Thursday, 23 September 2010

Providing Evidence to Lord Carlile

Lord Carlile is conducting his inquiry into safeguarding and child abuse at St. Benedict's School, and I understand that he's willing to take submissions from anybody connected with the school who has any knowledge, information or concerns that they want to impart.

It appears that Lord Carlile intends holding meetings at the school itself. This seems to me to be a fantastically bad idea - any former pupil who was a victim of sexual abuse or other mistreatment at the school is likely to find the thought of re-entering the school very intimidating, especially if the purpose is to dredge up painful memories of past events there. Even parents who have had bad experiences with the school might find it difficult to go into the school to meet Lord Carlile.

I have been in contact to make arrangements to meet Lord Carlile, and I have requested that we meet away from school premises.

As far as I can tell, neither the school nor abbey website has yet published any means by which parents, former pupils or others can contact Lord Carlile directly.

So if you have information you want to pass to the inquiry, but feel that it would be too intimidating either to pass written submissions via the school or to go into the school for a meeting, I am happy to act as a channel, either to pass a request to Lord Carlile for a meeting elsewhere or to pass on a written submission. Email me at

But if you want me to act as a channel to Lord Carlile please contact me soon, ideally within the next week. As I understand it, he's aiming to get his report completed by the end of the year, it will take time to order all the evidence that he has received, and I don't doubt that he still has other commitments to fit in. I can only presume that he's going to try and fit in as much evidence-gathering and as many meetings and interviews as possible into early October.


  1. The School is not a suitable venue for Lord Carlile's meetings with witnesses. I left St Benedict's almost thirty years ago, I have never been back and have no wish to return.

    I intend to give evidence to Lord Carlile and would be prepared to speak to him at his chambers or on "neutral territory" but I am not prepared to set foot in the School.


  2. Instead of appointing yourself as a channel, why don't you wait for the arrangements to be set out. Do you really think Lord Carlile is so stupid not to be taking into account the obvious you are stating? Will anything meet with your approval? I doubt it as you think you know everything, which obviously you don't. Now that high level enquiries are under way into the school and abbey, can't you just let them get on with it?

  3. Nobody is obliged to send stuff via me. They can wait if they choose for the school to publish the means by which people can contact Lord Carlile directly.

    But you might care to notice that the school hasn't yet done that, even though more than a week has passed since it was announced at the Safeguarding meeting that everybody would have an opportunity to contact Lord Carlile directly.

    If Lord Carlile is going (as was suggested at the meeting) to produce his report by the end of the year, and people are going to have the opportunity to contact him directly, don't you think it a bit odd that the school hasn't put up anything about this on its website yet?

  4. Do you get a kick out of peoples experiences is that why you have always said contact me, you can email me, you can ask me, its not about you WEST, I have stated before THE CHILD PROTECTION PERSON AT THE SCHOOL NOTIFIED THE AUTHORITES so let Lord Carlile do his job.NOW GO BACK AND BLOW YOUR HORN AND STOP PLAYING WITH IT.

  5. Jonathan is a thorn in your side because he's tirelessly campaigned for action to be taken, errors to be corrected and lessons to be learned. Meanwhile, you at St Benedict's have failed to address the issues and are concerned only with brushing the dirt within your house under the carpet.

    Jonathan's exposure of the truth has nothing whatsoever to do with his ego and frankly, the sad likelihood is that he has ALREADY achieved more than Carlile's non-independent report ever will. Keep up the good work Jonathan.

  6. 18:17, you may well be right about how JW gets his kicks. JW has not exposed any truths. He has certainly capitalised on what is in the public domain, he has told a number of untruths, among them that Fr Chilman had been arrested. Now he is questioning the integrity of Lord Carlile..........what a complex man he is!

  7. I don't know if Father Gregory Chillman has been arrested, and I know he hasn't been charged, so one cannot currently describe him as a paedophile; however, I can say for certain that he is a coarse and aggressive alcoholic and that when I was a pupil at St Benedict's he was disgustingly drunk in my presence on occasions too numerous to mention, including many school assemblies when he was acting headmaster, and certainly in the presence of messrs Strahan, Nonhebel and Halsall among other lay teachers at the school.

    As for you Jonathan, keep up the good work. We who were permanently damaged by out time at St Benedict's appreciate your efforts. It's ironic that no 'skeptic' has ever done more to damage my Catholic faith than those Godless bastards in the black habits.

  8. Why Carlile? Why not others who are so much better qualified for this type of exercise?

  9. 20.57
    please help me here, what good work has he done?I have read the latest 10 posts he has put on and the comments made and I truly can not see what he has done, he has never backed things up when asked.
    As for your statment I was not there at that time so I will not comment....but I have not been damaged..but what year was it?

  10. Ah - the deaf , blind and dumb Abbeyvista is back.

    Read the ISI follow up report.

  11. Ah, how well I remember the day when Chillman, reeking of alcohol, walked into Mr Thomas's class to explain why that biology teacher who had the breakdown had told us all that morning, over the course of a double period, that the angel of the lord had appeared to him and told him to tell us all to go to church every day during half term... apparently the teacher, who I won't name, had been feeling a little under the weather, which is why he was taken away in a van at breaktime. In fact, Chillman explained, the angel of the Lord had NOT appeared to him, as God does not work like that. But He does, apparently, in His infinite wisdom, condone priests drinking heavily around children. The revolting old ruin then staggered out to the next classroom, to give them the correct line, leaving old Etonian lunatic Mr Thomas to field our questions...for as long as he could bear...until he raised his voice dangerously...and someone asked one question too Thomas begins to jump up and down, banging the desk, screaming, and turning bright red. Just imagine a grown man losing control in that way in a classroom. I mean, really. These utterly dysfunctional people appointed themselves to run children's lives. And parents handed their children's precious, only personalities to them, to destroy at will, because they thought this witless Victorian public school wannabe would instill character, or morality, or discipline. Or something. Something abstract, that had nothing to do with the reality of their children's identities. Anyone remember the music teacher, Gipps, who used to make boys stand on chairs and would then walk around hitting the backs of their legs with a ruler? His catchphrase was 'boys should be beaten on their bare buttocks'.

    Pearce was king rat, but the whole institution was rotten to its core.

  12. Get ready 22.37 - at any moment the Abbeyvistas will accuse you of 'bullying' those you mention. They have no desire to recognise anything you describe. In their minds, those you name ‘could not’ have done what you assert.

    Blind and unquestioned loyalty is dangerous wherever it is practiced, but in schools it is reckless.

  13. I have provided, with my full name, information to Mr West to pass on to the enquiry. Why? Because I did not know of any other way to reach it. Odd that, isn't it?

    And as someone else mentioned, even if I were in the UK and able to visit, I would never, ever set foot in that school again for a meeting. The place was a vile, heartless, perverted, violent place 30+ years ago, and many of the very same people present then are still closely associated with it.

    I'm sure Mr West is not perfect - who is? But he seems to me to be an honest man, acting in an open and constructive manner to bring about change that may mean a better future for a lot of children. Good for him - I wish him success.

  14. I did not return to the school at which I spent very happy times, and the very worst of times. Would I cross the threshold? – No! Because of the significant possibility of flashbacks and other issues related to PTSD could occur. All one’s senses are assaulted by a return to the scene of the crime and of course one of the most evocative memories is the smell of the place!

    The long struggle to get better could immediately return to zero.

    People experienced in child abuse understand this which is why the choice of location for a review is so important. Clerical abuse reviews are not to my knowledge held at the scene of the crime, nor in any clerical settings for precisely these reasons. It is No.1 in Volume 1 of the “How to conduct a review into clerical abuse – for beginners.”

    But here we have Carlile, perhaps naively, thinking that former pupils will return to the location in which they were abused to volunteer evidence. As I said in an earlier post – it is not in the interests of the school, the DfE or the ISC that much emerges from this inquiry and so the choice of location to for submissions to the St Benedict's review is probably by design.

  15. The attitude of people like the "anonymous" who suggests Jonathan should "wait for the arrangements to be set out" is a major reason which this problem grew to such proportions as it did. As an old boy of St Benedict's well over 30 years ago, I can confirm that the allegations are well founded. I enormously admire Jonathan for having the courage to challenge what has always been, and remains, a cover up. The picture is of course complex, but who else will have the courage to do what he does and seek the truth? Who will tell the truth but him? There is a sickness around too many near Ealing Abbey, the school, and those who are so blindly loyal to these discredited institutions that they will turn their backs on child abuse, and attempt to protect the institution, at the expense of individual rights. The official channels are self-evidently not able to investigate the corruption, nor are anybody financing them. Talk about Dracula in charge of the bloodbank.