Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Father Kevin Horsey

The abuse at St Benedict's goes back a long way, and the ISI report hasn't found all those who have been involved in it.

Here is an account I was given a little earlier this year. The OP who provided it has given me permission to publish it, and has asked just to be called J.
I entered the Middle School in around 1964/5 aged ten or eleven. The Master of the Middle School, not known as the Headmaster in those days, was Father Kevin Horsey OSB.
   
I was sexually abused in my first year of the Middle School by Father Kevin. This took place in the old gym during the PT lessons. Father Kevin organised team games and the ‘resting’ team sat on the edge of the stage alongside Father Kevin. He sat you on his lap, in turn, and within minutes he would place his hand inside your PT shorts and fondle your genitals. This occurred frequently during the weekly PT lessons, and to many boys.

I did not know the significance of his actions at the time but have never forgotten them since. I can even remember his baggy khaki shorts forty six years later. It should be noted that for an eleven year old boy Father Kevin was an awesome figure in stature. In later life I would say that my main feelings have been of shame and anger. I have never mentioned this to anyone until this year.
Father Kevin Horsey died at Ealing Abbey on 28th November 2006, and was never brought to justice for this crime. According to his obituary on the OPA website, he joined Ealing Abbey (or Ealing Priory as it was then) in 1942.
Between 1942 and 1958 he taught Geography and RI (as it was then called) in the Upper School, was House Master of Powell and Upper 5th Division Master, and coached the Colts XV; he was a member of the London Society of Referees. He also commanded the CCF from 1942 to 1958 and, utilising contacts in the Irish Guards, he continued his military connection for several years by taking groups of cadets to visit army units in Germany. In 1958 he was moved to the Middle School and was Master in charge from 1961-5. He was then transferred to the Parish Team and worked fruitfully in his district for over twenty years. He had a parallel career in the Scout movement. He founded and was Group Scoutmaster of the 20th Ealing Scouts from 1942 to 1970, and served also as Borough Commissioner for Ealing and District Commissioner for Acton.
What outstanding opportunities to molest boys that must have provided him with! Teacher, Master of the Middle School, Rugby, CCF, trips to Germany, Scouts! For abuse to have been as casual, regular and blatant as J describes by 1964, he must have been supremely confident that nobody would report him, or that if they did, nobody would act on the reports. That would suggest that the abuse had been going on for a very long time.

J's account has of course been provided to Lord Carlile.

12 comments:

  1. So there is a block next to the cloisters named after a paedophile.

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  2. Another Paedophile Priest Headmaster at St Benedicts? Surely not... Given that this takes abuse at St Benedicts back half a decade it makes me wonder whether a Paedophile ring exists at the school?
    I am concerned that the Abbey, who are linked to the school, will do everything in their power to hide this as they are so closely linked with the abusers.

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  3. Sorry to disturb the even tenor of the above contributions, but I'd lay a hefty wager that if one looked into the past of almost any school, particularly of the public-boarding variety, one'd discover a very similar history. There really isn't anything uniquely sinister about Ealing. Though, given its religious orientation, suggesting otherwise does make for a 'better' story.

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  4. Ah, someone engaging in "whataboutery", as if that justified the inaction about what has happened at this school. What a surprise.

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  5. No, 'whataboutery' does not exucuse anything, Mr West. But, seeing the extent of a problem, or indeed any issue, puts it in a wider, different and more realistic context. There's nothing particularly unusual about the history of St Benedict's; that, nothing more, is what we discover if and when we broaden our horizon.

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  6. But this is not the forum for the wider debate. This forum is about what happened at St Benedict's which once all the facts have been placed into the open and understood, will potentially contribute to any wider debate that may be called in future.

    While a wider debate on the appalling safeguarding framework is most certainly needed, I do not know who will commission it. Certainly not the DfE which created it, their grant aided cousin the NSPCC which is complicit with it, or any politician who lives in terror of getting drawn into it.

    So roll on the debate, but don’t hold your breath.

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  7. 14.49, there are some very unusual things about the St Benedict’s situation, and once again your opinion is an example perhaps, of not ‘getting it.’

    There's nothing particularly unusual about the history of St Benedict's

    The innocence of this remark is both endearing and mistaken. There are some very unusual matters surrounding St Benedict’s and to make a statement like yours demonstrates you are looking at St Benedict’s in the most simplistic fashion which is confirmed by the rest of your post.

    I have never known a school break primary legislation and not return Statutory Notifications to the DfE (or its predecessors). Were it possible I would now want to look at the DfE files to see if Ampleforth College under the stewardship of Hume acted in the same way.

    I have never known an Educational franchise (The Benedictine’s in this case) to be so populated by convicted and unconvicted perpetrators that it results in 75% of its English educational settings (before some were closed) sufferering for repeated child abuse.

    I have never known a school commission two 'independent' reviews both of which now lie discredited and unmentioned.

    I have never known a school have a parents meeting about HISTORIC¹ ‘abuse’ at which nothing is mentioned about a then current member of staff who was contemporaneously suspended pending an investigation by Social Services, that is until a question from a parent forced the Head and the Abbot to acknowledge that this was the case. I understand from this blogsite that this member of staff now no longer works at the school. In light of this behaviour by the administration, parents perhaps should consider asking; is this school able to trusted with the care of our children? Why should they ask this? Becasue the school quite obviously from the incident on the night was “bounced” into admitting an unpleasant truth that they seemed set to keep hidden from parents on the night.

    Is abuse unique to St Benedict’s? Absolutely not.

    Always unique are the circumstances in which abuse occurred and importantly, how the administration of a setting handled such matters.

    Bluntly, the administration of St Benedict's has demonstrated its conflicted loyalties far too plainly to credibly continue running the Trust. It is a forever compromised structure. This includes both the Trust and those who are nonsensically described as "school advisors" – oh where were they when needed?

    Who is in charge of the clattering train?
    The axles creak and the couplings strain,
    and the pace is hot and the points are near,
    and sleep hath deadened the driver's ear,
    and the signals flash through the night in vain, for death is in charge of the clattering train


    ¹ Historic abuse becomes historic when all such incidents of “late reported abuse” or long tail claims, have been investigated by the police and the schools inspectorates, and appropriate judicial processes have run their course. Until then the description is offensive and prejudicial to the victims of abuse because all these matters remain ‘current’ until the due process of law has been completed.

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  8. I went to this school in the early 90's and trust me when I say that what goes on at this school is far from ordinary. At least in my time.
    The funny thing is, many parents may assume that what happened at this school doesn't or won't happen today. They are wrong.
    Many of the paedophile priests and abusive teachers who abused boys in my time at the school are still very much part of Ealing Abbey or protected by it.
    Very little has changed, and until it does I would seriously urge parents at he school to re-consider their childrens safety until new robust child protection procedures are put in place.
    Those that run St Benedicts are masterful politicians when "abuse" is mentioned. They will say just enough to tick boxes in order to protect their business interests.
    Sexual abuse is just the tip of the iceberg in my opinion. In order for child abusers to be active for over 50 years, there needs to be an environment in place that makes them feel secure enough to go about their sordid deeds. Until that fundamentally changes I fear many more pupils at the school could be at risk now and in the future.

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  9. 09.38 sums up the situation well. Parents think it will never happen to them and theirs.

    WRONG

    They think that if 'something like that had happened they would have heard.’

    WRONG

    They think everyone from the institution should be trusted.

    WRONG

    As you say many adults seem to think that paedophilia stopped sometime in the past. Unfortunately those adults who suggest this nonsense can never provide a date. But they think that because this subject now has a higher profile the government (DfE) has somehow done something to 'crack down' on abuse.

    WRONG

    Perpetrators need three things to prosper

    1. Power
    2. Secrecy
    3. Opportunity

    Where better than an independent school that has all three of these ingredients in ample supply?

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  10. I attended St benedict's School from 1946 to 1959 (Lower prep to upper sixth) and never was directly aware of any sexual abuse by the Priests or staff. There were very occasional schoolboy rumours. Perhaps this might put the foregoing into context.

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  11. I was a pupil from 1962-66 at the junior school under father clements and the middle school under father kevin. in the junior school my experience was good, but in the middle school during the time i was there i witnessed father kevin touch boys genitals under their shorts , in front of a class. whilst i was at the scouts on a field trip under his supervision, it was rumored that he was 'touching boys' in his tent. he visited our house regularly and touched my sisters breasts, then age 8, whilst my mother ignored this in another room.
    apart from the actuality of the significance of his actions , personally, it was my parent's and the parish community failure and complicit blindness to act on his behaviour. this accentuates the personal and social impact of the actions of the abuser to someone who is normalised. we the victims were unable to respond in any valid way and this is the deepest effect . my father said, ' it went on when i was there, ( 1936-38) , ignore it'

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    Replies
    1. The is the first evidence I have heard of abuse extending back earlier than Fr Kevin Horsey's arrival at the abbey. I'd be very grateful if you could contact me by email in confidence, with any more details you can provide.

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