONS OFFICIAL FACING PEDOPHILIA CHARGES IN NEPAL

It would seem that missionary work abroad with vulnerable kids does create obvious opportunities for criminal abuse by what we all hope is a minority of sick individuals. The reassuring ‘one rotten apple’ premise.

When it does occur, I feel there’s also the sense that in the developing world, ‘these things go on, unfortunately.’ It’s other. It’s ‘somewhere else.’

However, I also believe, based on my own recollections of my Catholic childhood and as a St Joseph’s old boy, that similar alleged behaviour, under the guise of charity and helping vulnerable children, also happened in the UK.

Of course I’m aware that there are plenty of media accounts of organised abuse in the UK that would easily bear this out, but this is a personal perspective.

From my own childhood recollections and my investigations into Catholic individuals in positions of authority at that time, I’d say there were a lot of rotten apples in that barrel back in Ipswich in the 1960s, that it was organised and endemic, and it had some similarities to these alleged crimes in the missions.

It was like the same ‘template’ was being used by abusers: offer education and advancement to the poor; but at a price.

Of course, as an old boy, if your dad was a fireman, a cop, an accountant, a war hero, a merchant, or whatever, you’re possibly going to say, ‘I have no idea what Pat’s talking about. I don’t remember anything remotely like that happening. I doubt very much it could have happened. In particular, organised abuse could never have happened.’

Lucky for you – because these cowardly predators would leave you alone for fear of physical or legal retribution. They only go for kids at risk, who don’t have a dad or a strong parent to protect them.

There are already on this site a considerable number of accounts of individual abuse, mainly at St J’s. Shocking as they are, they still – just about – fit the reassuring, ‘it was only one rotten apple’ scenario.

Even though, in themselves, they are still a damning indictment, a cause for concern, and surely require a response and an acknowledgement from the De La Salle Brothers that such crimes took place.

In my view, and from my research, they are the tip of the iceberg.

My research is still ongoing but I hope to update more on all this in due course.

If anyone has any knowledge or insights into organised Catholic abuse in Ipswich in my era, I’d love to hear from you.

Needless to say, it can be private and confidential, if you prefer. Thanks.