Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Fr Kevin Horsey

John Burke (OP 1949-56) has been in contact with me and has provided me with some recollections concerning St Benedict's School. He has given me permission to publish them with his name attached.
I was at St Benedict's from 1949 to 1956, and even then one of the monks was odd. Dom Horsey once made a remark round about 1952 when I was in running-gear that could have been suggestive, but he never did more than beat me among others.

In my time, a boy who was (a) in Powell House (b) did geography (c) played Rugby (d) was in the Cadet Corps (e) was in the Fifth Form (f) lived in Ealing (g) was a Boy Scout ... would never get away from Dom Horsey at all!

In about 1968, one of my many cousins there later told me that Horsey had been moved from the school to parish work for an alleged sexual assault.
According to his obituary on the OPA website, Fr Kevin Horsey was transferred from the school to the parish in 1965. But he continued his work with the Scouts (supervising young boys) until 1970.

The school has a building named after him. When I told John Burke this, he was highly unimpressed.
Buildings should be named only after saints anyway - quote me on that. Otherwise, it does no good to the dead or the living.
In our correspondence, John Burke initially put the blame for the abuse scandal on the loss of discipline in the priesthood following Vatican II. But I pointed out that Fr Kevin's abuses had largely predated Vatican II, the same could be said of much of the abuse in Ireland that has come to light in recent years, and that I doubted that reversing Vatican II would do much to reduce abuse. He was gracious enough to write and concede the point.
You are right that there was abuse before Vatican II - reading the papal encyclicals of last century, it is obvious that there was a rebellious climate that then used Vatican II to put through its liberalism. ... Use this information as you wish, and even to the present monks at St B's. I wish you well with your campaigning.
I thought that very fair of him. John Burke is obviously a good man who is horrified by the abuses that have occurred.

This is by no means the first I have heard of Fr Kevin Horsey's transgressions. Another former pupil has given me permission to describe his experiences in 1965. And I have received an account of abuses of boys in the scout troop dating back all the way to 1949.

We can now tentatively reconstruct the sequence of events of 1965. I suspect that some parents complained about an assault on their son. The matter would have come to the attention of the Abbot of the time, Dom Rupert Hall. Only he would have had the authority to move Fr Kevin from school to parish work.

I expect that it was an extremely credible account (possibly including physical evidence) of quite a serious assault. In those days, the authority of the clergy and especially the Abbot and monks among the laity was even greater than it is today, so anything less than wholly credible could easily have been suppressed with a threat to the effect that the family risked excommunication if they persisted in an "unfounded" complaint against such a distinguished monk.

The authorities were not called in, and Fr Kevin was quietly moved to parish work. Of course, this didn't remove him from contact with boys, and the Abbot didn't take the trouble to require Fr Kevin to retire from his activities as a scoutmaster.

And later, once memories of these events had faded, the school named a building after him. St Benedict's School has a building named after a known paedophile monk.

The Catholic Church is good at symbolism. I think it would be an appropriate symbolic gesture for there to be a ceremony at which the Horsey Building is renamed and rededicated.


  1. Will it all be in Carlile report? How substantial was his call for evidence? How many of the OP's were mailshoted (yes - that is analogue not digital!) so that former pupils like John Burke were made aware of the 'independent' review commissoned by Shipperlee?

    'What was that.....there was no mailshot to OP's? Truly?'

    When is Shipperlee intending to publish? Is it being timed perhaps to coincide with a distracting announcement from another quarter?

    The St Anselm's gang are being busy boys.

  2. The deviant David Pearce was caged more than two years ago.

    Why hasn't he been defrocked yet?

  3. Is this blog some sort of kangaroo court. Please not - A kangaroo court's proceedings deny, hinder or obstruct due process rights in the name of expediency. Typically, a kangaroo court will deliberately abuse one or more of the following rights of the accused:remember the
    right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty
    right to control one's own defense e.g. selecting one's own defense counsel
    right to hear a full and precise statement of the charges made against the accused
    right to have adequate time and resources to prepare a defense against the charges
    right not to incriminate oneself
    right to summon witnesses
    right of cross-examination
    right to introduce evidence which supports acquittal of the accused
    right to exclude evidence that is improperly obtained, irrelevant or inherently inadmissible, e.g., hearsay
    right not to be tried on secret evidence
    right to exclude judges or jurors on the grounds of partiality, prejudice or conflict of interest
    right to have a verbatim stenographic record of the trial proceedings created
    right to have no interference or undue influence made by external agencies e.g. political or military leaders
    right of appeal against conviction

  4. 23.35 Get over yourself. I personally know 4 victims of abuse at St Benedicts school, 2 were serious and 2 less so - but they were all abused.

    And this was over a period of decades.
    Do not kid yourself that these abuses never took place or that the paedo priests need a fair court. In days gone past they would have been burned. Instead those paedophiles may have to wait that little bit longer to burn.

    In nearly every case they engineered their way into positions where they could abuse boys unchecked.

    Because paedo Horsey is dead does not mean he should be forgiven for the grief he has caused so many.

    Perhaps Fr Lauerence would like to have his chance for "his right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty"? Oh no! He can't because he's done a runner to avoid facing charges!!

  5. Like several folks on this blog, 11:43 is a delight. What he/she writes and the way he/she writes really warms the cockles of one's heart - such delicacy of phrasing, such sensitivity to others, such fine judgement and such luck to have known, over several decades, four people, two of whom were serious and two rather less so! What a joy!

  6. 21.36 John Burke was a pupil?

  7. Why do we not see answers to questions like the above, @22:57? Surely, if no one else, Mr West must know.

  8. I would have thought it obvious. Right at the start of the article, it says "John Burke (OP 1949-56)". He's an Old Priorian, and that indicates the dates he was at the school.

  9. Speaking as someone with a direct OP connection from the relevant era (1963 to 1970) and as someone who is absolutely satisfied of the guilt of several of the monks from the evidence you have obtained I nonetheless have to take issue with the level of evidence which this post has brought against Fr.Kevin Horsey to justify the charge of "paedo". You state that an OP believed that in 1952 Fr.Kevin made a remark that might have been construed as suggestive, you then go on to say that another boy couldn't keep away from him. You then state that he was assigned to the parish in 1965 and conclude from all of this he was an abuser. Sorry but to make such a serious allegation against someone who can no longer defend himself you need to do better. Given that he is dead and that no trial is likely to be prejudiced or any libel action possible, please produce some testimony from someone with direct knowledge of sexual molestation by this priest or you owe it to the integrity of what you are trying to achieve to remove these allegations. Mud slinging and playing "Witch Finder General" in the absence of direct evidence does your cause no good. If you can produce a witness to sexual abuse (and not merely the many pupils caned by Fr.Kevin which was one of his roles at the time) please do so and I will happily withdraw my opposition to this posting.

  10. @13:07 - Hooray for some common sense!

  11. Has anyone investigated the roles played by former postulants and novices at Ealing Monastery? In particular do we need to focus on those who were professed and ordained following their departure from Ealing Abbey for a diocese or another religious order/congregation?

    On a personal note I am aware of Bishop Arnold. He is an immensely able and astute personality. Please do not allow his legal background in secular and canon law to run rings around this critical investigation.

  12. Anonymous at 13:07 said: "If you can produce a witness to sexual abuse (and not merely the many pupils caned by Fr.Kevin which was one of his roles at the time) please do so and I will happily withdraw my opposition to this posting."

    Check out the comments to this post...


    ...especially the one at 23:01.

    Happy reading.

  13. I was a pupil at the school from 1961-1968. I personally witnessed inappropriate behaviour by DOM Kevin Horsey in the shower room at Perivale. The specific behaviour I witnessed (circa 1961/2) would definitely be regarded as abusive in this day and age.

    Should anyone require more details I may be prepared to divulge this information. Please make any request initially via this blog.

    Anonymous may now wish to "withdraw his opposition to this posting"

  14. I am very disturbed to read these comments about the man I knew as Father Kevin. I was a member of the 20th Ealing Scouts between 1956 and 1960 or thereabouts, and I went on several scout camps with Father Kevin. He never touched me, but I remember on several occasions he would get one of the younger boys across his lap and tickle him making him giggle.

    I thought it odd then; it sickens me now. I apologize for signing myself 'anonymous', but for the sake of family and friends I do not want to associate my name with any of this.

  15. I wonder if Mr Burke also sent his son there?
    My brother was 3 years above me, and there was definitely a Burke as one of his contemporaries. The timings don't really match though - I was in the middle school when Soper was the head and Maestri was deputy ...

  16. Oh - sorry - I misread the dates. '56 as a leaving date would correspond pretty much spot on.

  17. I was a pupil at the Middle School. Father Kevin did regular beatings with relish, often PD (pants down). After games he would patrol the baths and changing rooms, checking that we had actually washed by running his hand down our backs. He didn't abuse me, but history shows that abusers target children whose parents are less likely to complain. Ironically he was in charge of Sex Education as well- though I have to say that his demonstration of masturbation (the ultimate sin...) was misleading, because many of us tried it without success. I am not trivialising his behaviour- if as seems certain the school knew about a pattern of abusers and covered it up then they deserve to be brought to account and the victims and survivors need to be heard.