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According to the latest Vatican information it now seems possible that the Knights of St Columba Ipswich could be investigated. Because I believe all Knights are recognised by the Holy See.
Here’s the link:, dated March 25 this year:
The relevant text from it is as follows:
Pope Francis promulgates revised ‘Vos estis’ – Here’s what changed
The revised policy makes permanent the norms introduced experimentally by Pope Francis in 2019, while broadening the scope of the law to include investigations of lay leaders in international associations of the faithful.
One significant change to the text of Vos estis lux mundi is the inclusion of lay leaders of international associations recognized by the Holy See, who might now be investigated either for perpetrating abuse themselves, or for failing to investigate or address allegations of abuse or misconduct made in the context of their communities.
The move was likely influenced by revelations which emerged in recent years concerning the spiritual and sexual abuse of prominent Catholic layman Jean Vanier, founder of the international L’Arche community, who died in 2019. While the new norms would not have actually impacted the allegations against Vanier himself, because L’Arche is not recognized as an association by the Holy See, it would apply to other founders of international apostolates, movements, or spiritual associations accused of abuse.
The revised text of Vos estis lux mundi clarifies that investigations of lay leaders will be undertaken under the aegis of the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life, which is given legal competence to oversee them.
The text does not make clear how lay leaders might be punished for sexual abuse if the allegations arise after their terms have expired. While clerics can face the penalty of laicization, it is not clear what meaningful sanction might be imposed on a layperson.
Pat’s comment on the above:
Surely the obvious sanction for criminal abuse or concealing or ignoring criminal abuse is court action and penalties according to the law of the land? Or is this another case where Canon Law takes priority?
Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life ? Another Safeguarding organization?
It does add to the current lack of clarity about Safeguarding which I barely understand, and I’m sure is very confusing to others.
Perhaps this Dicastery is not relevant, but it sounds tailor-made to fill a current gap in Safeguarding.
Or does Laity abuse fall under the aegis of the CSSA or the RLSS ? The RLSS because Laity was abusing in collusion with a religious order as I’ve exampled in so many past posts
Currently neither the CSSA or the RLSS (and their predecessor the SCOE) have taken responsibility for looking at these crimes of the Laity which I’ve told them fall within or overlap both their remits
Perhaps the RLSS and the CSSA can explain or pass on my past concerns to the Dicastery.
I would also point out to the Dicastery that the CSSA did not respond to my concerns about Solidarities which may also fall within their Laity remit.
Perhaps the CSSA will pass on my previous post on that subject
For due diligence, the RLSS, the CSSA and the Dicastery have now been informed via a copy of this post
And I would repeat for the Dicastery the summary of my numerous past posts – namely:
The Knights of St Columba Ipswich Province were involved in serious ‘historic’ organised child sex abuse crimes. That female Catholic Laity were also involved. And the De La Salles were in collusion with the Knights. That there are current concerns about the Knights not having DBS checks and that the Colchester Knights ensured that recent serious sexual abuse offences by one of their Knights did not reach the national media. It’s possible Colchester children may still be at risk as there appears to have been no audit after the trial and guilty verdict of the Knight abuser.
All this I’ve gone into in exhaustive detail in past posts.
The Knights are aware of my allegations which can be found on endless Google posts, but they have not officially responded.
Stephen Ashley, CEO of the CSSA, has admitted to me that the Laity has been overlooked thus far. Now it looks like more Catholic Laity escape scrutiny.
The Laity – in the form of Knights of St Columba – was/is intimately connected with the De La Salles. And a Colchester Knight’s current and horrifying abuse of children was provably concealed from the national press. So his fellow Knights really need auditing to ensure he acted alone.
They haven’t been.
The CEO’s response was rather relaxed to this real and present danger to children. He said:
I agree with you over this issue around abuse by the laity does seem to be largely ignored and certainly has given me some pause for thought. I think that in our future audit and review processes we need to give this more consideration.
How do the Laity get away with it? Well, the Knights organized a cover-up of priest abuse (one insider source), as well as De La Salles abuse (a second insider source). And I’m sure it’s widespread, so I guess the Church owes the Knights for their protection.
I believe that’s why they’re off limits to the CSSA.
But it’s not just the Knights of St Columba and similar organisations who are let loose on children with no audits and no DBS checks.
An insider has just advised me:
‘Those confraternities, sodalities, orders to venerate saints and so on obviously are significant financially plus many of them are international and so offer support systems to people who relocate from one jurisdiction to another, but they haven’t featured in audits of how the Church has handled concerns and allegations about abuse.’
So children are at risk from these organizations, apart from the fact they are also mentally abusing kids. I looked one sodality up and was horrified to see its current ‘humility’ message to girls. My wife Lisa described it as ‘toxic, sinister and intrusive.’
Another female source noted the Virgin Mary ‘meekness and subservience’ role model promoted by such sodalities was problematic. ‘It creates a lot of repressed anger and aggression that gets taken out on children and other women who don’t fit the mould.’
I know that from first hand as a kid.
It’s this female Catholic obsession with obedience (‘humility’) and purity that led to my being abused by intelligent and sophisticated Catholic women – probably from a similar sodality and/or the Catholic Women’s League – obsessed with a neurotic hatred of the body and sexuality.
Such women don’t just screw up girls, they needed to work out their perverted, Church-approved neuroses on boys in the form of criminal aversion therapy I’ve described previously.
So it’s alarming to think that similar Catholic women – with an identical dangerous mindset and identical language I remember from my childhood – are still unleashed on today’s children.
Someone needs to monitor these individuals and thus far they seem to have slipped under the radar, just like the Knights of St Columba.
I know from first hand experience the unpaid diocese safeguarders are a joke, and they don’t care what abusive poison the sodalities inject into children’s minds as their brainwashing has been approved by the Church. So it’s okay. In fact, many diocese safeguarders could well be members.
But I suspect these sodalities – who have the authority to teach children Catholic ‘values’ – have also not had DBS checks and they clearly have not been audited.
In short, the entire Catholic Laity can currently do what they like to children with no audits, no supervision, and no dbs checks, to prevent current sexual assaults.
Never mind their mental assaults on children’s minds – which are intimately connected, the one leading to the other – and which the CSSA will say is none of their business.
I can assure the CEO of CSSA that one day soon this is going to come out and his lack of action – when children are in danger now – within his remit – is noted and will be added to the charges against the Church and Safeguarding.
I was prompted by a recent letter from a St Joseph’s Old Boy to take another look at Catholic Knights and their Dirty Money, specifically the Ipswich province of the Knights of St Columba.
The Old Boy advised me:
I was at St Joseph’s in Ipswich from 12 to 16, funded by the church to then go on to a minor seminary to train to become a priest.
The mysterious phrase ‘The Church’ is often used to explain funding. No one seems to know how that actually works in practice and I doubt the Old Boy in question knew. When I asked my aunt, she said the same thing to me: ‘The Church paid your school fees.’ When I asked what that meant and why the Church would do that, she didn’t know and quickly changed the subject. But I know the answer now. In Ipswich ‘the Church’ was the Knights of St Columba and they were the writers of the cheques. This is proved by my own recollections and those of another Survivor whose testimony has been previously covered on this site. Elsewhere, it might be the Catenians, Catholic Women’s League and so forth.
The source of the Knights’ money I would assume comes from a number of sources: fund raising, donations by wealthy Knights, and, I would guess, a significant allocation from the diocese itself. So it can rightly be called the Church’s money.
The diocese would need considerable confidence in these Knights to leave them to manage their affairs. It’s a confidence that would be misplaced were the diocese not equally culpable for the actions I’m about to relate.
It’s what that money is spent on by the Knights that is relevant both in the past and today. And that’s what makes it dirty money.
1)Paying St Joseph’s school fees for children to go on to be priests as in the example above. As I know from my own experience, it can bring strong psychological pressure on a child to fulfill the demands and agendas of adults, but I would assume that did not apply in the case above.
2) Paying St Joseph’s school fees as a reward for silence on a serious sexual assault by De La Salle Brother James Ryan.
I’ve related the details previously. That account, by another Old Boy, proves the Knights of St Columba were guilty of corruption and covering up a violent paedophile crime.
And not for the first time.
Something similar also happened to me.
3)Paying St Joseph’s school fees for my brother and I for a total of nine years.
For two of those nine years the fees were paid by the Knights to prepare me for the priesthood. They intended to send me to that same junior seminary at age 15. It was also to silence me. Instead, I bailed.
But that still leaves seven years unaccounted for. What possible reason would the Knights pay two boys’ school fees for seven years? My explanation is below. If you, or a Knight reading this, can shed any further or alternative light, I’d love to hear from you.
But I believe there’s more than enough evidence to back my explanation.
THE KNIGHTS’ MOTIVES
All organizations need to recruit for their next generation and that’s particularly true for the Knights.
My family consisted of my devout Irish Catholic widowed mother and her two sons. She had great aspirations for her sons but no financial resources, no job and serious mental health problems. The Church was her whole life and could do no wrong.
There is no way she could afford to send her children to an expensive grammar school for seven years.
Her vulnerability made my brother and I a prime target for the Knights, under their benign guise of caring for and taking a special, charitable interest in widows and children.
We were perfect assets for the Knights.
In effect, my mother abdicated her authority and passed it over to these ‘protectors of children’. I doubt there were other recruiting opportunities quite this good.
Also, a paternity DNA test I took recently strongly indicates that a Knight was probably my biological father, rather than my legal father. Bearing this out, the Knights also acted ‘in loco parentis’ assuming a paternal role over me which – because they were sick abusers – I rejected.
But, even without that DNA connection, I think the Knights had enough incentive.
So what did recruiting involve? Today we would call it grooming and the form it took varied amongst the four to seven Knights involved over my childhood. Some were pleasant, some were aggressive and one was life threatening.
So my brother was given a brand new bike by a Knight who was also a Catholic priest (Canon Burrows). I was similarly given a brand new bike to silence me about abuse by Brother James.
I was present at several of their misogynistic ceremonies which were closer to a rugby club night or a frat initiation than Eyes Wide Shut. They seemed designed to be rites of passage experiences, presumably conditioning me to be a future Knight. Pedophilia was an important element at these events.
I assume pedophilia was part of some twisted bonding process and also the price for admission. At the same time, they were instilling conservative Catholic values in me. It’s a contradiction in behavior that’s commonplace in the Catholic religion.
So, in summary, the Knights of St Columba (aka ‘The Church’) used their money, power and psycho-coercion to recruit children to the priesthood, to buy the silence of victims, and to corrupt, sexually abuse and recruit future members.
THE KNIGHTS TODAY
If even half of what I’m alleging is correct, these individuals and their successors should never be allowed near children. Because the Knights are provably transgenerational.
Consider the following:
In 2016, in Colchester, Ronald Smith, a Knight of St Columba, was found guilty of sexual abuse crimes on eight children, some under ten years old, carried out while he was taking advantage of his position as a Knight, ‘organizing parish family events’. He was given a 19 – 25 years prison sentence: https://www.gazette-news.co.uk/news/14650497.churchgoer-finally-jailed-after-40-years-of-child-abuse/ That’s an incredibly long sentence, yet, astonishingly, the story never made the national press. The Knights killed it. So no one knew Smith was already a convicted sex offender in 1973. Or that there were three reports to the police about him since 1973 which were never acted upon.
I also know from an insider and from the Ronald Smith case that some Knights, at least, have not had DBS checks. Otherwise Smith would never have been allowed near children. Yet they have sworn an oath to ‘develop young people in their journey of faith’.
Catholic Safeguarding were not interested when I brought this current danger to children to their attention numerous times.
There are two Catholic safeguarding organizations and both are relevant. The CSSA which are mainly part timers and are only interested in current cases, no more than two years old, and auditing unpaid diocesan safeguarders. They supposedly investigate but I know from personal experience they don’t. They simply dump cases on the police. The CSSA replaced COPCA
And there’s the RLSS – hired by religious orders, like the De La Salles, to protect them from Survivors. It’s meant to be a sub-division of the CSSA, but it seems autonomous and the CSSA have never shown any interest in religious orders abuse. The RLSS has some supposed investigative powers and recently replaced the SCOE. Why the SCOE became mysteriously defunct has never been explained. Important records from the SCOE where the DLS were concerned were never passed onto their successors the RLSS. Instead, I had to brief the RLSS. The DLS didn’t seem able to or chose not to help, even though they were central to the issues and had all the information.
Then there are the De La Salles own safeguarding officers who only speak to the press when they are cornered after many phone calls.
There is also a different Catholic Safeguarding set-up for Scotland.
If you’re wondering about the confusing and frequently changing names, you are right to be concerned. It’s an ingenious technique used by the Church as noted here:
I suspect in a few years, as Catholic scandals grow as usual, the CSSA and RLSS will mysteriously become defunct and be replaced by ‘dynamic new organisations’ to reassure the Catholic faithful that something is being done, even though it’s not.
So the situation is now worse than before IICSA.
Consider the laconic response of the CEO of the CSSA to my concerns about the Knights:
I agree with you over this issue around abuse by the laity does seem to be largely ignored and certainly has given me some pause for thought. I think that in our future audit and review processes we need to give this more consideration.
He seems quite relaxed about it, doesn’t he? He didn’t know about it before? Until I told him? It took me about two years to confirm – with hard evidence – that the Catholic laity was involved in organized sexual abuse. Yet safeguarders have access to far more information on this subject than myself and they don’t know?! And they don’t want to consider the past to identify the pattern of a Catholic laity pedophile ring as run by the Knights?
Whatever else you may agree or disagree with my analysis, I think you’d have to recognize all this shows a shocking lack of transparency. This is classic Catholic ‘smoke and mirrors’ at its worst.
Both the heads of the CSSA and RLSS are ex-cops but I do not find that impressive or reassuring, despite their protestations that this surely proves their sincere characters and their supposed value to Survivors. In practice, both are provably useless but some Survivors have drawn a more sinister conclusion. Namely that their policing skills are being used to effectively block the truth getting out.
Given the way the Knights have behaved (and there’s much more to relate on these gentlemen) I think anything is possible.
But the RLSS have a responsibility to look at the connection between the abuser Knights and their paymasters the De La Salles.
As a survivor of this joint abuse by Knights and De La Salles, I have a right to know when their criminal relationship ended. If it did.
It’s there on the long list of things the RLSS have done absolutely nothing about, despite their promises to the contrary.
An ex-FBI agent said that if you found paedophiles in an organisation and it didn’t deal with them then it was effectively a paedophile network.
The RLSS has not dealt with the issue it was supposedly set up for. The RLSS have admitted to me that their paymasters, the De La Salles, have the final say and their hands are tied and this is confirmed by the RLSS broken promises.
In my view this amounts to worse than negligence.
Fortunately, this site is read by national journalists and the leader of at least one most relevant organization. So the head of the RLSS might want to reflect on this and how he will eventually be called upon to explain his actions.
Or his lack of action.
Hopefully before the next enquiry and before he’s had a chance to escape responsibility for his betrayal of De La Salle Survivors.
I have many happy memories of St Pancras Church in Ipswich (Saint Pancras is the patron saint of children). It was my local church until I was ten (1959) when we moved to Chantry Estate and Saint Marks.
I was an altar boy, a proud member of the Guild of St Stephen and was thrilled when my red lanyard was replaced with a black one. And my red cassock replaced with a black cassock. Even if older altar boys called themselves ‘The Rhubarb Club’ (after the Goon Show), I had no such cynicism, nothing could match the excitement of carrying a lit torch or the incense ‘boat’ or swinging the thurifer.
The old Georgian presbytery next to the church was a most enthralling building. In the cellars it had a smuggler’s tunnel leading to the nearby River Orwell. The first tunnel section could still be explored, but then it was blocked off, to my great disappointment. It was such a shame the presbytery was knocked down and replaced with a faux Georgian building.
The priests Canon Burrows and his curate Father Wace were very warm and friendly. Canon Burrows was always round our house in Stoke, dressed in his boiler suit, doing handyman jobs for my mother. Father Wace presented me with a copy of ‘A Little Hero’ by Mrs Musgrave which had a cover of a boy wearing a school uniform remarkably like a St Joseph’s College blazer. He told me I would go there one day and he was right.
Father Wace was the Akela in charge of the cubs and I was always baffled why I was a cub for just one week. Then I stopped going and no-one would talk about the reason why. It seemed to be because I had told a friend of my mother’s about ‘something that happened at cubs’ and this friend had stern words with Father Wace.
The Catholic laity – the Legion of Mary; the Knights of St Columba and the Catholic Women’s League – were also an important part of my life. My mother was a vulnerable, devout Irish Catholic widow and these organisations did their best to help her. They introduced her to another Catholic widow, Mrs Czech, and her two daughters and we went on a pilgrimage to Walsingham together.
But writing about the laity at St Pancras is still difficult for me and this short article below by Doctor Philippa Martyr for The Catholic Weekly explains the reason why.
Doctor Martyr concludes:
‘This is the ugly underside of our local vibrant Catholic community. Covering-up goes on all the time, for all sorts of things – and yes, lay people enable it. We just haven’t been brave enough to face this about ourselves yet.’
But before coming back to the laity, I have to say there was also another side to both Canon Burrows and Father Wace which was a real shock to me when the memories came flooding back to me in mid-life.
My mother worked as a housekeeper at St Pancras presbytery. Her vulnerability meant her children were prime targets for clerical abusers.
Canon Burrows – a listed Knight of St Columba – was a sexual abuser. It took a lot of therapy for me to get my recollections of his behaviour out of my system. His particular technique was magic and conjuring tricks. ‘Now you see it, now you don’t.’ At age six, I wanted to be a magician like the Canon and spent all my pocket money on jokes.
Father Wace is not listed as a Knight, but, given his wealthy background, it seems likely he, too, was a member.
He also was a sexual abuser. My mother smiled at my thrilled expression when I saw Wace’s pyjamas casually thrown across his bed. Because his pyjama jacket was weighed down with maybe twenty fantastic metal collectors’ badges – which would make it impossible for him to sleep in. But they were really cool badges that any eight-year-old boy would do anything for.
MALE CATHOLIC LAITY AT ST PANCRAS
I’ve previously covered the Knights of St Columba on this site. There are statements from myself and other survivors that prove there was a ring of sexual abusers in the Ipswich Knights.
The Knights were also the Eminence Gris for the Church, which meant they controlled my school fees and they exacted a price in return. The similar Knights of Columbus describe themselves as ‘The strong right arm of the Catholic Church.’
The only thing relevant here is their use of psycho-coercive ‘double bind’ techniques. These are recorded in their theatrical ceremonies which I have previously featured on this site. Such ceremonies stopped – supposedly – in the late 60’s. Too late for me, unfortunately.
It’s relevant because female laity abusers used similar ‘double binds’.
A double bind is a dilemma in communication in which an individual receives two or more reciprocally conflicting messages. It’s a mind-twister and shows a deep knowledge of psychology and how to manipulate people.
When – or if – the Knights stopped abusing children I have no way of knowing and no one today cares. Catholic Safeguarding ignored a recent newspaper report of a Knight of St. Columba sentenced to a long prison sentence for child abuse. The Knight was provably not given a police check, which would have shown he had a previous conviction for child abuse.
FEMALE CATHOLIC LAITY AT ST PANCRAS
When I looked at all my bills for therapy, I was startled to see that a good 50% of my recent therapy – over the last three years – related to female Catholic laity at St Pancras.
And that it took emotional priority over male clerical abuse. You might conclude it’s because female abuse is a far greater betrayal to a child, but, actually, I think it’s because of the bizarre but very effective nature of the abuse.
I believe the women were members of the Catholic Women’s League: the female equivalent of the Knights of St Columba, and it’s acknowledged they work closely together to this day.
The CWL doesn’t list deceased members, but I’ll happily supply the five names of the female parishioners concerned for the CWL to check against their records. I would, of course, also need sight of those records. I’d say ‘Deceased Ipswich members 1956 through to the millennium.’
If I’m wrong, I will write a retraction.
If I’m correct, their names will be listed here as child abusers, alongside Burrows and Wace.
Some may have also been members of the Legion of Mary at St Pancras. My eight-year-old self didn’t fully understand the difference between the two organisations.
But I have focused on the CWL because the five women concerned were all middle-class high achievers, which seems to be the hallmark of this organisation. Two of them were spinsters. There is also the CWL’s close connection to the Knights who were provably abusers. But principally because one of the key female abusers was a close friend of the famous Barbara Ward, Baroness Jackson of Lodsworth – Wikipedia.
Barbara Ward went to St Mary’s Convent Grammar school in Ipswich (I went to the adjacent St Mary’s primary school). She then went on to be President of the Catholic Women’s League in the 1940s and introduced my abuser to her husband who was almost certainly a Knight. This was long before my time. And I’ve absolutely no reason to think Ward was an abuser.
But Ward shows just how intellectual, well-connected and powerful the Catholic Women’s League were when I had the misfortune to come across some of their members, including her close friend.
Exactly like the powerful Catholic laity described in the link above.
Although their abuse was as perverted as any abuse, it had a certain ‘logic’, which perhaps helped them with their justification for their obscene gratification.
I won’t go into graphic details here, but it was a physical form of aversion therapy (not like today’s conversion therapy as fair as I know), an attempt to thwart puberty using psycho-coercive double binds.
It would have had different names in the past, but various forms of aversion therapy – some quite barbaric – were commonplace from Victorian times through to the 1950s. It was still very scary.
Why did they do it?
Because of the abuse I suffered at the hands of Burrows and Wace, I was definitely ‘acting out’ as so many children do. For instance, I recall drawing and talking openly about what the priests did to me. So it may have been an attempt to physically put a stop to a child’s ‘play’.
But it actually feels rather more ambitious and organised. There were several of them involved, for instance. Even though I was earmarked for the priesthood from an early age (I was signed up for the seminary at age thirteen) I don’t believe that fully explains their behaviour.
It was certainly a ‘procedure’ they were used to.
However, it’s not my responsibility to understand their sick mindset. Or explain how it all worked in detail. I bear the psychological scars and that’s enough.
If your cognitive dissonance is kicking in at this point, and you find it hard to believe that respectable, middle-class Catholic women could behave in such a manner, let me tell you that in the same decade, a number of Dutch boys were castrated on the orders of the Catholic Church because they had shown gay tendencies. In the 1970s, on the orders of his British Catholic school, a young teenager was given hospital electric-shock treatment to similarly erase his gay character. There are other examples.
Aversion therapy seems designed to suppress, reduce or redirect a child’s sexuality. In practical terms, it limits your power over your own body. Instead, these women had control over my body. I’m pretty certain they saw their abuse as ‘holy work’. I’d love to tell you they failed miserably, but, annoyingly, its effects actually lasted until I was aged sixteen.
These fanatical women knew what they were doing.
If you’re a Catholic Safeguarder, or a member of the priesthood, the Knights or the CWL, you may well be thinking, with some relief, as you read this, ‘Ah. But it’s impossible for him to prove.’
Well, it’s true it’s hard to prove. Most survivors must have either accepted their programming, maybe they even thought it was good for them, or are too embarrassed or ashamed to talk about it.
The best proof I have is the fortune I spent on recent weekly therapy, over the last three years, deprogramming the abusive program these women had instilled into my psyche.
And also the evidence of my therapist who has previously given evidence to the Ipswich police. This resulted in an abusive Ipswich Catholic teacher recently being arrested.
So I wouldn’t be too relieved if I were you.
Needless to say, I would be delighted if the CWL decide to challenge my account.
I know Catholics practice secrecy from the Pope downwards, but this really needs to be brought out into the open.
You might suggest that Catholic Safeguarding could help me with this matter.
Not a chance, I’m afraid, so I should explain why.
You may believe Catholic Safeguarding are there to help past survivors and investigate past clerical and laity abuse
Catholic Safeguarding is actually in a terrible state today, the worst it’s ever been. And, in case you think that’s just my negative opinion, there is already media concern and research on this aspect.
The CEO of the CSSA (Catholic Safeguarding Standards Agency) admitted the following to me:
‘IICSA was obviously put in place with the intention of dealing with this but quite honestly I think they were overwhelmed and in the end they presented their final report and it is difficult to know what it all achieved.’
All IICSA’S recommendations (The Elliott report etc) have been ignored by the Church, even though the Bishops claimed otherwise.
As the Daily Telegraph reported: ‘Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse had previously concluded Cardinal Nichols was more concerned with protecting Church’s reputation.’
Today, the CSSA only deals with current issues up to two years old.
‘This of course leaves those that have been subject of abuse over two years ago have very little redress.’
The CEO confirmed my own experience that the police (Operation Hydrant) will only deal with cases where the abusers are still alive.
‘Our remit does not include an investigative branch. The process is that the diocese or religious life group (through the Religious Life Safeguarding Service (RLSS) investigate concerns when raised.’
So where St Pancras is concerned this means that the diocese will investigate.
I’ve been here before during Eileen Shearer’s COPCA era when I first raised Canon Burrows with the diocese. I learnt that Catholic Safeguarding diocese members are unpaid, they do nothing (e.g. they didn’t even look up records) they simply dump complaints onto the police, who can do nothing (see above). The diocese Safeguarders know this and – under the convenient excuse of ‘we have a mandatory reporting duty’ – they are wilfully and knowingly wasting valuable police time.
The diocese Safeguarding officer also reassured me personally everything would be ‘so much better’ with Shearer’s recent appointment because she was a protestant. So nothing would be covered up anymore.
I was briefly impressed.
Shearer resigned shortly afterwards.
But it’s worse. The investigating officer is from the diocese where the crime took place, so he or she is still part of that Catholic community: they will certainly know the organisations concerned at the very least, they may even be members of it, and they are thus not independent.
This has put off many survivors from reporting abuse and that’s no accident. It’s exactly what the Church intended.
Returning to the laity.
The CEO of the CSSA said to me:
‘I agree with you over this issue around abuse by the laity does seem to be largely ignored and certainly has given me some pause for thought.’
Most of my claims against the Catholic laity can be deemed historic (over two years old) and therefore will be ignored, which is, of course, outrageous as we survivors have to live our entire lives with the results of their crimes committed against us in childhood. But two cases are actually current and one relates to the East Anglian diocese. The other to an adjoining diocese.
In both cases there was a lack of police checks and thus vulnerable people and children may be in danger.
There was no response from the CSSA and Police Operation Hydrant when I raised this with them both.
THE LIKELY RESPONSE FROM ST PANCRAS, THE CWL AND THE KNIGHTS OF ST COLUMBA
From past experience with the Knights and the evidence presented about them on this site, I fully expect the parish priest of St Pancras today, the Catholic Women’s League and the Knights of St Columba to do nothing.
They don’t seem to see it as their duty to children past and present to look into this most serious matter.
They will prefer to keep their heads down and hope it will all go away.
Or at best, to write back to me with some dismissive hand-wringing, ‘We’re sorry what happened to you, but there’s nothing we can do. We have no records and thus no way of looking at your allegations.’
But in 2023 silence – or such a dismissive lack of interest – is not a good look.
Even if the Catholic insurance company has advised or even ordered them, ‘Say nothing. Admit nothing.’
(It’s sad when a Christian religion is controlled by an insurance company.)
Today, not responding to hard evidence of abuse means only one thing.
If you have been made aware of crimes past and current, and you choose to respond with silence or in some Pontius Pilate manner, it means you are colluding with the original child abusers to keep these crimes hidden from public view.
SO WHAT CAN BE DONE?
If you’re a Survivor you might feel nothing can be done. That – post IICSA – the Church has managed, with its own admitted poor Safeguarding (see above) to still successfully silence its critics.
That’s not the case.
‘Naming and Shaming’ abusers at my Catholic school on this site has worked very well in the past and has led to positive results which I’ve described in previous posts. With both local media (EADT) and national media (Sunday Times and the Tablet) covering and investigating the accounts I have brought to light.
It’s only now that I’ve been able to focus on the parish I grew up in, and the clerical and laity abusers, male and female, who harmed me as a child.
So I would hope for similar results here. I’m sure it will be of equal interest to the media.
Particularly local media.
And if you are a survivor of abuse by any of these people I’ve described here, and would like to share your experience, please get in touch. As always, your anonymity is guaranteed.
However, if you are a member of the congregation at St Pancras and are rightly shocked by what you have read, I would appeal to you to raise some or all of these issues with your parish priest.
It is clearly his personal duty to act.
Diocesan Safeguarding is not an alternative. It is provably flawed for the reasons I’ve given and I strongly believe is deliberately designed to waste everyone’s time.
Even if you discount some of the allegations I’ve made, there is still a great deal left that should be looked at, discussed, and which you would hope would be of great concern to your parish priest.
Based on the past, I fear your parish priest will not take responsibility, but I would love to be proved wrong.
Furthermore, my experience is that – even today, despite the Church being called out for its crimes at IICSA – Catholic congregations will not respond to allegations of child abuse within the Church. They will look the other way at clerical and laity crimes.
This is because of the Oath of Allegiance they took and similar ties that bind.
However, I would hope that there are some exceptions who are not sheep and have the courage to challenge their shepherds.
In any event, at some point in the near future, there will be further investigations into the Catholic Church and this post and others will be useful in providing evidence.
Meantime, no one in the parish of St. Pancras can now say ‘We didn’t know. We had absolutely no idea these terrible things went on.’
You’ve been told.
And anyone curiously searching the web for nostalgic memories of St Pancras will come across this post.
They will be appalled to see the Church’s dark history in which the crimes of priests such as Canon Burrows and Father Wace and Ipswich female and male Catholic laity are laid bare for all to read.
That is the legacy of shame for all the world to now see that St Pancras, its current parish priest, as the representative of the Church, the CWL and the Knights of St Columba will have to live with from now on.
Unless they choose to take a path of light and look at the truth.
Otherwise, it’s a dark cross all of them rightly have to bear.
Often on this site, there are graphic accounts of abuse by lay teachers, priests, monks and De La Salle brothers.
What is more rare, though, is the psychological abuse that often goes with it. And how it can be triggered today by relatively minor incidents.
Catholics, abusers or not, always seem to seek control over children. Maybe it’s the same with other religions.
But it is especially heinous in Catholic communities because they are so authoritarian, so convinced of their rightness and even holiness, they cannot and will not be challenged.
Their role model, of course, starts with the Vatican and the Pope when he speaks ex-cathedra.
Thus, as I’ve related some time ago, a staunch Catholic doctor (a functioning alcoholic) and his hospital matron wife needed to bring their typically rebellious sixteen year old daughter ‘to her senses’. This involved her being drugged and incarcerated in the general ward of a mental hospital over Christmas.
Her rebellion was the usual thing – staying out late, bad company, surly attitude, punk clothes and so on. I don’t recall anything unusual or horrendous. But in any event, if every rebellious teenager was sectioned to bring them to their senses, the mental hospitals would be filled to overflowing. What I do recall that was horrendous was her parents’ close examination of her clothing which, in my view, crossed boundaries.
Undoubtedly they used their connections to get the necessary two Doctors (IIRC) to have her sectioned. When my daughters told me this, I was so appalled, I contacted the hospital and said the girl could stay at our house with her friends, my daughters, over Christmas. The hospital agreed. I just had to ask her parents’ permission.
This I duly did. Their response I believe is so typically Catholic, it’s worth writing about again. They told me they were bluffing when they intended to keep her in a mental ward over Christmas, alone with seriously disturbed teenagers. They were going to have her released on Christmas Eve when she’d learnt her lesson and promised to behave herself in future. I told them I was delighted that the family would be united. ‘No, you’ve spoilt it now,’ the matron mum glared at me. ‘So we don’t want her back.’ The girl duly spent a happy Christmas with our family and IIRC now has a couple of university degrees and a successful career. But I happen to know she still bears the scars of her ghastly Catholic family.
Similarly I bear the scars of my ghastly Catholic family. And that’s probably why I chose to intervene. It was triggering me.
My Catholic family circumstances were different, yet ultimately the same. My mother was mentally ill, so she had delegated her authority to a group of four or five Catholic worthies to similarly ‘bring her rebellious teenage son to his senses’. Some, but probably not all, were Knights of St Columba. All were sexual abusers of children. And they controlled the financial purse string to my fee-paying education at St Joseph’s College, Ipswich, and thus my destiny.
If you look at photos or film of the Knights today, they’re still puffed up with their own arrogance and so were these gentlemen. They saw no contradiction between sexually abusing children and their own self-proclaimed ‘holiness’. I have no idea how that works. I suspect they compartmentalised their lives and didn’t make any connection between their conscience and their vile crimes. Or they think if it’s good enough for bishops, priests and De La Salle brothers to sodomise and sexually molest children, so it’s good enough for them. Or they see it as an initiation rite, like a frat club.
If anyone has any insights, knowledge or theories, I’d love to hear from them. I think my theories above are correct, but Catholics are hardly going to explain their crimes today.
What is truly remarkable is how I fought back and how they wouldn’t give up. They were determined to impose their will on me. I’ve no real idea how I survived and eventually won, albeit at a price. They stopped paying my school fees and so I left at age fifteen and became a messenger boy for R and W Paul in Ipswich. Even then, they still tried to impose their will on me, which I find astonishing. If I was them, I think I’d be pragmatic and say, ‘We’re not going to win with this annoying little shit. Let him go. There’s plenty more where he came from.’
But Catholics simply don’t think that way. They have to win. Maybe the challenge of ‘breaking in a wild horse’ appealed to them.
It was only when I was sixteen and left home that I was finally free of them.
In my healing work in recent years, I realised I was dealing with at least four sexual abusers, and it was necessary to understand each one’s style, as I was being psychologically assaulted from four different directions. Sometimes separately. Sometimes in unison. That takes some unpacking. Thus one, a violent thug teacher, used the heavy-handed, boot camp disciplinarian approach. A second, a barrister, used legal threats combined with suggesting I’d be better off moving to an Ipswich hostel where he’d have me all to himself. A third, an English teacher, appealed to my writing ambitions before ultimately turning on me. A fourth, seemed to be the treasurer of the Knights and I can only remember two things about him. First, his impressive marbled Parker pen with its gold nib, ready to write out a much needed cheque for my school fees. ‘On certain conditions, young man…’And second, the terror his two sons – who also went to St J’s – regarded him with. Let’s not talk about the fifth man. Too big a subject other than to note he was always whining, Uriah Heep style, ‘I always tried to do the best for you boys.’
I clearly won my battle against these five Catholic heavies, although I still find that remarkable. But I didn’t get off Scot-free, it left a scar and that’s where the Triggers come in.
Some months ago, I was triggered when some of my readers said I shouldn’t even be researching Web3 ‘because it was evil’. They were outraged! It triggered memories of the Catholic Index and reading Heaven and Hell by Swedenborg. When the teacher thug I’ve described found out, he was outraged! He went nuts. I’d completely forgotten it, but now the memories came rushing back.(More in an earlier blog)
Naturally, I ignored the Triggers. After all, if I could stand up to a thug when I was 14, I wasn’t going to let anyone today dictate what I should or should not read.
Recently, the same thing occurred when I brought out my Web3 book, a minor project, ecologically and ethically valid. The complexities and rights and wrongs of Web3 needn’t concern us here, only the attempt by a small group of readers to stop my project, to mould me into someone I’m not, to insist I behave differently, to impose their will on me, without any debate, adopting a ‘holier than thou’, finger-wagging, moral standpoint just like those awful Catholic worthies I’ve described when I was a kid.
They weren’t interested in polite discussion, only in reacting emotionally and dumping their emotions on me. Angry, sad, reproachful, etc. Doubtless triggered by something in their own pasts that makes them act disproportionately. Maybe they needed an outlet, a scapegoat, for whatever is wrong in their lives.
As you might expect, it, once again, triggered emotions in me from long ago.
But it also reminded me of one way I defeated the finger-waggers as a boy.
Music. There were so many battle hymns against authoritarian bullies and I still sing them in my head to this day.
The words of Lesley Gore were a life-saver.
You don’t own me You don’t tell me what to do Don’t tell me what to say
Don’t try to change me in any way You don’t own me
I don’t tell you what to say I don’t tell you what to do So just let me be myself That’s all I ask of you I’m free and I love to be free To live my life the way I want To say and do whatever I please
Such music helped me survive as a kid and those words are particularly relevant today and I shall direct them at today’s Triggers if necessary.
If you’re wondering why I’m fairly relaxed about it, then I should let you into my secret. Over the years I regularly use such Triggers in my stories and they make for excellent negative characters. I’ve written them into two of my current published series. For example, a science fantasy series where the High Priest of the Archeologists, who bury all forms of progress, has banned technology, and has an especial hatred for Web3. Needless to say, he comes to a bad end which I found most cathartic to write. I’m now thinking of a third way I can use them.
It’s a great way to deal with the finger-waggers and turn their lead into gold.
I hope others have found similarly constructive ways of dealing with Triggers.
Francis Carolan has died just before facing four charges of abuse in April.
Below are some recollections from one Old Boy about this teacher from the early 1990s.
The Opus Dei recollection I find interesting. So a few thoughts on that organisation first.
In my own and other’s experience, St Joseph’s teachers had (have?) connections with neo-masonic Catholic organisations. In my era, the St Joseph’s teacher abusers I encountered were members of, or connected with, the Knights of St Columba whose crimes I have featured on this site and are currently being looked at by Operation Hydrant. In another notorious case (late 1950s), an ex-St Joseph’s teacher, known from his violence, ran away with a young boy, promising that he would become the youthful leader of an exciting new order of Catholic Knights.
It would be almost reassuring if one was to conclude they’re just patriarchal organisations and Catholic women were never involved. But, of course, it’s well known that women can be members of Opus Dei, too. There was Ruth Kelly who was a practising member of Opus Dei and a minister for education. Given their warped ‘mortification of the flesh’ practises, I find that singularly unhealthy. In my era, leading Catholic women in Ipswich were members of or connected with the Catholic Women’s League, which is closely associated with the Knights of St Columba. My experience of these ladies and their practises was very unpleasant.
Beyond St Joseph’s, there are other unhealthy stories of Catholic Knights that I’ve come across: Papal Knight, and probable member of the Knights of St Columba, Jimmy Savile being the prime example which no one has ever investigated. I doubt it will be featured in the forthcoming Netflix drama.
The inescapable conclusion is that if you’re a member of these various secretive Catholic organisations, there’s a good chance you’ll get away with your abusive crimes. As an academic study has shown (previously featured on this site), there is a strong transgenerational element which suggests it’s still going on today.
RECOLLECTIONS OF CAROLAN
Carolan boasted to us that he’d sign off letters to parents with the letters FOAD. If questioned he would say it was “for our almighty deity”, but it was actually fuck off and die. He was apparently a member of Opus Dei, and had met the Pope.
Frank Carolan was a scary man. Hitting us on the back of the head with bibles, but mostly he was a psychological bully. Incredibly nice on one hand (I had a band in the 4th/5th year and he allowed us to rehearse in his classroom after school, and store our instruments), and then he’d turn on you and reduce you to nothing.
He was my housemaster in birkfield before he disappeared one night in spring 1993. Never did anything physical to me, but we were all terrified of him and there were allegations at the time.
Yesterday, I had an unpleasant but cathartic flashback experience involving the Catholic Index, so I wondered if anyone else had come across this ludicrous but lethal and fascistic form of mind control? Do let me know. I’d love to hear from you.
I know it was dissolved in 1966, but too late for me – the Knights of St Columba were still using it up to that date and almost certainly beyond.
Anyway, what triggered it was some of my (comic) readers recently started sending me angry, finger-wagging and moralizing tweets about my interest in the block chain (an irrelevant subject for this blog). Whatever its rights or wrongs, they were in essence saying I shouldn’t even think about cryptocurrency and NFTs, they were intrinsically evil etc. They were acting as self-appointed spiritual advisers.
I just shrugged it off as part of my job. They’re entitled to their opinion and I am to mine and it’s hardly a big deal. My readers often feel passionately about any changes in publishing and good luck to them. My wife Lisa – who knows more about NFTS than I do – wrote a very calm and reasoned reply and I really thought that was the end of it. https://www.millsverse.com/response-to-our-little-twitter-storm-about-nfts/
But my psyche felt very differently and you will see how it triggered my childhood recollections of the Catholic Index.
Before I knew it, I had the most powerful ptsd flashback I’ve had in years.
I was around 14, very much under the control of the Knights, still lined up for the seminary, and as rebellious then as I am today, when I was discovered reading a forbidden book. It would be fair enough it was Lady Chatterley – although I doubt it’s on the index – and it would be far too readable anyway. No, it’s dreary and boring books that challenge the Church’s core teaching that were on the Index – although I know there are some novels, too, like Dumas and Hugo. Anyway, it was one of those books I’d gotten hold of.
As a form of resistance, I was hanging out with an esoteric group opposed to Catholics. Pretty stupid, and going out of the frying pan into the fire, but when you’re 14, you do what you have to do to survive. I needed some artillery on my side against the Knights, otherwise they might have crushed my spirit. This was the Knights’ clear intention, although they would have used more flattering words to describe their form of mind control.
As far as I can recall, the group, who called themselves the Cathars (‘Pure Ones’), gave me a book by Swedenborg: History of the Devil aka Heaven and Hell. In their own way they were grooming me, too, just like the Knights. I found it a bit tedious to read today, but I bet I loved it as a kid because – apart from its click-bait title – I knew it was against the Catholic Church. It was a symbol of defiance. Being on the Index, Swedenborg’s tome was regarded as a work of evil and anyone who read it would be excommunicated and go to Hell. The usual Catholic attempt to bully their followers into submission.
The Catholic Knight in charge of my spiritual welfare – and my fake stepdad – absolutely freaked! He went totally nuts! (Just like my comic readers did when I talked about NFTs). I don’t know exactly how I responded, but it was definitely with the kind of defiance that any 14 year old kid does up when they come up against a bullying and violent ‘stepdad’. I probably didn’t swear like I do today, but the gist of my response was undoubtedly ‘fuck off’.
He wouldn’t calm down or back down and neither would I, but there was a limit to how violent he could be in front of my mum. In any event, I was probably egging him on– the way kids do. ‘Go on. Hit me. Let’s see what a bastard you really are.’ Controlling himself with some difficulty, he found another punishment for my dreadful crime: He locked me out in the garden so I had to spend the night in the coal shed.
Hence the flashback. Although my office is warm, and I live in Spain, yesterday I suddenly found myself wearing three heavy jumpers, gloves, hugging an electric fire and a hot water bottle with a thick blanket thrown over me. And I still couldn’t get warm!
Only when I relived the original event did my temperature return to normal.
So what happened at the end of my punishment? The next morning, when this typically noble Catholic Knight let me in from the garden? Was I suitably subdued? Did I say, ‘I’m sorry, sir. I won’t do it again. I’ve learnt my lesson.’
I think you know the answer.
It’s a useful reminder to me that the Knights of St Columba are currently under investigation by Operation Hydrant – two prime examples of their crimes against children have been forwarded to the police by Catholic Safeguarding. And, I’m pleased to say, it is regularly being progressed. So, whatever the final outcome, it’s being taken very seriously. And let’s bear in mind that the Knights’ corruption of children didn’t stop in my era. As is well documented, there are current Knights that need further investigation.
This organization really needs thorough investigation, not just by the police but by investigative reporters. It has a lot to answer for and to explain.
And the Knights also need to pay compound interest on their organisation’s crimes from the time of the Catholic Index.
Perhaps a night in the coal shed might do them some good.
It’s an example of how the Knights would seem able to successfully ‘kill’ a news story.
By comparison, when Laurence Soper, Abbot of Ealing Abbey, was given an 18 year prison sentence for child abuse, his case was reported by the BBC, The Guardian,The Tablet, The Times, The Sun, Express, numerous websites and also covered by IICSA.
And yet Ronald Smith’s case was an equally big news story.
He had spent more than 40 years abusing young boys between 1972 and 2014.
There were three reports to the police about him during those years which were never prosecuted!
The account relates that:
‘Despite already being a convicted sex offender (in1973), allegations against the Catholic member of Colchester’s St James the Less and St Helen Catholic Church in Priory Street in 1994, 2000 and 2011 did not end in prosecution.’
And was a DBS check run on Smith? It would also seem not.
In summary, why was a convicted sex offender, an uneducated, semi-unemployed man, with no DBS check, organizing children’s events – associated with or run by the Knights – at a Catholic church up to 2014?
And why was the story minimized with no further reference to the Knights connection to the crimes?
Are all today’s UK Knights who deal with children or parishioners given a DBS check? Given that Smith was probably not DBS checked and another source tells me that current Knights of St Columba – in a different diocese – aren’t DBS checked, it seems unlikely.
I’ve raised these concerns with Catholic Safeguarding who have passed this post onto Operation Hydrant. Personally, I think, with today’s children possibly at risk, as I’ve exampled, that the Knights should set up an Independent Investigator to look into this and other allegations about them on this site. Just as the De La Salles have done. If the Knights are as concerned about child safety, past and present, as they claim, It should be a priority.
It concerns me that the response of all Catholic Safeguarding agencies to any allegations is to just pass them onto Hydrant or the regular police without comment or interaction. It does feel to me that they’re dumping everything onto Hydrant but without the intermediary which Hydrant tell me they require. And that they are not looking at important issues that this and previous examples on this site raise. For instance – do the Knights of St Columba have DBS checks? NOT according to my source. That’s not so relevant to Hydrant who are primarily concerned with actual offences, but has everything to do with Catholic Safeguarding and protecting children and preventing offences ever taking place. Thus far, I’ve had no response to this issue by Catholic Safeguarding.
I’ve just sent SCOE and DLS Safeguarding – the two relevant Catholic Safeguarding organizations – the summaries of evidence on Brothers Kevin, James, Solomon, Father Jolly the DLS school chaplain, and a summary of other DLS abusers.
These summaries will greatly facilitate the work of the investigations detailed below. It’s hard trawling through the numerous testimonies posted on this site over several years and my summaries are designed to make life easy for DLS Safeguarding and SCOE.
Here’s my understanding of what is currently happening: There are THREE strands of investigation into the DLS which is encouraging. However, they appear to overlap which – hopefully – won’t be a problem.
The three strands are:
1.The DLS Safeguarding Inquiry.
Here’s the newspaper account revealing the inquiry.
Barry Hudd, head of safeguarding at the De La Salle Brothers, said the order wanted to “clear the whole thing up”.
He added that while there have been more than 200 abuse claims made against the order from across the UK, until now only a handful have come from St Joseph’s.
One of these, he said, was settled recently outside of court, but most of the accusations made on Mr Mills blog were “completely unheard of”, he said.
“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.
Previously, DLS Safeguarding had set up an Independent Investigator to look at De La Salle Brother ‘A’ which may still be ongoing, so I won’t comment on that matter. Other than to say their Investigator was Jo Norman whom I found tremendously helpful to talk to. Other Survivors have said the same thing.
However, no one from DLS Safeguarding has been in touch with me thus far regarding this new investigation, even though I understand it’s based entirely on the testimonies on this site.
And one survivor recently wrote direct to DLS Safeguarding with his well documented account of abuse and was disappointed by their brief response.
So I have a question for the DLS:
Has the DLS independent Investigator been appointed?
Because we were told by SCOE when Jo Norman was appointed. I think we should be similarly told by DLS Safeguarding what is going on and who the Investigator is.
2. The SCOE. Safeguarding Commission for Orders in Education (SCOE).
Its Independent Chair is Rev Dcn Des Bill. He 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.”
The SCOE themselves have also already been dealing with complaints of DLS abuse. Des Bill has been forwarding the testimonies on this site to the police of Operation Hydrant (see below).
Possibly DLS Safeguarding will do the same separately via their Investigator or will co-ordinate with SCOE?
Des Bill was also involved in the investigation into De La Salle Brother ‘A’. In fact, I thought it was SCOE who had initiated it. But a reporter told me that De La Salle Safeguarding had advised her that they initiated it not SCOE.
So I assume that SCOE acted at the original ‘front person’ for DLS Safeguarding and that they liaised behind the scenes.
However, here’s what Jo Norman said herself:
I am an Independent safeguarding consultant who has been commissioned to provide management of all complaints against Brother ‘A’ and to support the SCOE (Safeguarding Commission for Orders in Education) in making decisions regarding these complaints.
Catholic Safeguarding (Chair: Nazir Afzal ) are NOT involved. Their full name is Catholic Standards Agency: CSSA. They are a completely new and separate organization. They deal with abuser priests and are not involved with religious orders like the DLS.
3. Ipswich police
If an abuser is still alive, it’s relatively simple for a Survivor of the abuse to get a response without going through this complex system. Ipswich police will deal with you direct. I found them helpful and pro-active.
But if the abuser is dead, the complaint goes to Operation Hydrant. This is an umbrella police organization dealing with historic and systemic abuse.
It is still handled from Ipswich, but the police tell me they require an authorised intermediary – like Jo Norman – to present the information to Hydrant.
That sounds simple enough, but there are inconsistencies. Thus Des Bill has been sending testimonies from my site to Hydrant without such an intermediary.
Maybe this happened because the information was already summarized which would usually be the job of an intermediary.
And at least two DLS Survivors have reported historic abuse – where the DLS abuser is dead – to Ipswich police who have responded direct to them. Maybe they didn’t need an intermediary because they were ‘one off’ cases.
The three strands are confusing, a little contradictory, and there is a noticeable lack of detail.
But I’m hoping these two Catholic Safeguarding organizations will make things clearer for us all in the future.
We need full transparency to avoid going round in circles and in line with the recent Elliott Report which said Safeguarding Officers should adopt a more compassionate, communicative and respectful attitude to Survivors.
The lack of communication I’ve described is certainly not in line with the Elliott Report.
WHAT DOES A SURVIVOR OF DLS ABUSE DO NEXT?
I’m asking both DLS Safeguarding and the SCOE for some guidance here and I think we all need some answers from them to the questions and my suggestions below.
Here is an example of a key case.
Survivor Z has written a detailed and important testimony about a dead DLS sexual and physical abuser. It’s been backed up by supporting evidence by other Survivors. It’s in the evidence posts I’ve sent the Safeguarding agencies.
And it should be backed up by further evidence in the DLS files. There is no way this DLS abuser’s sexual and physical abuse crimes could have been unknown by Oxford (The DLS HQ). There would be many complaints about him.
As with all the evidence I have presented, I strongly dispute that they are ‘completely unheard of’ as the cases themselves make clear.
So what happens next?
1)Does Z wait until Hydrant gets in touch with him ?
Or will the DLS Safeguarding independent Investigator seek to also get in touch with him before passing the same evidence to Hydrant?
2)The Investigator or Hydrant can get in touch with Z by contacting me and I will pass on their request.
And the Investigator can ask me – from looking at the evidence summaries I’ve provided – who else they would particularly like to get in touch with. I will happily act as facilitator for them.
If that is not acceptable, we need to know why.
3) An alternative would be for the Investigator to place a request for information on my blog, asking survivors to come forward. This has been done before and I believe it worked well.
But a few important testimonies will need addressing separately. For example, if a Survivor who made a key testimony rarely reads my blog, so he’s not going to know about the Investigator’s request. Then I would need to contact them.
4) Or should Z write to the DLS Investigator or DLS Safeguarding? Bearing in mind his testimony has already gone to SCOE and thus onto Hydrant.
5)Can SCOE and DLS Safeguarding tell us how they avoid this possible duplication and a Survivor like Z telling his story twice to two overlapping organizations?
6) The DLS files in Oxford will be bulging with information on the most notorious DLS abusers: Solomon, Kevin and James. If an Investigator goes to those files FIRST, it should confirm many of their crimes.
So how necessary is it for all Survivors to be contacted and repeat their allegations which are painful to recount?
Bearing in mind the Elliott Report asks Catholic Safeguarding agencies to have a more compassionate and kindly approach in future.
For example, the DLS Investigator should be able to confirm from the DLS files alone that Brother James was a violent abuser who had psychotic episodes.
There must also be a dozen accounts of Brother James’ violence on my blog which bear this out. Contacting all survivors would be laborious and may be unnecessary when the DLS already know he is guilty.
In my opinion, the DLS acknowledging that James was guilty of psychotic violence should be a relatively simple matter, irrespective of Hydrant. Then it’s up to individual Survivors to decide what to do with that DLS acknowledgement next.
In fact, it hardly needs to go through Hydrant, taking up valuable police time, especially when they seem overloaded with work which may mean it could take some considerable time before they respond – this is according to Barry Hudd, the DLS Safeguarding Officer.
If that proves to be the case, I will have to look at the implications. Namely : are the DLS being obstructive and against the recommendations of the Elliott Report?
There is a simpler solution if the DLS genuinely want to get to the bottom of all this.
A simple but specific admission of James’ guilt by the DLS would suffice.
The position is similar where Brothers Solomon and Kevin are concerned.
Their cases are provably and emphatically NOT ‘completely unheard of ‘.
7) DLS lay teachers are the responsibility of the DLS, as confirmed by DLS Safeguarding saying that they are looking into Mike Mercado. But I think we want to be sure.
So here’s another key question to DLS Safeguarding:
Will you please confirm that DLS lay teachers detailed in the relevant evidence summary are included in your investigation?
8)DLS Safeguarding started off on ‘the wrong foot’ with Survivors as I’ve previously exampled. (e.g their not-so-public ‘public’ apology). It would be good if we can put that behind us now.
I’m prepared to do so, if I see there’s a change of attitude from now on.
Bearing in mind the sensitivity of the issues, the opening of old wounds, the huge emotional toll to Survivors of DLS crimes, and the recommendations of the Elliott Report for Catholic Safeguarding agencies to do much better:
Is there anything DLS Safeguarding and/or the Investigator would like to say to help Survivors just now? I will happily post it on my blog without comment.
9) Finally, there’s the whole issue of proper DLS apologies and proper DLS acknowledgement of crimes, but I think that’s worth addressing in a later, separate post, possibly as the investigation proceeds.