Thursday, 27 October 2011

A change of tone?

The publicity and pressure might finally be beginning to have an effect. On Tuesday, the headmaster included the following in his letter to parents
we will take into account any recommendations Lord Carlile makes to strengthen our policies and procedures.

But by the following day, his media statement said this:
The [Carlile] report will recommend how the school can implement exemplary child protection policies for the future and will move to adopt those recommendations immediately.

The emphasis in both cases is mine. There is a significant difference between the two statements. The first commits the school to absolutely nothing at all. They could take Carlile's recommendations into account and then having done so decide not to do anything. But the second is a commitment to adopt Carlile's recommendations immediately.

In the weeks that come, we shall see which version of Cleugh's statement is nearer to the truth, we shall see what the Carlile report contains, and whether the school is going to implement its recommendations immediately.

There is however one aspect of the second statement which gives rise for concern. In it, Cleugh states
we have strengthened our safeguarding procedures

I shall be detailing the latest version of the school's child protection policy in future articles, but for now I'll make just one point. In the version published on 22 September 2010, there was a long appendix describing the procedures to be followed in the event of an allegation against a member of staff. That appendix is missing from the current version brought into effect September this year. This is a strengthening?

Understandably, Mr Cleugh would like to consign the problems to the past, and assure us all that this is purely historical and of no relevance to the school today. But I'm afraid that won't wash.
  • Father David Pearce's restricted ministry was set up while Cleugh was headmaster, and Cleugh clearly thought that was sufficient, or at least didn't question it publicly. 
  • The ISI Supplementary report found that the central register of appointments (used to record the CRB and other background checks on all staff) was incomplete. This is Mr. Cleugh's direct responsibility.
  • The ISI Supplementary report also found that the school's safeguarding policy did not meet regulatory requirements. This is also Mr Cleugh's direct responsibility.
Shortcomings in the CRB and background checks recorded in the register of appointments mean that a known abuser could come to the school and the school not realise it. Shortcomings in the safeguarding policy and the way it is implemented means that abuse could occur at the school and go undetected and unreported.

I pointed out shortcomings in the school's child protection policies two years ago. At the time, I got the brush-off from Mr. Cleugh. He could have saved himself an awful lot of trouble by listening to me at the time.

I would much have preferred that the children of the school could have been made safe two years ago by effective changes taken then. It would have saved a great deal of trouble all round.


  1. Kevin Horsey did not only abuse boys, he also intimidated parents as he did to good effect with mine. On one day in 1963 I was given fourteen (yes 14) strokes of the cane in three separate sessions in his pipe-fume filled torture chamber. My crime - sliding in the corridor and missing a detention. Even though I was becoming desensitized to the constant beatings (247 cane strokes in 2 years) this crippled me. It took me an hour and a half to walk the mile home in blood soaked trousers. Only to find that my Mum and Dad had been prewarned and told not to make a fuss as it would look bad for them. Those two years were the worst of my life. I was "fortunate" that he did not find me attractive. Those he did "like" were made to lay across his lap during P.E. lessons and had their private parts fondled. Before rugby you had to stand on the bench in the changing room and a hand would go up your shorts to check that you were not wearing underwear. Underwear was forbidden during sport. After rugby you were inspected again on the bench, naked, to ensure you had dried yourself properly. My only regret about all the recent revelations is that Horsey is dead and cannot be punished. But this stuff should be made known. Thistles never grow alone in a field. To all those who suffered at the hands of these perverts in black dresses: You are not alone! Let's make them cower under the weight of justice. Horsey, if there is a hell, I hope you are in it and that it is a thousnad time worse than you ever imagined.

  2. Too little too late.

  3. Mr West
    stated above
    Shortcomings in the CRB and background checks recorded in the register of appointments mean that a known abuser could come to the school and the school not realise it.

    Mr West
    ISI said
    Under Standard 4C of the Independent School Standards Regulations, the school was required to ensure that the dates of checks are included in the single central register of appointments. At the time of the second follow-up visit, this action had been taken.

    I think you are wrong,
    ISI stated when asked that all staff had CRB check and clearance THEY HAD
    the school can check list 99, but this is a not a full detail check, but you should record the dates when you check. this was not done but confirmed that staff are cleared and had been checked.

    Is it my understanding that they are being criticized for not recording the dates of checks carried out from the list99?

    If it is then please stick to the facts as this blog makes great reading,do not turn it in to another Murdock publication.

  4. I can agree 100% with the remarks concerning Dom Kevin Horsey. Without any consideration Kevin Horsey took advantage of 11 and 12 year old boys in the Middle school....the descriptions are those I myself experienced.
    After 47 years I am now waiting for my Video Interview with the Police......why didn't I do this way back then?..........well I'm sure I'd have never been believed, it would have been dismissed as a mistake on my part!

  5. Dear Editor
    Gosh, the blog and posts are all over the place, people are answering and making statements under a totally irrelevant article. I wonder if it is because the editor wishes to beat 2010 with 102 posts? after all they are on 88 already and with this report due soon that will be worth at least 10 more headings, put that with the promise of the protection policy in great detail that should secure up well over the century, but if you count the comments from readers for each year I would say that they are down on numbers, just as well they don't publish a newspaper because after buying all the copies one would end up asking the church for a handout!

  6. Though I was not personally abused by Horsey, merely the occasional gleeful caning for trivial offences, I do have clear recollections from the early 60's as follows.
    Horsey would habitually make his way into the showers after our Gym class and grapple and pinch naked boys so that their bodies contorted. One boy who was a particular favourite, constantly picked on for this weird treatment, unable to escape and nothing we could do to protect him, subsequently left the Middle School very suddenly. We all knew why. What we could not fathom was that his younger brother remained.
    One of Horsey's other activities, during the cricket season, was to take a chair out of sight into the bushes at the playing fields down by the Brent. He would then call a boy by name and beckon him with a finger to follow. We were all terrified of being picked. What happened? We could only speculate. No-one would say a single word about it. Perhaps entirely innocent, but one must doubt it.
    As for the lark of checking that boys were dry in the changing room - yes, I certainly remember all that. Word would go round when he was on the prowl and we would flee.
    The man was a disgrace to his cloth and to teaching, and the Abbey and school are decades overdue to be exposed for tolerating such behaviour and for their failure to protect the boys in their charge.

  7. How extraordinary. Such brutality, such savagery and everyone - children and parents alike - so ‘intimidated’ that they cannot respond in the most natural way imaginable!

    If any child of mine arrived home with his underpants dripping with blood, I would be onto his school like a shot! But no...just too much ‘intimidation’ around for that. It seems Kevin Horsley will have good company in that Hell spoken of by 14:44.

  8. What has gone on here is terrible. :( I'm so sorry for those who have been affected. It is so sad that the Church still doesn't seem to have gotten to grips with the problem.

  9. Mr Cleugh's reassurances will carry more weight when we hear them from the new headmaster at the start of next term.

  10. 09.05

    Very sadly the sheer numbers of former St Benedict's teachers arriving in court, the continuing shambolic child protection policy operating at the school, the meaningless statements issued by Cleugh, the rolling news about the 'secret' visitation until the Times broke the story, and the impending Carlile report mean that there are very likely to be even more postings as seen today.

    You share one thing in common with us - we wish that this site did not exist but you wish this for entirely different reasons to us.

  11. Anonymous at 9:05 you seem to be the expert where irrelevant comment is concerned.

  12. 09:05
    You've been told before - You really are pathetic!

  13. Day after day this week, The Times has featured pages of revelations about the paedophiliac perversity of St Benedict's and the OSB generally.

    The ongoing unwillingness of the school to implement a decent child-protection is unfathomable. It's clear from reading this blog that the School has actually fought tooth and nail for years to avoid doing implementing such a policy. Why?!

    With so many now being revealed as involved - both in the sexual crimes against children and the cover-ups - frankly the OSB is nothing less than a nexus for the sexual abuse of children. How any parent can send their child to St Benedict's any longer is beyond me. Much less, how they can hold their head up in public.

  14. @9.05

    Re your snide remark on the likely potential of Jonathan "asking the church for a hand out":

    It's the other way round though, isn't it.

    Parents [including Jonathan, previously] pay good money to have their children "educated" at your institution. What have you ever given for free? Except for the unwanted *hands-on* sex education which has destroyed so many of these children's innocence, trust and lives.

    You filthy and depraved old men should hang your heads in shame but instead you come on here bitching about Jonathan and implying his motive is publicity. It is not. If it was, The Times would certainly have mentioned him by name. He has fought tirelessly for the safety and welfare of these children. It's clear that all he cares about. And it's clear he's not looking for any reward, unlike yourselves. Thank God for him. You however, can rot in hell. Not that any of you are believers of course - that much is clear.

  15. Rot in hell? Nah, just repent on your deathbed and you'll be "forgiven".

  16. Re: the first comment, very interesting to read "...After rugby you were inspected again on the bench, naked, to ensure you had dried yourself properly." Didn't Pearce use to say something similar?

  17. Re: 22.19

    Speaking of the devil; is Pierce out of prison yet? Only half a sentence is served these days, so he should be back on the streets by now. And he STILL hasn't been laicised [defrocked]. Lock up your sons, good people of Ealing.

  18. Re: 15.33

    So....'What would Jesus do' on this one?

    "But who so shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea."
    Matthew 18:10

    These words are attributed to Jesus himself, so according to religious doctrine; there will be no "forgiveness" for the crimes these cockroaches of the OSB have committed against children entrusted to their supposed "care".

    As for the part about 'the little ones believing in Jesus'. I know the story of one man who suffered at the hands of the St Benedict's Pedophiles. He speaks of his lament at the loss of his faith, subsequent to - and as a direct result of - the unspeakable wrongs done to him by those at St Benedict's when he was a child. Point made.

    So then. If hell exists; take it as a given they'll rot in it - and for eternity.

  19. @ 22:19

    Pearce is due to be released at the beginning of April this year having served half of his sentence in jail.

    As far as I am aware he is still a priest.