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Some details from Southbourne below. 1973. I recognised Kevin and Leo instantly before checking the text. And maybe Wilfred was at St Jo’s Ipswich previously. Curiously, Brother Kevin looks the least threatening.
A friend is trying to find out about the Jesuit era at Southbourne when her father was educated there. So any recollections would be gratefully received.
I was surprised by DLS Barry Hudd’s reaction to the newspaper report on DLS abuse.
Here’s what I said in an earlier post:
Barry Hudd, the Head of Safeguarding for the De La Salles, and the de-facto press officer, seemed surprised that most of the brothers’ crimes on this site had only just come to light.
They were ‘completely unheard of’.
Now NW1 – survivor of Brother Kevin – has had a similar response.
Here’s what he had to say:
One final thought: I have recently been contacted by the Safeguarding Officer for the DLS Brothers. My details were passed on to him by the Catholic Safeguarding Standards Agency, with whom I got in touch after seeing your comments on this site. The DLS Safeguarding Officer wrote: “If I understand correctly, you would like to speak with someone from the De La Salle Order. So I can help you, can you let me know if you would like to speak with a senior Brother or a lay member of the Order. If you are not sure, could you briefly describe what you want to talk about? This is just so that I can put you in contact with the right person.” The email reads as if this person has no idea whatsoever about this whole story. It’s like the past few decades are a complete blank canvas to him. The CSSA must have told him something about me personally and the stories of abuse concerning Bro. Kevin. And the merest cursory glance through official records – which he should have had direct access to as the DLS Order Safeguarding Officer – will throw up all the legal paperwork related to my case, at the very least, never mid everyone else’s. Yet he seems completely innocent, as if he knows nothing about anything. Like someone living in a country where he doesn’t speak the language. That’s not a credible position and it does very little for my mental state that he seems to be behaving like that.It forces me to have to retell what happened to someone who should KNOW what happened.It also gives me little confidence that the DLS are willing to go through the process of coming clean which they have pledged to do.
This is why I’m collating evidence for the DLS Investigator so there is no room for anymore of this current obfuscation or faux innocence.
This form of ‘Smoke and mirrors’ is a common defence technique I’ve seen used by dysfunctional people or organizations. It delays or diverts attention.
‘Smoke and mirrors’ was part of the abuse techniques I experienced as a kid. Put more crudely – it’s the bullshit I had to put up with from Catholic abusers, including DLS Brother James.
It’s unfortunate that the DLS today are still using a form of ‘Smoke and mirrors’ on Survivors.
Fortunately, I know how to deal with it and cut through it to the truth.
Comment by a DLS Old Boy which I think is important for the DLS investigation:
I was a boarder at St Peter’s School Southbourne (Bournemouth) in the early to mid 1960s. I remember hearing about an overhead conversation between 2 Brothers that the then Provincial of the Province, Brother Cuthman Anselm had ‘confided’ that if a Brother from any school in the Province had ‘interfered’ with a boy; they would be transferred to St Peter’s and then to the Brother’s school in Jersey. If the Police began asking questions it would be easier to get the Brother to France from Jersey without folk knowing. Goodness knows if this is true but given the times it does seem to have a ring of credibility about it.
The Province means all the De La Salle schools in a geographical area. It could be the whole of the UK. That’s what the Province means today. Or it might have been just Southern England DLS schools.
I’ve been told by a Catholic theologian that a Provincial is the equivalent of an Arch-Bishop.
This account is directly relevant to Brother Solomon.
My clear memory as an 11/12 year old (in 1960/61) was that everyone knew Solomon was an abuser and that’s why he left abruptly, even though it was officially for drunken behaviour.
My clear memory was that he was sent to the Brother’s school on Jersey for a brief period BEFORE going on to Beulah Hill.
We boys thought it was a reformatory for abuser brothers.
It’s so strong in my memory because at the time we all joked about shipwrecked sailors climbing up the rocks on Jersey’s seashore. Then the sailors saw a horde of rampant De La Salle brothers running down to the shore to greet them. The horrified sailors immediately turned and ran back into the sea. Typical boys ‘gallows humour’.
I think the memory of Solomon being sent to Jersey was so vivid because I was looking for justice against other abusers.
This account is also directly relevant to Brother Kevin who went from St Joseph’s to France in the 1970s. It’s already been alleged Kevin briefly went to France while things cooled down.
It raises questions for an investigator about Jersey. Were abuser brothers kept there in isolation? Or were they teaching children there? Did it have a reforming function or was it just a convenient jumping off point for Brothers to do a runner to France?
And how many other brothers went down ‘the ratline’?
An Old Boy from the school above just wrote in with a recollection, triggered by the post The Shocking Truth about St Joseph’s(my old school) which mentions a Brother Elwin at St Jo’s who I can recall very well.
But to quote from one just element in this testimony I still find hard to read:
I went through the main entrance and climbed the wooden staircase up to Brother Elwins Office, which was immediately above the main entrance. I did not knock I was in no mood to be polite. There was no one in his office but the door to his bedroom was ajar. I heard a kids voice saying “there is someone in the your office” I just flung the door open and there was Brother Elwin naked on his bed with a naked kid of only about 12 sitting on his stomach.
The dreadful nature of this testimony is why I’m urging Catholic Safeguarding to look at the whole De La Salle Order NOW.
Not to mention the modern St Jo’s still connected with the DLS. They can’t keep ignoring their past.
There may just possibly be two Brothers with the same name, I suppose.
Anyway, my somewhat chaotic blog (!) linked the recollection below to ‘The Shocking Truth’ which means it may not be seen by many new readers who are only looking at current and fairly recent posts.
So I thought I should feature it here. I think the post below speaks for itself and requires no further comment from me.
I was a boarder at St Peter’s Southbourne 1961-65. Brother Elwin was Head for a couple of years and then Brother Edwin. I was surprised to be told at the beginning of an afternoon’s lessons that Brother Elwin wanted to see me in his office. He sat me down on the other side of his desk and told me the facts of life. Even as a 13 year old I thought it strange that I had been singled out. I was a boarder with Brother Ives and on returning to school after summer holidays he said I would be moving to Brother Elwin’s house as I was in his choir. Again that seemed strange to me but at least it was an escape from Ives. Brother Elwin was always on duty in my new dormitory when I got changed for bed. No physical abuse occurred but it is only now some 60 years later that I realise things were not as they should have been and possibly I had a lucky escape.