I want to be sure the Independent Investigator appointed by the De La Salles to look into their crimes has all the key testimonies. There are so many on this site, I’d hate the Investigator to miss important ones. So there’s a SUMMARY below on Brother Solomon/Mike Mercado. If I’ve missed anything crucial, or made a major error, do let me know. Or if you have an additional testimony about Brother Solomon that is important. Your details – as always – can remain confidential and anonymous if you wish.
If the Investigator wants further confirmation, provided the Old Boy in question gives me permission, I can put them in touch, but the evidence against Solomon is so overwhelming in most cases it should not be necessary.
Mercado was a pupil at Beulah Hill in 1941 – 43. Then, as Brother Solomon, he taught at St Joseph’s Birkfield Ipswich: late 50s to 1960/1. Sacked ostensibly for drunken abuse, he went to DLS Jersey briefly. Then he took up a new post at St Joseph’s Beulah Hill. In 1965 he lost his job and he was expelled from the order. After a short pop career there was an interim period where he may have gone to ‘The Missions’ : Boys Town in India. In the 1980s he went back to St Joseph’s Ipswich as lay teacher Mike Mercado. Once again he was sacked, ostensibly for drunkenness.
EVIDENCE OF HIS SEXUAL ABUSE AT ST JOSEPH’S IPSWICH
There is an account of Solomon sexual abusing a group of boys that can be read in the link below. I have the original account which is more graphic and detailed and proves beyond any reasonable doubt that he was a twisted and evil pervert.
Solomon was ‘Prefect of Discipline’ and so had ample opportunity to pursue his perverted caning fantasies as described above.
EVIDENCE OF HIS PHYSICAL AND SEXUAL ABUSE AT ST JOSEPH’S BEULAH HILL
There are 21 pages of accounts of DLS abuse on a Crystal Palace supporters site. Many feature Brother Solomon. See Brother James – the evidence – for the link. They need careful study by an Investigator. I’ve extracted two accounts below but there are many more.
Solomon groomed and abused a pupil PAUL WILKINS who years later wrote a book of poetry about Solomon’s crimes. (The Truths of Unremembered Things. Amazon) On the Crystal Palace thread, Paul describes in shocking detail the nature of his relationship with Solomon which continued into Paul’s adulthood and lasted until Solomon’s death.
Here’s one account about this on the Crystal Palace thread:
Solomon was not a nice person. I recently got to know a lovely man, Paul Wilkins, who boarded at the same time as me. Paul had become an alcoholic and had suffered a number of nervous breakdowns before he found some peace with himself and went to work at a School in Ireland. He died last Christmas after a short illness.
Paul told me in detail of the abuse that he had suffered as a result of this man. Solomon tried it on with me as well when I started at the School, but I told my father who made a complaint and Solomon ignored me after that.
Solomon was a nasty piece of work: a bully and an abuser.
|Comment by JamesM ( member ) 22nd June 2011 … and another quick follow up. The documentary on the BBC last night ‘Breaking the Silence’ reminded me of this thread and DJA’s posting on the cpfc.org Forums a week or so ago. I decided to publish an email I received from Paul Wilkins (mentioned below) who suffered a great deal at the hands of Solomon. His account is very well written – but it makes disturbing reading. If DJA or anyone else is interested, they can read the letter here: w*w.cpfc.org/forums/showthread.php?t=220813 Again, I have replaced one of the w’s with an asterisk, so the link will now be deleted. If you want to read the report, please copy the link and replace the asterisk when pasting into your browser. James|
This account is also on the Crystal Palace thread.
I was a pupil at St Joseph’s College, Beulah Hill, from 1955 to 1965 – I can confirm that it was an absolutely terrible experience – and in 1961, as if there weren’t enough very strange, totally weird, ‘Christian’ Brothers (all from the ‘De La Salle’ order) – they brought in Brother Solomon (they already had Brother Leo and Brother David, niether have been mentioned in these columns but I can honestly say, both horrendous, merciless, harshly-appalling people).
Brother Solomon was allowed total freedom by the school and by the order as ‘Master of Discipline’ – everything that has been said here about this man is true, however it all only just touches on his evil brutality, his mental and sexual perversion; I would say he was at least twenty times worse than anyone has stated here – over a period of four years he became worse and worse and by 1964 he was out of control. Despite what clearly must have been known by those in authority, he was allowed to continue with his sinful, vicious, atrocious, criminal, immoral, debauched, perverted, abhorrent, detestable, monstrous, foul, vile, disgraceful ways for a further full year – it was absolutely scandalous.
Finally, during the summer holidays of 1965 Brother Soloman was dismissed from St Joseph’s and at the same time expelled from the De La Salle order. Within a very short time he became known nationally as ‘The Swinging Monk’; he was in the Sunday papers and on Records, TV and Radio being described as pianist ‘Mike Mercado’.
Today he would have been in court, subsequently locked up, after just a couple of days in any school; he got away with it for so long by intimidation and because in those days, if you dared to say anything against this “incredible” school (in your Catholic parents view) you were immediately set-about by your father, as I was on several occasions – including once when I phoned my father (a complete bully) from the phone box at Crown Point and described an incident that had only just occurred in Bro’ Soloman’s locked and curtained office; “Stay right there, it’ll take me an hour to get to you!” shouted my father as he slammed down his phone – some time later, as he pulled up and dived out of his car I thought to myself (I was still in the phone box) this is it, at last, this will be the downfall of this terrible man, Soloman, but alas, my father ripped open the red glass-paned door and totally laid-into ME, beating me almost unconscious; I was lying on the ground as he turned for his car, shouting at me “get back into that school and don’t you ever tell such lies about people again, or I’ll beat you to death”; and then he sped off. I was helped into a nearby sweet shop by a GPO telegram boy who had seen the beating and so was very sympathetic but terrified for me of my father, saying you’d better get cleaned up and back into school in case he comes back….
I would say I was one of probably less than a dozen boys regularly (daily) picked on by Brother Soloman but those awful times have, on and off, affected my whole life – as a young 13 and 14 year old boy I was completely traumatized on many occasions, and left with absolutely no support from home, and that has returned to haunt me at various different stages of my life.
EVIDENCE OF HIS CONNECTION TO BOYS TOWN.
After his pop career, Mercado then went on to work to raise money for Boys Town in Southern India, run by the notorious abuser Joe Homan, an ex DLS brother. St Joseph’s Ipswich also helped raise money for ‘ a new tractor’ for Homan. I have a harrowing account of Homan’s abuse while he was a DLS brother. He carried out a terrifying sexual assault on a child at St Joseph’s Oak Hill Ipswich.
I believe Mercado visited Boys Town to ‘assist Homan’, but in reality he was a sex tourist. The new post-Homan regime at Boys Town are very helpful and may have records to help an investigator.
The close links between St J’s Ipswich, Mercado and Homan at Boys Town suggest there was something systemic going on between them. It’s still a work in progress and cannot yet be proved, but I hope someone will come forward to tell us more.
EVIDENCE OF HIS SEXUAL ABUSE AT ST JOSEPH’S SECOND TIME WHEN HE WAS MIKE MERCADO
Comment on Crystal Palace site by Old Birkfeldian ( member ) 28th June 2011:
Mike Mercado worked as a housemaster at another St.Josephs – namely St Joseph’s College Ipswich – in the 1980’s. After complaints for again being a bit ‘hands-on’ he was removed discretely, I am saddened that he was allowed to teach there with his previous history, the damage he did was immeasurable.
The Ipswich Star account
EVIDENCE OF SYSTEMIC ABUSE INVOLVING SOLOMON/MERCADO AND THE DE LA SALLES.
The way Solomon was moved around from Ipswich to Jersey to Beulah Hill. Then returns to Ipswich as lay teacher Mercado. His application to become a DLS brother again was turned down, but – even though he was notorious – he was still allowed to teach children. That suggests a typical Catholic abuse cover-up.
I recalled as an eleven year old that he was briefly sent to a ‘reformatory’ in Jersey in 60/61 and an Old Boy of St Peter’s confirms there was a ‘rat line’ to Jersey for abuser brothers to escape the police.
Mercado’s farewell letter is full of hints about cover-ups. I’ve tried to unpack it here:
He also threatens, ‘I am fully aware of what goes on within the Order’
The Ipswich Star account also confirms a cover-up
Deleted – as I’m looking again at that evidence (arbitration service offer to Solomon)
At Beulah Hill they knew and did NOTHING about Solomon for at least a year!
Here’s what that Survivor said again:
over a period of four years he became worse and worse and by 1964 he was out of control. Despite what clearly must have been known by those in authority, he was allowed to continue with his sinful, vicious, atrocious, criminal, immoral, debauched, perverted, abhorrent, detestable, monstrous, foul, vile, disgraceful ways for a further full year – it was absolutely scandalous.
The DLS must have known about my blog and allegations about Brother Solomon for years yet did nothing until the media pressure became too great.
Accusations on the Crystal Palace site have been there since 2011 with Old Boys relating how they were actively trying to find out more about Solomon.
It’s unbelievable that the DLS didn’t know about this past interest in Solomon either on the Crystal Palace site, my own, or elsewhere and are only now looking into it.
Answer: Because it’s in the media. So they are FORCED to act.
This and so much else makes me and many other Survivors wonder how far the DLS have really changed today as they claim.