DE LA SALLE APOLOGY IN THE TABLET & MORE

Here’s details on the De La Salle apology as reported in The Tablet.

https://www.thetablet.co.uk/news/14677/de-la-salle-order-apologises-for-sex-abuse

Looking ahead to when Operation Hydrant reports on the DLS, here is a good starting point on:

HOW AN APOLOGY SHOULD BE DONE.

It could be done NOW on the three most notorious and multiple abusers Brothers Solomon, Kevin and James. Because the DLS must already have files proving their guilt beyond any reasonable doubt. They can’t possibly not know.

Making a true apology now on this trio would be a gesture of good faith. It would also save valuable police time and Safeguarding time proving what the DLS already know.

 So here’s a possible ROLE MODEL FOR APOLOGY.

It is a recent example from the monks at St John’s Abbey in Minnesota. Whilst by no means perfect, it’s a HUGE  improvement on the De La Salles apology

So if the DLS or Safeguarding ask, ‘Well, what is it you do want?’ I would say this was a good starting point.

I would urge the DLS and Safeguarding to study it because it shows there can be a solution. Or maybe they know of a better one?

What I like about the example is the FILES of the abusers are made available to survivors. I don’t really want to know all their personal history and medical records, but I would like to know who they were and why they did the terrible things they did. Brother James, in my case.

And when the De La Salles knew about their crimes.

And by releasing the files they are acknowledging the crimes of individuals. So if anyone wants to seek compensation, which is their right, the path is made a little easier and clearer.

I would hope the files have not been lost or destroyed as has happened too frequently in Catholic abuse cases.

St John’s also do a public outreach through the media to other potential survivors which is another thing the DLS could do.

It also makes clear (in the interview below) that the crimes have to be confirmed first. That’s fine and is the work Hydrant I hope is currently doing.

But just as important as the input below– IMHO we Survivors need to make contact with the DLS.  At the moment, I’m pretty certain they can’t be reached. They’re in their fortress, responding only with lawyer-speak and guarded and limited apologies.

Saying ‘We’re sorry, but we don’t want to speak to you, now please go away’ is not good enough.

A key element in reconciliation or closure is to make EYEBALL contact with the abuser or his representative and know they mean it.

After the cases have been proven, I’d certainly like to speak to a DLS brother spokesperson in his robes (not a Suit or a Lawyer) and hear what he has to say and for him to listen to my views. That would work for me. I want to see their faces.

It can be limited to…  30 – 60 minutes max?  And if they fear the call becomes abusive, which is most unlikely as we’re all grown-ups,  well, they can just end the call.

Twenty or more calls (say)  to survivors by Skype or Zoom is practical and feasible. A phone call  – for me, at least – isn’t personal enough.  It’s better than a webinar because each survivor needs an individual response. Or individual letters if survivors don’t want to look at a DLS brother.

But EYE CONTACT is best.  That makes it real.

I think we can all recognise a genuine apology, so it would be up to the DLS to pick genuine and courageous brothers, rather than spin doctors and definitely not Suits. I would hope they still exist in the ranks of the DLS. It may be triggering, but if safeguards are in place I feel it should be okay.

If the De La Salles have no spine to do this, no gumption, no compassion, no time, then what is the point of their existence?

 Although a public webinar is an interesting alternative or addition that would be similar to IICSA and might be recorded like IICSA.  A Survivors Tribunal on line would have gravitas but it would take a lot of organising and I doubt the DLS would turn up! I could see the DLS and their Suits obstructing and resisting a common sense procedure , so that would not be practical, I fear.  A pity.

Sometimes – even now – it seems to me the DLS think they have the power and we are individuals to be treated with impatience or even disdain. Similar to how things were when we were kids and they were abusing us.

As part of our healing, we need them to acknowledge the tables have been turned.

We have the power now.

Not the Suits. They need to talk UP to us. Not down to us.

Not the DLS brothers. They have lost their power by their crimes.

Not Safeguarding.

And not IICSA with its cringe-worthy establishment respect for abusive  clerical organisations unworthy of respect (e.g. Benedictines)

 On balance, individual calls seems easier and  feasible and if it’s never happened before, that’s no reason it can’t happen now.  Zoom and Skype are relatively new so we should take advantage of the technology.

I know 12 step programs sometimes include making contact with someone who has been wronged, so it’s hardly unique.

As I said previously, a true apology would be healing for the DLS, too. It can’t be pleasant living with the constant gorilla of abuse in the corner.

Other survivors may have better solutions. If so, do please say. These are just my thoughts on the subject.

Here’s the link to a better way:

https://mntransparencyinitiative.com/

Below are just highlights of the article and interview:

Saint John’s Abbey is voluntarily releasing the files of monks who credibly have been accused of sexual abuse of minors. These files include the personal letters, medical records, legal documents, and other papers that document every aspect of these monks’ lives. They are being released with the consent of the monks in the hope that their disclosure will help survivors. 

Read an interview with Abbot John Klassen, OSB, on the importance of the files and their role in the abbey’s decades-long journey to help the healing of survivors, to hold offending monks accountable and to prevent abuse. The interview is here.

Certain portions of these disclosed documents have been obscured (i.e, the names of victims and uninvolved persons, and social security numbers).  These mark-ups, or redactions, were made out of concern for the rights and privacy of private persons, and to protect the rights and privacy of victims of sexual abuse.  

The Walk-In Counseling Center in Minneapolis, MN, which has been engaged by Saint John’s Abbey to offer assistance to anyone who may have experienced abuse by a monk of the Abbey. Contact Mr. Gary Schoener. Telephone (612) 870-0565.

INTERVIEW

Is the transparency Initiative something new? Abbot: The name, Transparency Initiative, captures a 30-year record of the abbey taking effective actions to reach out to survivors, to hold offending monks accountable and to prevent abuse. Those who review the files will see a decades-long record of the abbey making public the names of monks who have offended, public outreach through the media to other potential survivors and a history of effective actions the abbey has taken to prevent abuse. The actions have been extraordinary and effective. We know of no incident of sexual abuse of a minor by a monk of Saint John’s in more than two decades.

Why aren’t the files of other monks who have been accused of abuse included? Abbot: The abbey has released comprehensive files of all monks who likely have offended against minors. When credible allegations have been presented, the abbey rigorously has implemented its sexual abuse policy regardless of the monk involved. This policy requires a thorough investigation of the claim by an expert, objective third-party. While some allegations have garnered headlines, the detailed and objective investigation found the claims to be unsubstantiated. The files released in the Transparency Initiative are those of all the monks, past and present, who have likely offended against minors. Claims that there are other offenders are simply false.

How do the files help survivors of abuse? Abbot: The release of the files is an acknowledgement of the harm that has been done. The files share heartbreaking and tragic details of suffering inflicted on survivors of misconduct. We in the monastic community grieve the pain and suffering of those who have been harmed, whose lives have been diminished by the pain they suffered. Survivors will find in these files a commitment to holding accountable those monks who have offended and a consistent record of effective actions to prevent abuse. It also is important that survivors – those who have come forward and those who have not yet made that decision – have complete and accurate information. The files provide that information.

Is the information in the files relevant to others? Abbot: Absolutely. It is important to evaluate the files in the context of a journey the abbey has been taking for the past quarter century or more. The release of the files is not the destination. The destination is defined by three critical goals: First, contributing to the healing of survivors; Second, holding accountable those monks who have offended; and, Third, preventing new incidents of abuse. The importance of the files and their release is not so much in their detail — although, we are hopeful that survivors will see in the detail the abbey’s commitment to acknowledging the harm that has been done and the priority we have placed on accountability — but the record the files collectively show of the abbey’s initiatives to reach out to survivors and to prevent new cases of abuse. What often gets lost in today’s headlines is that because of the effective actions the abbey has taken we know of no incident of sexual abuse of a minor by a monk of St. John’s in more than two decades.

Call for inquiry into former De La Salle school

An article in the Tablet 17th September with the headline as above. Here’s the link:

https://www.thetablet.co.uk/news/14518/call-for-inquiry-into-former-de-la-salle-school-

Good to see the story of St Joseph’s featured in a publication read by the Catholic community. And it’s encouraging to know that the Tablet was interested.

A few details I should comment on. I was the developer of Dredd, rather than its creator.  Brother Solomon – ‘The Swinging Monk’ – actually had a pop career as a pianist, not as a singer AFAIK.

And Brother Laurence Hughes is in his 70s.

The 90 year old referred to is another individual

MEDIA UPDATE ON THE DE LA SALLES

Thanks to an Old Boy for bringing this Tablet article to my attention

Here is the link to the story which is about 2/3 of the way down the page. Dated 30th August 2021.

https://www.thetablet.co.uk/news/14434/news-briefing-britain-and-ireland

Brother Laurence Hughes FSC has stepped down as head of the De La Salle Brothers, a teaching congregation, after an allegation of abuse.  A spokesman said: “The De La Salle Brothers are aware of an allegation of non-recent physical abuse involving Brother Laurence Hughes. This allegation has been reported to the police and is being dealt with in accordance with the safeguarding procedures of the Catholic Church. An independent investigation into the allegation is being carried out. As required by these procedures, Brother Laurence has stepped down from all appointments and responsibilities.” A Suffolk Constabulary spokesman said: “We are aware of non-recent sexual abuse allegations following a third party referral made. Following enquiries, a 90-year-old male was arrested in June this year in connection with this. However, due to insufficient evidence and the suspect’s failing health the investigation is unlikely to proceed any further. A second suspect related to the non-recent same offences has deceased.”

Also:

The East Anglian Daily Times are running a relevant article this week. Possibly tomorrow Wednesday or Thursday.

ST JOSEPH’S COLLEGE IPSWICH SUMMARY. MAY 26 2021

There are now so many testimonials, threads and comments on this site about De La Salle Brothers in Ipswich, Beulah Hill and elsewhere it could be confusing for newcomers and for INVESTIGATORS to make sense of it. So I’ve done a quick SUMMARY which I can add to and improve as time goes on.  The testimonials can all be found on this site.

I believe this Summary makes a strong case for the De La Salle (DLS) Order to be investigated, not only for the historic harm it’s done, but also because it is still in charge of many schools today. The transgenerational nature of some of these crimes means they are relevant today and children could still be at risk. Plus there’s the endless shocking cases against DLS schools elsewhere in Britain and Ireland.  

Old Boys feel free to add anyone I’ve missed or add to this List.

MR TONY HARDY. Lay teacher St J’s Ipswich. Era 1986 – 1990. Sexual and physical violence.  One testimony. To quote from it: ‘Took a cat-o-nine tails out of his drawer. He lashed me about 10 – 12 times with it till I was bleeding.’ This crime was covered up by St J’s, Ipswich with no reporting to the police.

JO HOMAN. De La Salle Brother, Ipswich, who then left DLS to establish BOYS’ TOWN in India. Maintaining links with DLS.  While still a DLS Brother at Oak Hill (St J’s prep school) he committed a shocking sexual assault on a child. Full testimony. There are other testimonies of his physical violence.  Possible connection with Brother Solomon who, from my researches, probably visited Boys Town as a sex tourist. Homan successfully sued media who made extensive allegations about his abuse and exploitation of children at Boys Town. Reported in Times, Mail and elsewhere. These media accounts have now been removed from the web. Glowing obituary by St J’s Old Boy MP and author Chris Mullin in Guardian does not refer to Homan’s crimes at St J’s or to his alleged crimes at Boys Town.

Boys Town charity is now under new management, new systems, new safety protocols, and a likely new name.

BROTHER JAMES RYAN. 1950s to 1980s approx. Endless testimonies of pathological violence. Strongly indicating this man was a dangerous psychopath. Four testimonies of sexual abuse. Teacher at St J’s Ipswich and later at Beulah Hill. Connected to St J’s DLS paedophile ring -see Knights of St Columba, survivor’s testimony. And author’s testimony.

MR KEARNEY. Lay teacher. Irish, spent time in South Africa. At St J’s Ipswich, 1950s – 1980s. Several testimonies of sadistic physical abuse. One describes how he punched a boy in face and was forced to apologise. Also described as a racist, burning a black or mixed race pupil, a claim disputed by a (white) Old Boy.  Work still in progress by the author. Further allegations against Kearney likely to follow.

This man is commemorated with a ‘Mike Kearney Memorial Chemistry Prize’ by the current St Joseph’s College, Ipswich, proving they have not cut links with their school’s criminal past.

BROTHER KEVIN 1960s onwards. Several testimonies of physical abuse. More testimonies of sexual abuse. At Oakhill (St J’s prep school). St J’s Ipswich. St Peter’s Bournemouth.  At least one Old Boy took police action against him. Kevin initially admitted, then denied charges.  Other Old Boys were considering police action when we heard that he had been driven out of his village by local youths for abusing children. He went into an Ipswich home, suffering from dementia, and may now be dead. The Oakhill MATRON wrote to this site to strongly defend him. She herself has been accused of questionable behaviour by an Old Boy.

KNIGHTS OF ST COLUMBA. IPSWICH PROVINCE. The Knights appear to have funded the establishment of St J’s Ipswich in the 1940s and maintained a close connection with the school ever since. The main allegation against them is in ‘The Shocking Truth about St Joseph’s.’ There is more information on this case available from the author. In summary, they covered up a violent physical and sexual assault by Brother James and provided London private hospital care. They paid for the boys’ school fees as compensation and for his silence.  (They paid for my school fees and my brother’s for reasons I am still investigating.) The testimony indicates their ‘troubleshooting’ is not limited to Ipswich and dealing with such crimes has happened on more than one previous occasion. Possibly nationwide. The author has been informed that another province – today – has oversight on the lives of parishioners without proper safety protocols. I also have evidence that any negative report about them – e.g. a Colchester Knight sexual abuser given a long prison sentence – is either not reported or has been removed from the web.  The Knights were provably connected with Jimmy Savile and that has not been investigated.

There is no evidence when the Knights stopped their connection with St J’s Ipswich. Theoretically they may still be involved today – e.g. governors, ‘troubleshooters’ etc.

BROTHER LAURENCE HUGHES. Teacher at St J’s Ipswich in 1980s.  He is currently HEAD of the DLS Order in UK and Ireland. Three testimonies of physical abuse against children.

One testimony where Hughes attacks a boy with a cricket bowler’s ‘run up’ is identical to Brother James’s attack on a boy witnessed and testified by the author.

Such extreme violence is often associated with other forms of abuse. Therefore this man should not be head of the DLS and should be removed as a matter of urgency.

In view of its importance, I’ll quote one of the survivor’s account here. He is referring to BROTHER LAURENCE HUGHES

James Hammett

Does anybody remember the night of my beating by the C**t?

1980 2nd year boarder.

There were double doors into the TV room, he set up a chair on one side of the doorway, told me to bend over it & walked off holding a plimsole, he got to the back of his office and began his run. As he passed me he hit me with all his might and put his hands in front of him to cushion himself against the wall of the TV room – rather like those indoor 60m runners after they’ve crossed the line.

He did this to me 6 times. My colleagues, in bed, way down the corridor heard it all.

I could not sleep on my back for a week.

Now I feel sick and am shaking. I’m a 50 year old man… I was 13 when he did this – he was 32.

BROTHER LEO. Headmaster St J’s Ipswich. 1960s. Three testimonies sexual abuse. Known as a ‘nocturnal groper’.

PAEDOPHILE RING @ ST JOSEPH’S, IPSWICH.  The evidence for this is primarily the Survivor’s post: ‘The Shocking Truth about St Joseph’s’. On this blog. 1960s era. There are private follow ups to this post available to investigators from the author. This is clear evidence of ORGANISED CRIME and CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY.  A physical and sexual assault by BROTHER JAMES. Sexual abuse by the HEADMASTER. Cover up by THE KNIGHTS OF ST COLUMBA and FATHER JOLLY, School Chaplain. There are two seperate testimonies of sexual abuse by Father Jolly. 

Extensive academic research  proves such school paedophile rings are TRANS-GENERATIONAL and therefore this cannot be ignored as ‘historic’. The era when it stopped at St J’s  must be identified for safety reasons.  See my post the Dark Network and https://eprints.qut.edu.au/132822/2/Sally_Muytjens_Thesis.pdf

ST JOSEPH’S COLLEGE IPSWICH TODAY. The school has made it clear that it has no connection with the criminal DLS era. Yet it continues to ‘have its cake and eat it’ with prizes and  proud references to its past and proclaiming on an external sign it is ‘IN THE LA SALLIAN TRADITION.’  Harvey Weinstein made some successful films and the DLS were successful teachers , so to survivors, like myself, that is like proudly saying ‘IN THE HARVEY WEINSTEIN TRADITION’.

That sign should be removed and all connections with the school’s criminal past confirmed as severed. Today’s school doubtless has records from the criminal era which ended late 1980s, possibly early 1990s, that should be available to investigators.

BROTHER SOLOMON aka MIKE MERCADO aka SWINGING MONK.   1950s – 1980s. Endless testimonies of extreme physical and sexual abuse at Ipswich and St J’s Beulah Hill.  Started off as Brother Solomon in Ipswich.  After abuse charges transferred to Beulah Hill.  Had to leave after more abuse charges. Had short pop career in 1960s. May have been a ‘sex tourist’ to Joe Homan’s Boys Town in India. Returned to St J’s Ipswich as Mike Mercado lay teacher. More abuse followed. Left under questionable circumstances 1980s.His resignation letter threatens to ‘spill the beans’ and tell all about the DLS. He appears to have been paid off by St J’s College, Ipswich.

THE CATHOLIC SCANDALS OF 2020

(That you WON’T have read about)

You may well have read that Ampleforth College, ‘the Catholic Eton’, has been banned from taking new pupils and that it intends to appeal. It was banned because of its appalling record on child sexual abuse CSA which was highlighted at the independent enquiry IICSA.

That was almost a month ago with all the media covering it from the same press release yet with no follow up on what is surely the biggest Catholic story of the year.

Soon after, Ampleforth decided NOT to appeal, but rather to try to satisfy the authorities that children were no longer at risk. There is a media blackout on this important development. I suspect this blackout will continue until when or if Ampleforth is back in business.  

Thus the Catholic Herald didn’t report the original ban, never mind what happened next. I tweeted them three times to ask them why? With no response, of course. It’s so obvious why – everyone’s been ordered to keep quiet about the latest events at Ampleforth which involve not just historic CSA, but current CSA.

The only place you are likely to read about any of this is in the Tablet, to its great credit.  Here’s the latest position in a very balanced article by Jonathan West.https://www.thetablet.co.uk/blogs/1/1674/ampleforth-must-get-serious-about-child-protection-or-it-will-deservedly-close-says-this-campaigner

What I take away from this article is there a very real chance that Ampleforth may close its doors forever. 

That the jewel in the Catholic Crown may end its existence and why, you might imagine would already be the subject of opinion pieces, further research and articles in the Guardian, Independent, Times, Mirror, Sun, and Mail, not to mention coverage by the BBC. It’s a huge story. But apart from predictably bilious articles in the Telegraph and Spectator alleging the Church is undergoing religious persecution, there is nothing in the mainstream media.

Why?

In my view, it’s because there is a behind the scenes veto as it brings an important pillar of the establishment into disrepute. So the public must know little or nothing about it. Or if they do, its significance must be seriously downplayed.   

Serious Catholic crimes abroad may be written about, yes, but never such crimes in the UK. So two days ago the Mail covered a case of Catholic organised crime, a clerical, laity, and female (nuns) paedophile ring operating in Germany in the 1970s.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9078857/Nuns-pimped-boys-German-childrens-home-priests-politicians-rape-them.html

It’s the first time, as far as I know, that the British media has acknowledged ORGANISED CSA crime exists in the Catholic Church, albeit in Germany. And with a focus on the laity. So that, at least, is progress,

Regular readers of this blog will see the similarities to organised crime that I’ve written about as a survivor myself. These events took place in the 1960s involving the Catholic Church, St Joseph’s College Ipswich, the De La Salle brothers and  the laity, cantered around a Catholic elite who were Knights of St Columba, Ipswich province.

I’ve cited similar Catholic organised CSA crime in Australia and the USA, including an Oz academic study which proves the existence of organized Catholic paedophile rings beyond reasonable doubt.

Thus far, no academic or media or survivors organisations or the IICSA itself has shown any interest in UK Catholic organised crime because it either steps out of the safe tramlines of the ‘just one rotten apple in the barrel’ theory or because they’re aware of the veto. And they want to keep their jobs.

In case you’re thinking, ‘Well it was just Ipswich in the 1960s that had a few Catholic wrong uns, but they’re all dead now, so what does it matter, get over it,’ let me disquiet your mind.

This year another important Catholic CSA scandal emerged that was barely reported on. Once again it involved the kind of players who featured in Ipswich in the 1960s. Specifically a Catholic school, a De La Salle brother, and a Catholic elite laity in a paedophile ring.  

The DLS brother was the notorious school principal Brother James Carragher now on his third jail term. He’s been sentenced to a total of THIRTY years for CSA and physical brutality. He’s at the centre of the survivor’s allegations, so there’s no reason to doubt the veracity of the account.

The Sun mentioned the paedophile ring in passing and I followed it up in the survivor’s book they were reporting on: The Boy In The Cellar by Stephen Smith. In Chapter 24 Stephen describes the Catholic school he attended as a paedophile’s sweetshop. He relates how the friends of Brother James ‘all wore suits, drove Jaguars and spoke with a posh accent’…. ‘I’d often see men – visitors to the school – sitting on the bench choosing (I presume) who they wanted to rape or abuse… St Williams, it seemed, had become a sweetie shop for visiting paedophiles – a shop that Brother James held the key to.’

Although Brother James is now in jail, AFAIK the DLS order has not followed up this serious account of  Catholic crime, a paedophile ring involving the laity. It’s just been treated as yet another rotten apple case. James is serving 30 years, case closed.

So the laity involved have got away with it.  As they always appear to do. It seems it’s the priests or brothers who have to ‘take one for the team.’

The IICSA also seem to settle for the rotten apple theory. Nothing about the laity here. https://www.iicsa.org.uk/key-documents/16715/view/ERY000015.pdf.   

The similarities to organised Catholic crime in Ipswich in the 1960s is remarkable. The Catholic elite laity I knew certainly drove expensive cars and were professionals. I remember them as doctors, magistrates, engineers and so on. As a kid, I always thought they were ‘posh’ because they all seemed to wear sock suspenders and have different, ‘expensive’ blue and white striped underwear.

There are four organisations that need to be held to account as detailed in my past posts:

1)The De La Salle Order who still teach children today. And whose current head made a serious physical assault on a child, according to an old boy’s account.  

2)The Catholic Church through the Ipswich parishes of St Pancras and St Marks run in my era by three paedophile priests , two or whom are listed as Knights of St Columba.

3)St Joseph’s College, Ipswich, today, which has no connection with these historic crimes in Ipswich.  It has cut itself free of the DLS order, just as Ampleforth is cutting itself free from its Benedictine monk founders. But  today’s St Joseph’s still draws constantly on its proud past and achievements and proclaims its school is ‘in the La Sallian Tradition’. It has never acknowledged  the endless CSA crimes that were committed at St Joseph’s at least until the end of the 1980s. Crimes the college is fully aware of. That has to be put right.

4)The elite Laity in the shape of the Knights of St Columba, Ipswich province. Today’s Knights, who presumably include similar professionals such as doctors and magistrates, would surely repudiate the crimes of their predecessors. Once again those crimes must be acknowledged.

And the question – when did these likely transgenerational crimes stop? –  needs to be addressed by all of them.

The ‘sit tight and say nothing’ or respond with studied passive aggression is the usual approach used by the Catholic Church and it was remarked upon and criticised at the IICSA by lawyers for survivors. It goes almost without saying that this is the most likely response by the four organisations above. It’s served them well so far.

But consider this, gentlemen, If the bell can toll for Ampleforth, it can toll for you. If the greatest Catholic school in the land can be laid low by survivors, then you could be next.

If Ampleforth can go down, then there is hope for all Catholic survivors.