BROTHER LAURENCE HUGHES

HEAD OF THE DE LA SALLE BROTHERS IN THE UK AND IRELAND

https://www.delasalle.org.au/blog/district-of-ireland—appointment-of-visitor
Bro Laurence Hughes pictured front row, far right, from a photo of St Joseph’s College teaching staff in the 1980s

I recently posted a school photo of St Joseph’s College Ipswich, from the 1980s. As I’ve said previously, three Old Boys (myself and two others) have identified a total of five abusers in the photo above. 

In fact there were six abusers in this era if one includes the infamous Mike Mercado (not present).

This seems a considerable number of abusers for any one group of teachers and has disturbing implications which I have previously written about.

An Old Boy then advised me as follows:

‘Brother Laurence Hughes (on the extreme right of the photo) is now head of the De La Salle Brothers in the UK and has made statements at various abuse enquiries. He must have at the very least been aware of abuse at St Joseph’s.’

So I looked Brother Laurence up and saw that he has spoken out strongly against child abuse.

Here are two examples. The second quote refers to the notorious Brother James Carragher, surely one of the most evil men to have ever joined the De La Salle Order.

EXAMPLE ONE (from The Scotsman)

‘Brother Laurence Hughes, head of the De La Salle Brothers in Great Britain and Ireland, told the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry he would have expected other members of staff to have known what was going on.

‘Br Hughes said he had already met with survivors abused by the congregation in Northern Ireland and was prepared to do so in Scotland.’

EXAMPLE TWO (from an ITV News report)

‘Carragher is a former member of the De La Salle Brotherhood.

The group released the following statement.

“We totally condemn, without reservation, any action or behaviour which harms young people. The behaviour of James Carragher was a deep betrayal of the Order’s mission to the young and of the trust that was placed in him as a De La Salle Brother. He was dismissed from the Order following previous conviction.

Brother Laurence Hughes, De La Salle Brothers

……………………………………….

A different Old Boy from St Joseph’s in the mid-1980s recognised Brother Laurence in the school photo and had this to say:

‘Brother Laurence. An absolute psycho who assaulted a couple of boys in my second form dorm. He asked to see me once after lights out so I combated it by turning into an objectionable little bastard and he then kept away.’

I asked this Old Boy for permission to quote him anonymously which he gave me.

He then added:

‘This is the dude who would invite 11 year olds into his study after lights out. He bandaged my foot once after a rugby injury and was creepy as fuck.’

Other Old Boys from St Joseph’s may wish to share their recollections of Brother Laurence Hughes in the comments here. Or you can email me in the strictest confidence at pat@millsverse.com.

As you can see from the foregoing, anything you wish to say will be kept strictly anonymous and your privacy respected.

It’s also worth adding that the current St Joseph’s College, Ipswich, has had nothing to say on the huge number of testimonies on this site of child abuse at St Joseph’s in past eras.

The crimes took place before their time but the current school still maintains many proud links with its past, whilst ignoring the endless cases of past abuse. This is certainly a cause of pain for me as a survivor and doubtless many other survivors. 

The testimonies prove beyond any reasonable doubt that serious offences took place in the 1960s to 1980s. Often they are related by different Old Boys in different eras yet describing recognizable modus operandi of the same clerical abusers.

KEARNEY SCHOOL PHOTO

Thanks to a St J’s Old Boy for school photo from the mid 80s.

Mike Kearney, sitting, 6th from the left

Mrs Kearney, sitting, 2nd from the left

And unless I’m mistaken that’s Bill Moss,my old English teacher, second row fifth from the right.

My first reaction on looking at the photo was surprise at how Mr Moss seemed to have aged. And how short and suntanned he seemed. And how Kearney didn’t look that different to how i remembered him. He seemed remarkably young and not noticeably obese as one Old Boy remembered him recently. But a big guy. What did come over to me was his energy. He’s not as relaxed as some of the others. He comes over as very affable and likeable. But of course it’s a photo.

I just showed it to an Old Boy friend from that 80s era who immediately identified one of the brothers as ‘An absolute psycho who assaulted a couple of boys in my second form dorm.’

Doubtless other Old Boys from that era will know who he is referring to. He sounds quite notorious – but after my time. I shan’t identify him here.

And my friend added ‘That place was poison’

Sadly, that was my experience, too. There was a third teacher in that photo who was also an abuser. That’s a considerable number to still be there by the 80s. And I don’t think a fourth – the infamous Mercado – is present. It bears out the theory of transgenerational rings established in an academic study of a comparable Catholic set-up in Oz. Like so many other survivors I so wish it was different.

When did it stop?

Or did it?

I remember talking to the Catholic Diocese some years ago about all this. I thought that was the right way to deal with my memories as a survivor. The spokeswoman enthusiastically explained to me how there were strict protocols in place now and the Church had just appointed a non-Catholic social worker to vigorously investigate any complaints. i was reassured for a while.

As you may know, I think the non-Catholic lasted less than two years before resigning. I think she’d signed an NDA because she avoided saying why, but indirectly indicated it was because she had no proper budget and there was great opposition to her within the Church.

So now the Church has reverted to the old system under a new name.

Classic cover-up technique. Nothing’s really changed. It’s just Catholic abusers have to be so much more careful now.

I found the Facebook entry on the same page as the photo – quoted below – quite painful to read because it’s so far removed from the truth. You can only be genuinely proud of the past if you also acknowledge the crimes of the past which have now been proved beyond any reasonable doubt. I cannot believe they are not aware as my site comes up early on the web and there’s also my autobiography which was classified as a best seller. Anyway, here’s the quote:

‘We are very proud of our Old Birkfeldians, the school’s alumni, who provide of course the best example of what a St Joseph’s education produces and the best advertisement for our school.’

If they are really so proud, why not help survivors to expose and deal with the truth, so we can all have closure on it?

Why isn’t this painful subject ever acknowledged?