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Brendan started at Oakhill in 1961 (he was 6 at that time) as a Day Boy as we were living in Earl Soham at the time, not far from Framlingham. He was always of slight build but a very smiley and caring person. In 1962 our family moved to Yorkshire and Brendan became a boarder.
He then went onto St Joseph’s where I joined him in 1969, he was in the 3rd year by then as I am 2 years younger and I went to a catholic primary school in Yorkshire. He seemed to be fine and happy that he had his younger brother with him. Our year group was a bit rebellious which was probably why I cannot recall any of my year group being directly targeted for sexual abuse. Although there was a slightly built African boy from the year below (I think), who Brother Lawrence Anthony (I am sure that was his name and he had taken over as Headmaster from Brother Elwin?) seemed to take a shine to as he was always being summoned to his study.
Brendan was the most loveable person but he never opened up to anyone about his physical and sexual abuse by Brother Kevin until he was 50, just 5 years before he died on his 55th Birthday in 2010. He said that it was because he feared nobody would have believed him, how could that happen in the confines of a religious catholic school, where the saintly brothers had been called by God to care for his children!!!
His revelation explained why for all his life he kept to himself, never forming relationships, living alone and even to family events he would travel independently. Upon reflection, although he was very smiley you could see a sadness in his eyes. He also did not want to drag things up as it would have a negative impact on his life and resurrect pain that he had over time, managed to suppress. It was obviously well before 2017 when suddenly the world woke up to the ‘MeToo’ movement and the sexual abuse of women and then slowly revelations about institutional abuse at schools and care home etc..where men and boys were also able to have a voice. If he was still alive, then we would have supported him through this and he would have been part of a group with similar experiences.
On a personal basis, I clocked Brother Michael on one of your photos, he is the top left looking towards the Brother you have identified (unfortunately I am not able to confirm if his name is Brother James Ryan). Brother Michael was quite a physically violent person. He would be up on his desk on the raised platform and he would frequently hurl Chalkboard Dusters as hard as he could and hope to hit you and hurt you. However, his favourite was to get you to kneel on the edge of the stage and then grip his middle knuckle and smash down on your head as hard as he could. You could see in his eyes the pleasure he got out of doing that.
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 Kevin Dillon. I’ve done the same for James. Still working on Solomon. If I’ve missed anything crucial, or made a major error, do let me know. Or if you have an additional testimony about Brother Kevin 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 Kevin is so overwhelming in most cases it should not be necessary.
Brother Kevin taught at St Joseph’s prep school Oak Hill Ipswich. St Joseph’s College Birkfield Ipswich. Went to France for one year approx 1968. Then returned to St Peter’s Bournemouth. Then back to Oak Hill again where he became Headmaster.
EVIDENCE OF SEXUAL ABUSE AT ST JOSEPH’S IPSWICH
(OAK HILL FIRST TIME & BIRKFIELD)
NW1’s account below. He was abused at Oak Hill and Birkfield.
… regarding St Joseph’s, Birkfield, and also Oak Hill, the prep school just down the road. I was a pupil at both between 1967 and 1974, when I was expelled mid-way through the year. As I was mid-way through my lower sixth, they allowed me to complete my studies at St Peter’s, in Bournemouth. Many of the Brothers’ names mentioned in other posts are familiar to me and other boys used to talk about them as “homos” at the time, but I have no proof of this.
In my case, I was sexually abused by Brother Kevin, a diminutive shit who was at OakHill when I started there before transferring to Birkfield later in that year. My abuse began while I was at the prep school. Kevin was in charge of the boarders and used to summon me, as well as other boys, to his bedroom after lights out.
After he moved to Birkfield, Kevin used to come down to Oak Hill on Sundays, seek me out and try to abuse me in the biology rooms.
The abuse continued when I moved to Birkfield myself and during my first year there, during which time I was a boarder in one of the dormitories in the so-called 55 Wing. Kevin, whose room looked out on one of the dormitories, continued in a similar vein as before, summoning me and others to his room after lights out.
(See footnote from NW1 below)
He was transferred to France at the end of that school year (1968) but returned to St Peter’s, where I re-encountered him after my expulsion from St Jo’s. Inexplicably, he was once again in charge of the junior boarders. By then, I was too old for him, so was left in peace. I have no doubt whatsoever that he continued to abuse kids there. Sickeningly, the young boarders’ section included kids who were six or seven years old.
About 20 years ago, I reported my abuser to the police in London and he was briefly detained, made a partial admission and was released on bail pending further inquiries. The next time he was interviewed he showed up with a solicitor and denied everything. He was never charged.
Simultaneously, I sued the Order in 1996 and after six years they settled out of court in return for me signing a confidentiality agreement which I suppose I’m breaking today. The settlement just about paid for seven years of therapy. However, the Order refused to offer an apology because to do so would imply that they were culpable. Even today, 15 years later, that refusal to admit what happened and apologise for it – despite paying me compensation – makes me feel incredibly angry.
I remember I went up to Oxford in the mid-90s to confront the order at its “Mother House”: they didn’t seem remotely surprised that Kevin was in the frame as a sex abuser. I mentioned another brother, (AKA Squealer) who I was fairly certain had abused children, although I did not have 100% definitive proof. They effectively admitted he too had been an abuser and it was suggested to me that I should consider whether giving his name to the police would be worthwhile as he now had dementia. I did name him to police but nothing happened to him either.
While I was at St Peter’s, there was another Brother – Cyril – who was in charge of the middle year boarders (3rd and 4th year). He, too, was talked of as an abuser by some pupils, although I did not have any personal knowledge of this. Cyril became head teacher at another school in Southsea, was subsequently charged and cleared of sex abuse.
(See GL’s account of Cyril later)
Three years ago I was contacted by police in Dorset who had received another complaint of abuse at the hands of Brother Kevin by a pupil at St Peter’s. Dorset police managed to track down my name and other details from the 90s and I went through the another set of interviews, filmed this time, and waited several months before the CPS decided not to go ahead with a prosecution, again. My evidence and that of the other person were not considered credible enough.
I’m aware of several other kids who were abused during my time there, also by Brother Kevin. I once met up with one of them many years later. He and another lad were abused a year or so before me and I still remember him telling me that when Kevin started on me he felt jealous a being supplanted by someone else. There was also talk about several other Brothers being abusers while I was at Birkfield, including Squealer, but I have no personal evidence of that. It does make me wonder whether they had their own little circles and agreed not to poach kids from each other.
Almost 50 years later, the abuse still affects me. My entire personality has been affected by the experience and I know I will never be free of what happened. But I’m glad others are talking about it publicly here and in one or two other corners of the Web. It’s about time the Order was forced to face up to what so many of its members were doing. It should make a public apology. I would also like to see all the abusers brought to trial. I’d be happy to work with anyone here to make sure that happen
NW1 added recently:
Kevin Dillon was sexually abusing me at St Joseph’s in 1969 up until May or June of that year. He moved that summer – he wasn’t there when we came back in September 1969. The reason I recall is that my mother died in the late spring of that year and Bro. Kevin was the man tasked with telling me, as a boarder, what had happened to her.
My name is Peter, I was a border at st. josephs preparatory school oak hill Ipswich, a de la salle school, from 1967 to 1970. I’m sure its the same school. Nwi would have been there at the same time as me, and my experiences were unfortunately similar. He might remember me because I am Australian (and still am), I’m sure my brother Robert and I were the only colonials there at the time. I also contacted the police and made a complaint but as I live in Australia haven’t been able to do anything else. I would really like to contact NWI, really, I really would. “Holy Innocents” was the name of the first dormitory I was in, I was 7. bro kevin told me he only did this to me because my mum asked him to, sound familiar?
EVIDENCE OF SEXUAL ABUSE AT ST PETER’S BOURNEMOUTH
NW1’s account cites a St Peter’s pupil reporting Kevin to the police for sexual abuse.
And other boys at St Peter’s NW1 was aware of who were abused by Kevin and who acknowledged this in conversation with him.
I spoke at length by skype to ‘R’, an American survivor of Brother Kevin’s abuse at St Peter’s. He was there 1976 – 80. R was preparing to ‘take things forward’ when we learnt about Kevin’s dementia. See later. It’s possible R may talk to an investigator, although I’d say the case was proved already.
R tells me ‘Kevin was responsible for the care of about 100 boys aged 9-12; I’m sure the school must have known something.’
EVIDENCE OF SEXUAL ABUSE AT OAK HILL SECOND TIME WHEN KEVIN WAS HEADMASTER
“Bro Kevin took over as Headmaster at Oak Hill from the academic year beginning September 1979 He appears in the official history book of Oak Hill, some photos including with the very few boarders left at the end. The book says that he left in 1989.”
By which time the DLS must surely have been aware of his crimes, especially if he had spent a year in France possibly lying low? And yet, decades later, the DLS made him Headmaster – in charge of the YOUNGER BOYS he seemed to have preferred.
This is the link to a post covering Brother Kevin abusing a boy at Oak Hill in this era. See Item ONE in the post.
The matron he refers to passionately defended Kevin to me, but has since written to me reversing her position, saying she didn’t know what was going on.
Another testimony from a Survivor. This also involves Brother Kevin after he had returned to Oak Hill.
FROM ZACH i first went to oak hill in 1984 and was abused by brother kevin, a vile little rat. used to take me to his room after lights out. would be nice to find where the rat is now??
EVIDENCE OF SYSTEMIC ABUSE INVOLVING KEVIN AND THE DE LA SALLES.
My understanding of ‘systemic’ includes where there is an organised cover-up, a silencing (e.g. through an NDA), or an investigation is thwarted by being ignored by an organization, obscured or not reported to the police.
The way Kevin was moved around from Ipswich to France (1 – 2 years, ‘long enough for the scandal to blow away’ – GL) to Bournemouth. That suggests a typical Catholic abuse cover-up.
See also BROTHER SOLOMON – THE EVIDENCE (posting shortly) which indicates THE EXISTENCE OF A DE LA SALLE ‘RAT LINE’ FOR BROTHERS TO ESCAPE THE POLICE. From Bournemouth. To Jersey. To France.
We know Kevin went to France and it would seem likely he used this escape route.
But if Kevin had been arrested after whatever happened at St J’s Ipswich, instead of running away to France with the help of the DLS, none of those boys at Bournemouth and later at Oakhill would have been abused.
I find that so sad, upsetting and important, it needs repeating:
none of those boys at Bournemouth and later at Oakhill would have been abused.
GL’s damning conclusion of systemic abuse at St Peter’s is worth quoting in full here:
What is abundantly clear to me is that it was not just one individual who was responsible for moving these monsters around to avoid detection, but an administrative organisation. Someone somewhere knew exactly what kind of person Brother Kevin was/is and actively appointed him in a position of trust and authority over young boys, some as young as 6 or 7 years old. Even as 11 year old boys we were very aware of the pedophile nature of Brother Kevin. Indeed, the jokes and sniggering comments transcended through every corridor and classroom in the school. Yet not one teacher knew anything about his despicable tendencies?? Impossible. Of course they knew and were fully aware. Every single one of them. But this was the 1970’s and pedophilia behaviour and activities were a taboo subject. It simply did not exist. Sadly it did.
DLS at HQ’s Oxford’s tacit acknowledgement Kevin was an abuser. See NW1’s testimony. And suggesting NW1 not report another abuser because of infirmity.
Catholic Safeguarding told me personally that all abuse allegations MUST be reported to the police, regardless of mitigating factors, including death. The DLS were thus in violation of that rule.
NW1’s financial settlement with an NDA and no apology.
The DLS must have known about my blog and allegations about Brother Kevin for years yet did nothing until the social media pressure became too great.
The DLS also knew about NW1.
And, judging by a further testimony below, Kevin’s abuse was known by the DLS for up to 20 years.
Yet the DLS press officer reacts by commenting that the evidence on my blog is ‘completely unheard of”. Like it’s unusual, new and even questionable!
But see this testimony :
Bro Kevin (or just plain Kevin Dillon) was suffering in an advanced state of dementia in an Ipswich nursing home the last time I heard of him (2017). There was video on the nursing home website of him singing (trying) Christmas carols but the shell of a human being was hard to recognise as the Bro Kevin of our youth. He was a broken man before the dementia set in. Over the last 20 years he lost everything. When the first rumours about allegations of perversion reached the village in Suffolk in which he lived it brought with it abuse and intimidation from the local youths. His house was attacked and windows broken occasionally and after a couple of years he was compelled to sell up and move to Ipswich. The DLS and other powers-that-be distanced themselves from him and this pushed him over the edge.
5)The DLS should have reported Kevin to the police, probably at several stages in his life.
Especially as they knew the truth before he became ill, judging by their response to NW1. But it is NOT for the DLS to excuse his behaviour, whatever his state of health. That is for the police to decide. Distancing themselves from Kevin is also not enough.
Now it’s too late, but if the DLS – knowing what they did about Kevin – had reported him to the police a decade or more ago, he could have stood trial.
6) I’m sure the DLS will have a file on Kevin.
If there is evidence in the file, then a question an Investigator must ask is why wasn’t the file acted upon before as I’ve described.
7) Why the DLS appointed Brother Kevin as a Headmaster of Oak Hill, in charge of younger boys, is a matter of especial concern.
They knew he was a paedophile – using the De La Salle ratline to France earlier in his career – but they still put temptation his way, which he took full advantage of.
You have such great and detailed memories, I hope you won’t mind me putting them in their own blog post. I believe in full transparency, something I was personally denied as a kid by the Catholic system. So fire away without risk of censorship.
Everyone’s experience is different and, just as I have no doubt your recollections are true, I think you might assume that the recollections of others, including myself, are also true. Many of us haven’t met since school days yet our recollections dovetail with each other. And what would we possibly gain by lying or exaggerating? You only have to look at the number of De La Salle Brothers who have faced the courts for abuse to see it’s most unlikely we are fantasising or guilty of misandry. Brothers like Solomon (who you’d have missed) were so notorious there are endless accounts of him as an abuser, including when he returned as a lay teacher after your time. Thanks to Solomon I have a deep love of classical music, but – as a day boy – I luckily escaped his predations.
Like you, I have positive memories of Brother James as a maths teacher. I was so thick where maths were concerned, but he knew how to get through to dense kids like me. I admired his zeal, too, as you describe below. I think I saw him as a kind of role model, even a father figure. But there was another darker side to him, not just his well-known psychotic anger. This darker side also needs recording – particularly for those of us who experienced it.
So many survivors suppress their truth and could be discouraged to come forward by scepticism such as in your posts. I hope not. Only by acknowledging the truth does it set us free.
I notice from your previous post and this one that you’re personally very critical of Brother Elwin. I wish i could remember him better – rimless square glasses, looked like an intellectual, rather aloof? It feels like you were personally ‘burned’ by him, just as other old boys were burned by other brothers.
Because nothing awful happened to you or people you knew, doesn’t mean it couldn’t possibly happen to others. Predators often go for kids who are vulnerable in some way. That may be why you escaped and others didn’t.
I think this site and others like it are a valuable catharsis for survivors. I know this to be true from their responses to me in private e-mails. Most of the brothers are now dead or infirm, but the terrible damage they caused lives on in the survivors and this site provides a useful outlet for our anger, pain and grief.
Judging by recent private correspondence with old boys, I suspect there is much worse to come from other survivors.
At school many of us were forced to keep our mouths shut about what was really going, I certainly was. This site is a way for us all to speak out to ensure the DLS Brothers’ past crimes are well known.
However, I realise there’s also a positive and human side to many of them who, like you, I admired and this is worth noting too. So do please carry on with your critique.
The proprietor of this blog having kindly published my above and not altogether in agreement with the tenor of this blog comment and I having had the opportunity to re-read the various comments on this and other threads thought that I might trusting not to try his patience too much make a few further comments which I trust might be of general interest:
1. My own late little brother who left some lengthy autobiographical writings and who attended both Oak Hill and Birkfield as a border does not once mention violence or sexual behaviour by the monks although when as a nine-year-old he broke his collar bone whilst skating during the long winter of ’63 and doing so where he was not supposed to skate he was in mortal fear of their anger: For twenty four hours yet in great pain he failed to seek medical help for his injury and his injury only came to light when some other boy went to the monks. My parents should have sued the order in Tort for negligence but they came from a generation where any person in a position of authority was seen as beyond criticism. My brother does write that once in an Ipswich cinema a stranger (male) attempted to touch him-up. I am certain that had my brother been aware of inappropriate monk behaviour he would have written of it.
2. I refer to Brother Kevin who first taught me some French (the language, I mean). Once aged eleven or twelve I managed to overturn a desk on to my right foot exacerbating a previous injury to my middle toe. I am not sure why i did not attend sick-bay but he assisted me in his room in the 55 wing (which I do not recall as having any visual access to the dormitories – it being across the corridor). He having patched my foot and far from cross with me as he might have been for my foolishness lent me his right bedroom slipper, my own right shoe now being too small given the bandaging to my foot. He asked that I return the slipper in due course. I never did yet I do not know why i did not do so.
3. In the Sixth form I sat next to a boy whom I will not name but with whom I became friends and who joined the school following his expulsion from another local school. He did not and would not give the reason for the expulsion. We all of course assumed what that reason must have been. Is this not to the credit of the La Salles?
4. The school was very violent, yet most violence was boy on boy and it was other boys – bigger, older – that terrified me (as an eleven year old) far more than the monks. Whether it was any different from other schools I cannot say.
5. In my year there were two boys loathed and detested by the remainder of us – they should have been expelled. Both were predatory homosexuals – and I do not for one second believe that propensity was caused by the monks. As a result they were on the receiving end of boy violence. A third boy who I also much disliked was I learnt much later of the same persuasion.
6. In the media, Headmasters can do no wrong yet in the early 1970s a couple of the Dailies (the Mail and Express, I think) ran articles criticising Elwin Gerard. He, of course, doubled-down and having the support of the order ignored the criticism. I forget what it was that had incensed the press. Haircuts?
7. A year younger than me was a boy by the name of George Phillips. He was likable, slightly overweight and had just passed eleven O’levels and as such was a shoe-in for Oxbridge and probably also Head Boy. One day at the beginning of term Elwin Gerard passing him ordered Phillips to get a haircut – not that his hair was in any sense long. Phillips refused and on the spot Phillips was expelled. I appreciate that a head master can not allow his authority to be treated lightly but this was stupidity on the part of Elwin Gerard – especially as Phillips was his star pupil. Happily for him Phillips had the support of his parents who he explained to me were increasingly concerned about Elwin Gerard’s running of the school. St Joseph’s loss would have been the gain of some Six-form academy.
8. One day Elwin Gerard came into class somewhat speechless and informed us that he had just interviewed the mother of a boy named Masters and that the said mother had then accused Elwin Gerard of sexually assaulting her. None of us boys believed such an obviously insane accusation.
9. The regrettable arrival of girls at the school also produced a Nun and this nun seemed to spend inordinate amounts of time in the physics Lab with a monk – Cecil?. Were they? We thought so. On the arrival of the first batch of four girls it was only a day or so before one of the four girls found her way predictably down to one of the lodges which of course was out of bounds for females. The boys who slept there were of course blamed. I blame firstly the La Salle’s for their stupidity and secondly the girl – not the boys, the La Salle’s blaming the boys for the free actions of the strong and empowered girl.
10. I refer again to Brother James; he was my first form master. It is said elsewhere here that the monks did not care for black people. I beg to disagree: I will never forget (to cut a long story short) how in consecutive weeks I parted with my entire pocket money at James’ suggestion and encouragement (doubtless following yet another blue testimonial) for the black babies. One can never ask for change when giving charity and being shamed by James (in front of the entire class) for meanness was something I wished to avoid. In the third week when again encouraged to give reparations to the Africans I sat on my hands and have since that time avoided all forms of charitable giving. My parents did not pay my pocket money just so that it could be given away!
11. On the subject of money a perusal of the appropriate school magazine will reveal Elwin Gerard (at speech day) berating parents for not yet having purchased his new school uniform and where he implies that all parents are rolling in money as if money grows on trees. I think that revealing as to the true attitude of the (unpaid of course) La Salle monks. Catholicism frequently looks much like Marxism – an ideology of envy. My parents and especially my mother went without for the sake of what passed for my education whilst wrecking the family’s finances.
12. In one of his nightly exhortations – we were then about fifteen years of age – to us standing on and around the Birkfield staircase we were informed as usual that although we were irredeemably bad and hell bound that had we any complaint or information of which the head master should be aware it was our duty to report the matter to him. Some days later I led a deputation of boys to Elwin Gerard as some matter I now long forget was I felt of sufficient importance that it needed to be reported. They always shoot the messenger do they not and on explaining myself to Elwin Gerard I was irate-ably dismissed and informed to stop causing trouble. The hypocrite!
Men are leaving the teaching profession in droves as boys are feminised. Is not the attack on the :La Salle brothers whatever their failings just thinly disguised Misandry?