Abused – Breaking the Silence (Rosminian abuse of boys at schools in England and Tanzania)

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The four-part documentary details the sex abuse of boys at schools run by the Rosminians in both England and Soli, Tanzania. Four Canadians are among those featured in the BBC documentary: Francis Lionnet (Montreal); Wayne Mollison (Calgary); Bill Tierney (resident and former mayor of Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue); and John Poppleton (a Canadian now living in San Francisco).


Response to ‘Abuse: Breaking the Silence’ from Rosminian Provincial

ICN (independent catholic news)

Posted: Saturday, August 27, 2011 5:36 pm

A harrowing BBC documentary was shown in the UK on 21 June, charting the experiences of more than a hundred former pupils from two Rosminian prep schools in England and Tanzania, who say they were mentally, physically and in some cases sexually abused by some of the priests there in the 1960s.

The same film is being shown in Australia tomorrow, 28 August. Fr David Myers, Provincial of the Rosminians has asked us to publish the following response to the programme, showing the extent to which he says the Rosminians have endeavoured to support the former pupils over the past three years (since they revealed what had happened to them) and co-operate with the programme makers. He has also written a timeline, recording all the events of the case.

1. A Response to ‘Abuse: Breaking the Silence’ by Rosminian Provincial Fr David Myers

It is with great reluctance that I write about the programme which was broadcast by the BBC in June 2011. The reason I have not spoken about the programme before now was because I did not want to offend those who were hurt when they were at school in the years between 1954 and 1974.

But now the programme is going to be shown in other countries, I feel that I ought to put the record straight so that the inaccurate impressions created in the UK because of the broadcast are not repeated elsewhere.

St Paul tells us that we should speak the truth in love, and that is what I shall try to do.

“Forgiveness – a funny thing. Is it for me or is it for them? All I know, that when I did forgive, I did not have to rent out to them a part of my mind.” These words spoken by Donald McFarland on the programme summed up perfectly what the Order had tried to achieve through offering meetings, dialogue and sharing. Don explained that he had come from Australia to visit those who had abused him and received their apology. This was the transforming experience for him.

I could give an endless list of meetings, emails, apologies, notes on telephone conversations or on Skype. I could talk about visits, people I met, but all this information would be too much to absorb. A timeline (published below) has been produced of the key events but this timeline does give any sense of the real experience of living day by day the unfolding story.

When in April 2010 Olenka Frenkie rang me up and told me of the TV programme she was planning to produce, of the events of Soni and Grace Dieu. She invited me to take part. I said that I was prepared to do so as long as it was live, or that I was not edited. When I asked her when she wanted to show the programme, she replied that she hoped it would be shown during the Papal Visit to the UK. I confess that this timing rang alarm bells in my mind, and now that I have seen the programme produced by Blakeway and sold to the BBC I think that these alarm bells were justified. She then contacted many of the group and said that she wanted to make the programme about reconciliation. But at the same time she sent out emails asking for examples of penetrative or oral sex.

First of all let us take the title of the programme: ‘Abuse, breaking the silence’ This is a very good title, the word silence, in this context means having the courage to tell their story which had been surpressed in their minds, for some cases for more than 50 years and at last being empowered to speak out about it. But the producers of the programme took the word silence, which I used on two occasions, once quoting the Bible, once quoting Blessed Antonio Rosmini, where the word obviously means being still before God in contemplation.

To tie together these two different meanings and by this imply that I was intending to ‘cover-up’ may be superficially clever but not intellectually honest. Let me give another example where as far as I am concerned, the programme distorted the truth.

They quoted part of one of my emails where the word ‘silence’ appeared (in a letter to Fiona Stourton, director of the company , Blakeway, that produced the programme and sold it to the BBC) but they left-out the preceding sentence, which said: I consulted the whole group to ask them if I should take part in the programme, and that many had advised me strongly not to do so.

(Interestingly enough, not one person who took part in the programme contacted me and suggested that I too should take part. Of course, from the word go, all had said that they did not want publicity so it was understandable that many still held on to their original objective).

The thrust of the final part of the programme was that I was trying to keep the story secret. Yet, when I first met Francis Lionnet and his first companions, who were the leaders of the group in November 2009, the first thing I did was to offer to make a joint press statement with them about their accusations. This suggestion was strongly rejected as they said that they did not want publicity but wanted confidentiality. Again on 8th February, 2010 I suggested to the 43 concerned that we make a joint press statement. But the feedback from them was negative to this suggestion.

The programme makers were clearly aware of my invitation to make a joint press statement.

If my written words were so chopped up to give the opposite impression of what I intended, my reluctance to take part in the programme and be videoed and edited seems to me to have been reasonable.

Finally, a small point, but I cannot really understand it. The commentary said that during the Papal Visit I had changed my mind from being open and pastoral to being negative and hostile. I did not know that journalists could read my mind.

The Producers of the programme were not able to read accurately the written material – including my emails and the archive material of Provincials’ letters of 1954-1974, that had been given them.

Therefore, had they honestly evaluated that material, they could have understood me better, and produced a far more accurate programme.

2. Timeline of Soni-Grace Dieu Events September 2009 to June 2011

This first section is about, Fr Bernard Collins only, Grace Dieu 1954-1958, Soni 1958 to 1973.

08.09.2009 Arrival of the accusations concerning Fr Bernard Collins from Grace Dieu (16) and Soni (9). Long file from Patrick Donaldson, of 25 gathered testimonies from Francis Lionnet, organizer of the complainants.

09.09.2011 Ring Patrick Donaldson and say that David Myers is emailing all complainants with an apology. DM explains that he is about to leave for USA to visit the brethren and that on his return there will be a chapter in Dublin. So full attention will be given to this on his return.

20.09.2009 E-mail to the 25, acknowledging the receipt of the accusations and first apology from Fr David Myers.

Fr Myers offers to visit the accusers where they live.

Addresses were requested to that they could also receive a written letter. These signed letters were posted to each individual.

05.11.09 David Myers (DM) and Chris Fuse (CF) meet at Porthcawl for reading the file about B.Collins only.

06.11.09 onwards: Letters to Safeguarding Offices of Nottingham (Diocese in which Grace Dieu is located) and Arundel and Brighton (where Derryswood is located) and telephoned both Bishop Kieron Conroy and Bishop Malcolm McMahon and Bishop John Arnold.

06.11.2009 A search of the Archives of Provincials’ letters to Fr General 1956 – 74. Regarding every time B.Collins’ name was mentioned. Eleven pages were sent to Patrick Donaldson, Piers Brogan, Donald McFaul and Francis Lionnet for them to study before the meeting.

16-18.11.09 Meeting with representatives of the group at Ely Place – Patrick Donaldson, Francis Lionnet, Piers Brogan, Donald McFaul.

18.11.2009 DM informs the Organisers that all their accusations have been forwarded to Nottingham Diocese and he suggests that we prepare a Press Statement. This suggestion was rejected by the representatives, who wanted confidentiality.

18.11.09 Fr David Myers and Chris Fuse go to Derrys Wood to meet Bernard Collins, tell him about the meeting and present him with the accusations.

18.11.2009 Bernard Collins dictates an apology about his physical violence

19.11.09 DM has second meeting at DW, after this Bernard Collins dictates an apology about the sexual nature of this violence.

19.11.09 FL sends Swiftcode for payment £5,000 sent

19.11.09 Agreed statement from the meeting was confirmed by email:

No press statement by request.

Promises made to the representatives,

1) to meet and inform the Governors of Ratcliffe College. (Fr Myers met them on 02.02.2010)

Then to meet and inform the Governors of Grace Dieu (on 01.03.2010)

2) Inform the Brethren, (Meeting in Ireland 22.03.2010),

(Meeting in UK at Salisbury 22.06.2010) [details below].

3) Inform the major superiors of the Order in Rome, (13.04.2010), Easter 2011.

4) Give access to their accountants (Michael Ghersie and Michael Sheridan) to contact Buzzacott about Rosminian accounts.

6) Fr General has put two of the brethren to work on the Archival material at Stresa concerning Grace Dieu and Soni 1954 to 1974.

7) Any of the members could be contacted by David Myers on Skype. The response on Skype of reconciliation. (This led to 24 individuals contacted by Skype conversations, and 10 individuals by telephone and email. Some of these conversations are still active).

22.11.2009 Arundel Brighton CPO letters concerning B Collins

22.11.2009 Nottingham Diocese CPO concerning B Collins

30.11.2009 DM gathers assistance and advice from Fr Robert Moreland SMA. Fr Brendan Callaghan SJ. Bishop John Arnold and Bishop Malcolm McMahon.

03.12.2009 Further Questions from Pierce Brogan

05.12.09 Reply to Further Questions

This section: Accusations concerning three other brethren

06.12.2009 Soni accusations numbering 26. This involved 19 new individuals making accusations (as some had been in the first contact list in September) concerning Fr B Colllins, Br D Rayner, Fr Kit Cunningham, Br B Jackson, arrive while David Myers is in Italy.

09.12.2009 DM returns to UK

10.12.2009 DM phones Bishop John Arnold about Fr. Kit Cunningham and Soni.

10-11.12.2009 DM speaking to Kit with Fr Chris Fuse about the accusations.

23.12.2009 Skype conference DM, CF in contact with members from Australia and USA

29.12.09 Asking for addresses for letters to go out to send apologies to those with accusations concerning Soni, 1954-74 Fr B Collins, Fr D Rayner, Fr K. Cunningham, Fr B Jackson.

30.12.2009 Email from John Creedon, Nottingham CPO has informed statutory authorities, about B.Collins. They will take no further action.


06.01.10 CF sends end 2009 of year report to Catholic Safeguarding Advisory Services.

Phone conversation about the correct number in a year group.


No comment about offering assistance.

06.01.2010 David Myers with Fr B Cuddihy and Fr Chris Fuse speak with Fr D Rayner about accusations

11.01.2010 DM in London to see Fr Kit Cunningham

14.to 23.01.2010 DM at Derryswood with B.Collins for his recorded statements. Also speaking to B Jackson and D Rayner.

20.01.2010 CF letter to Westminster CPO, Mr Peter Turner, containing extracts concerning K Cunningham only.

20.01.2020 CF letter to Nottingham CPO concerning Soni accusations: Collins, Rayner, Jackson

21.01.2010 Fr Jackson’s letters to accusers

26.01.2010 Fr Bernard Collins and his statements typed

29.01.2010 Mr. Peter Turner, Westminster Diocese CPO phones Fr Chris Fuse to seek clarification on the review boards used by the Rosminians and reference to the statutory authorities. Indicated that Bishop John Arnold would agree a statement with Fr D Myers.

01.02.2010 Bernard’s letters of apology to individuals, recorded and later typed out.

02.02.2010 Fr Myers informs the Governors at Ratcliffe College

05.02.2010 Fr Cunningham and letters of apology.

05.02.2010 Fr Cunningham and the MBE in his general letter

06.02.2010 MBE posted to palace according to instructions.

07.02.2010 Fr Myers goes to Stresa to check the work on the Archives.

08.02.2010 Fr Myers writes to all the group and in para.6 is about to prepare a press-release for the Order. He is discouraged by the group from releasing it.

11.02.2010 A conversation reported by email from Old Ratcliffian Dinner. The turning of the tide towards compensation

27-28.02.2010 A Meeting offered by Fr D Myers with Donald McFarland, Alan Danvers. Such a meeting was to give accusers the opportunity to meet the offenders.

They met Fr Bill Jackson at Ely Place and Fr Kit Cunningham at Tite Street.

27.02.2010 Agreement drawn up. Concerning these headings.

Acknowlegement of the complaint

Sanctions imposed upon the accused

Promise of investigation into the causes

Responsibilities for Soni to be investigated

The genesis of the school to be investigated

The biographical details of the accusers

Measures to prevent future abuse

Compensation, recognizing that some are seeking compensation. The search for mutually agreed terms.

Future meetings with the accused were agreed

27.02.2010 Donald McFarland agrees the report of the meeting

28.02.2010 Donald McFarland meets Bill Jackson, Kit Cunningham with Alan Danvers.

03.03.2010 Mr. Charles Foulds invites any of the abused to visit today’s Grace Dieu School

03.03.2010 DM instructed by Alex Wilson to communicate only through himself and Piers Brogan.

DM replies that he will continue to communicate directly unless individuals ask him not to.

06.03.2010 DM writes to all concerning a Project in Africa as a symbol of Rosminian failures.

07.03.2010 DM sends 22 pages of information to cover the main communications to date to all (now 43) members from Grace Dieu and Soni. Including personal letters of apology from B Collins, D Rayner, K Cunningham, B Jackson.

10.03.2010 DM and Peter Turner CPO Westminster, visit Fr Kit Cunningham and sign the Covenant of Care.

22.03.2010 Meeting in Ireland for information and Inset on Safeguarding. Facilitated by Brother Michael Heffernan CFC. Reports of this meeting sent to all complainants.

13.04.2010 Rome Major Superiors Safeguarding Inset Fr Dermot McCaul

21.04.2010 DM sends Minutes of Rome meeting to all complainants from GD and Soni.

26.04.2010 Pierce Brogan agrees to use of material in Safeguarding Inset in the future. Appreciates our ‘Transparency which stands out as a beacon of light.’

26.04.2010 Prepared statements Jim McDonnell

26.04.2010 Email from Olenka Frenkie desire to make TV programme in time for Papal Visit. DM agrees to take part as long as he is ‘live’ or unedited.

22.06.2010 Sarum meeting Province Safeguarding Inset led by Fr Brendan O’Callaghan SJ

This section: Leading up to the TV programme

07.09.2010 DM sends all an anniversary letter updating the situation

17.09.2010 Email Receive Legal claim from Uppal Taylor

20.09.2010 Advice from Jesuits about solicitor, fulfilling promise not to seek legal advice before the group did.

30.09.2010 Meet to get advice from Solicitor Jerry Hawthorne

Pothecary Witham Wells

Getting advice from Publicist Dr McDonald.

01-03.10.2010 Fr. Myers visits the USA for reconciliation with a former student of Soni.

06.12.2010 Further contact from Olenka Frenkie

23.12.2010 Letter dated from Fiona Stourton inviting DM to take part in TV programme about Reconciliation. Invitation to meet. Opened on 28.12.2010.


06.01.2011 DM informs the group about programme and asks if he should take part.

11.01.2011 Meet Fiona Stourton at Ely Place with Fr Brian Cuddihy.

Fiona asks Fr Myers to speak about the ‘wonderful’ work he has done on reconciliation. His five questions about editorship were all answered in the negative. DM said that he would consult the group about their advice.

After Fr Brian Cuddihy left, DM told Fiona that he had informed every journalist who contacted him that Fr Kit had returned his MBE because of accusations made from his time at Soni. Although they did not publish this fact in Fr Kit’s obituaries.

Group reply: only a few suggest DM take part. The others who replied are very hostile to the idea. None of those who promoted the programme suggested that DM should take part in it.

13.01.2011 DM to Fiona that he will be saying Requiem Mass for Kit Cunningham in London

20.01.2011 DM letter to all, followed their advice not to appear in the programme.

{this email appeared in the TV programme. It had blacked out the key words that DM was very strongly advised not to take part in the programme. So the word ‘silence’ was used to imply a cover-up}

13-15.02.2010 Fr Myers visits Denmark for reconciliation with a former student of Soni.

03.03.2011 Fiona indicates that the programme will accuse the Rosminians of a cover up over moving Bernard Collins.

25.04.2011 Irish Region Safeguarding Training Day with Sr Collette Stephenson and Mrs Teresa Devlin

20.06.2011 Abuse. Breaking the Silence TV broadcast

27.06.2011 DM answers The Universe on ten issues.

07.07.2011 Catholic Herald prints a statement from some of the victims that the Rosminians were not involved in ‘cover-up’.

02.08.2011 DM publishes Telegraph ‘draft’ obituary written by David Tristram-Davies about Kit Cunningham. This draft states that he returns his MBE because of sexual accusations from his time at Soni. This statement was removed by Editors, before publication, the following day.

For background information with links to earlier reports and comments, see: ICN 22 June 2011 Viewpoint – Breaking the Silence http://www.indcatholicnews.com/news.php?viewStory=18499 


Member Opinions:

By: exSoniinmate on 8/29/11
I had sought an apology from the Rosminian order involving the issues involved in attending St Michael’s after having read detailed testimonies. My aim was that I didn’t want the story of the scandal at St Michael’s School, Soni to be covered up. It was important to me that the story be public to expose the scandal & that it be available as a historical record.

I thereafter requested the order issue a press release which was eventually only done nearly two years later after the BBC1 aired the documentary. Herewith evidence of the opening remark per a letter dated 08 FEB 10 from Fr Myers QUOTE “I am about to prepare a press-release for the Order. It might be possible to do a joint one together. Obviously I would prefer if the sad story remain private. It would be a pity that the Grace Dieu and Ratcliffe of today should be harmed in the good work that they are doing, if the story became public. But this is your call.” UNQUOTE.

This does not square with the apology issued by the Rosminians subsequent to the June 2011 airing by BBC1 of the documentary, the relevant section of which has been given here: QUOTE  “On 8th February 2010, writing to all those who had contacted me about abuse, the email concluded, saying that if they wanted to issue a press release, it was “their call”. In response, one of the leaders of the survivors’ group said explicitly that they did not want any press involvement. This position had not changed when Fr. Kit Cunningham died in December 2010. When obituaries were being written about Fr Cunningham I responded truthfully to those journalists who contacted me who had heard the story that he had returned his MBE. I confirmed that he had, and the reasons why. However, the newspapers concerned chose not to publicise this.” UNQUOTE.

Therefore, it appears that Fr. Myers paid heed to “one of the leaders” (Was it one from the Grace Dieu complainants or one from the Soni complainants? ) not to involve the press, but not to specific individuals such as myself, who had direct line of communication with him. In any case, no “leader” had independent sanction to negotiate this critical component of process. I am aware that complainants of Fr. B. Collins had asked the Rosminians the following question in DEC10: QUOTE What, if any, announcements are the Order proposing to make about BC’s behaviour and recent disciplining to its own (i) members, (ii) parishioners, (iii) school trustees and governors, (iv) old boys/girls Associations, and (v) the general public through your web site? UNQUOTE

In his ICN article of 27AUG11, Fr. Myers states that on 08FEB10 he was about to prepare a press-release for the Order, but he was discouraged by the group from releasing a press release. I cannot trace a group request of the nature described in my archives, nor do I recall “the group” having discouraged Fr. Myers from his original aim. On the contrary, I had encouraged Fr. Myers to issue one such item.

Given that this story appeared to be being hidden due to the reluctance of the Rosminians to publically disclose their dark past, I then contacted the BBC in March 2010 and provided the leads that resulted in the commissioning of the documentary. I would not have been motivated to have done so, if the correct facts & accurate details had been given in a Rosminian press release, as I had originally requested.

Fr. Myers has recently advised that he did inform David Twiston-Davies of the Daily Telegraph, but mentioned no other names to whom he passed such details regarding Fr. Cunningham. There is no tangible evidence available that I am aware of that Fr. Myers disclosed details of Fr. Cunningham’s admitted paedophilia at Soni to members of the press. Otherwise, why would the admitted criminal behaviour have been overlooked or ignored by several members of the relevant press corps, who had written glowing obituaries.

By: josephine on 9/15/11
Producer Olenka Frankiel responds

After the broadcast of Abused Breaking the Silence on BBC 1 on June 21st 2011, the Father Provincial of the Rosminian Order, David Myers apologised on the Order’s website and acknowledged his inadequate response to victims of undisputed sexual and physical abuse of boys at Rosminian schools in England and Tanzania. Yet months later he has used your website to deny that he concealed the truth from the public.

As the author of the film I stand by all its claims. And I refute categorically that Father Myers ever accepted our invitation to be interviewed on any terms at all. He was offered a live and unedited appearance on Radio 4’s Sunday programme which he also refused.

The film shows that on January 12th 2011, the Order, under the leadership of Father Myers, held a Memorial Mass for a priest he knew had privately admitted, in writing, not just his own sexual abuse of boys but also his failure to stop other priests’ abuse of boys. Father Myers celebrated that Memorial Mass at St. Etheldreda’s without informing parishioners of the truth and without correcting the depiction in thee national newspaper obituaries of Father Kit as a priest with an untarnished reputation, a matter of great distress to his victims.

Father Myers had known of Father Kit Cunningham’s admissions (not just allegations) for over a year but had consistently failed to inform the public or parishioners of this.

He claims to have told one journalist David Twiston Davies the full truth and blames him for not publishing the story. But it is Father Myers’ duty as Father Provincial to inform the public of what he knew at first hand, not to outsource this duty to journalists of his choice and then blame them for failure to publish. He refused to take part in the programme but he could have informed the public himself by posting a statement on the Rosminian website at any time before our film aired. He did not. He preferred to “wait in silence”

The truth would never have been known without our film. This is the issue and forces the question – how many other similar cases are concealed in this way?

Of course, there are some who may prefer not to know – or for the truth to remain concealed. But for the Catholic Church, “waiting in silence” cannot be a legitimate or sustainable policy. Father David Myers also claims that he had informed the Rosminian Brethren, as well as Bishop John Arnold who advises the Archbishop of Westminster on these matters. This is something they do not confirm. Indeed their emails to parishioners claim they too – even they – did not know the truth about Father Kit Cunningham’s private admissions at the time of the Mass at St Etheldreda’s on January 12th 2011.

Yes, until the Catholic press itself feels obliged to report the truth and demands honesty, openness and accountability from its own leaders, as promised by Archbishop Vincent Nichols on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show last March, the scandals and mistrust which have blighted the Church throughout these clerical abuse scandals will not be purged and the faithful will continue to be the most betrayed.

The buck stops with the Catholic hierarchy – whether it is the Order’s superior, its Father General James Flynn in Rome, or the Archbishop based in England. While they allow such misguided leadership of an Order – the cost is the credibility of the Church.

Olenka Frenkiel
BBC producer
Abused Breaking the Silence


Rosminians issue clarification

ICN (Independent Catholic News)
Posted: Sunday, June 26, 2011 10:31 am

Rosminians issue clarification | Fr David Myers,Rosminian brethren,“Abused: Breaking the Silence”

In the wake of last Tuesday’s television documentary, Fr David Myers leader of the Rosminian brethren in the UK has issued the following additional statement.

In response to the BBC documentary programme “Abused: Breaking the Silence” some points should be clarified.

From the very beginning, attempts were made to be open and transparent. Apologies were offered, without reservation on behalf of my brethren to those who suffered. Such abuse was a grievous breach of trust to them and their families. We are appalled by what was done to them. We accept that we have moral and pastoral responsibility to the survivors for the harm done to them.

When these instances of abuse were brought, the police, the hierarchy and Church safeguarding officials in the risk management of the accused were immediately informed. Information came to light in September 2009, of abuse at Grace Dieu dating from 1954 to 1958 and Soni from 1954 to 1974. Representatives of the survivors’ group were invited to a meeting. They said that that they wanted an acknowledgment of what was done to them and an apology, and not publicity.

Regarding the following specific issues raised by the programme:

Fr Bernard Collins. After an extensive and thorough investigation, we have found no evidence in our records that Fr Collins was moved to Soni in the knowledge that he had abused boys at Grace Dieu. Indeed, the records indicate that it was a long planned move.

Fr Kit Cunningham. On 8th February 2010, writing to all those who had contacted me about abuse, the email concluded, saying that if they wanted to issue a press release, it was “their call”.

In response, one of the leaders of the survivors’ group said explicitly that they did not want any press involvement. This position had not changed when Fr Kit Cunningham died in December 2010.

When obituaries were being written about Fr Cunningham I responded truthfully to those journalists who contacted me who had heard the story that he had returned his MBE. I confirmed that he had, and the reasons why.

However, the newspapers concerned chose not to publicise this.

37 Responses to Abused – Breaking the Silence (Rosminian abuse of boys at schools in England and Tanzania)

  1. Hi Sylvia

    I’ve only just found this wonderful site of yours.

    Thank you for playing your part in keeping our story out there. 


    Francis Lionnet

  2. Wayne Mollison says:

    *Hello Sylvia

    I wanted to thank you for supporting our cause and helping to continue to expose our awful truth to the public

    There is also a Canadian version, CBC “Breaking the Silence” on Passionate Eye that may interest you:


    Once again thank you, A soni survivor……Wayne Mollison

  3. rory johnston says:

    *Sylvia, a truly impressive and concise look at “our” story, very well backed up by time-lines and evidence, which carries on showing how the R’s continue to practise “disinformation!” Thankyou.

  4. omar says:

    Cunningham was one arrogant and conceited son of a b!@#$

    Yet another cleric with a lifetime of sexual abuse has gone to the grave without ever being held accountable for these crimes.

    The Rosminians knew for decades; the decision was to permit Cunningham to abuse at will.

    Cunningham was a social climbing snob who ingratiated himself with whoever he thought was useful in his onward and upward “rise”. He got a “tin gong” and a thank you. How English Catholics love being awarded such inanities- Murphy O’Connor of the Father Michael Hill sexual abuse scandal being the most egregious example of this nauseating sycophancy.

    Come to think of it Murphy O’Connor was Bishop of Arundel and Brighton.This is the diocese where so many of these Rosminian paedophiles were and are now located including Collins. He was granted priestly faculties to minister in the diocese. How much did Murphy O’Connor know about this scandal?

  5. Peter Marx says:

    My brother was abused at Grace Dieu in the 50’s. Sadly he died 2 years ago. I’m don’t know if he saw the BBC documentary, but I hope he did because he never got over his 18 months there. It ruined his life. Please give my e-mail address to Francis Lionnet. Chris can’t join the lawsuit, but I can add his name to the list.

  6. John David Armitage says:

    I don’t live in the UK and so missed all the recent broadcasts on the Rosminians. In 1947 , my piously catholic parents entrusted me to the Institute of Charity. In my 70’s now, I still have vivid memories of Grace Dieu. Baldwin and Fox -brothers in those days -beat our tender bums. Once, one beat the whole school. Took amazing stamina, but religious zeal prevailed. In my teens I was disciplined by the Jesuits. Life-threatening once, nearly causing a bike accident.
    In all my adult life I have never experienced the sheer terror of my childhood. Now retired, I worked for several years for the Red Cross, mostly in Africa and Asia, conflict zones or disaster areas without ever experiencing fear similar to that of my childhood
    inflicted by devout religious.

  7. Jan Sterenborg says:

    Why can’t we see this BBC reportage Abused: Breaking the Silence BBC one, any more?
    Is there someone who has a copy?
    contact me at jan.sterenborg at gmail.com

  8. Sylvia says:

    BBC must have removed it Jan. I just checked to see if perhaps the links just needed fixing, but the clips are completely gone. I can try to contact BBC to see if there is a possibility of getting them, but no guarantees.

  9. Sylvia says:

    I checked around Jan – discovered that the links which were also once posted on YouTube have been blocked. This is the message when I attempt to access on YouTube: “This video contains content from BBC Worldwide, who has blocked it on copyright grounds.”

    I have contacted BBC Worldwide to ask if the video is available anywhere, and, if not if they would consider once again making it available to the general public. Let’s cross fingers for a positive response.

    • Jan Sterenborg says:

      Hello Sylvia,
      thanks for your reply
      i also contacted the BBC from Holland but they once responded
      and after that complete silence
      so perhaps you have more luck

  10. Jan Sterenborg says:

    Hello Sylvia,
    thanks for your reply
    i also contacted the BBC from Holland but they once responded
    and after that complete silence
    so perhaps you have more luck

  11. Wayne Mollison says:

    Hi Sylvia, I am going to be contacting the producer of our documentary (BBC) to try and find out what, if any copyright concerns that may exist, and see if we can’t make this freely available, It still needs to be heard! I shall share what I discover.
    Wayne Mollison.
    Soni Survivor

    • Jan Sterenborg says:

      Hello Wayne,
      thank you for trying!
      I agree with you: it still needs to be heard.
      I searched the whole internet and nowhere this documentary was found even not on Youtube because of copyright matters commissioned by the BBC.
      Luckely I found on Twitter the maker of the film Olenka Frenkiel
      and she made contact with me.
      She didn’t know of the copyright things on Youtube but she promised me to send me a copy if she still has one.
      But it would be better if this documentary was open for everybody because its a good and honest film.
      I hope you can do something in this direction
      Tanks again
      Jan Sterenborg

      • Sylvia says:

        If you have any success Jan please let us know.

      • Wayne Mollison says:

        Hi Jan,
        I have Olenka’s contact info myself and shall be in contact with her soon. I assure you this is a topic of discussion within the “Group of 22” IMHO, We the men who are featured would like nothing more than for it to be permanently available on social media to the world public!
        There were actually two different versions broadcast to the public, so depending on where you live in the world, you would have viewed either the BBC or the CBC versions.
        I have copies of both versions on standard CD Disks. I am still willing to duplicate copies, if requested. Thank you for your kind comments regarding it being “Good and Honest” That is a great compliment as that was our intention to tell the truth, no matter how difficult, even if we re-lived it, I cried, even our filming crew was moved to tears. But not as much as we did as boys…..
        Be well Jan
        Soni Survivor

        • Jan Sterenborg says:

          Hello Wayne,
          thank you for your reply. Its good to hear that you within a group of 22. I send you my reply to Olenka. Its a short summary but perhaps it gives you a picture of my involvement.
          I wait on the response of Olenka and when she has no copies anymore i will address you! thank you

          Hello Olenka,
          i am glad you reached me!
          Its a long and short story
          the short story is that I saw your documentary a view years ago
          just after a reunion in 2010 of members of a seminary (Ravensbos in Holland) run by priests in the sixties.
          In the preparation of the reunion the press came with stories about abuse in the catholic church.
          This attention of the press even made me question whether we could go on with the reunion.
          Suppose someone of us… and so on but in my mind I hadn’t a clue that is to say I never had experienced any signs of abuse in my
          days on this seminary. So after discussing this issue with the other organizers of the reunion we decided to go on and it went well no incidents and renewed contacts after more than 40 years.
          After this reunion however there came signs that also on Ravensbos (“with us”) abuse had taken place.
          I came in contact with an old friend (who wasn’t at the reunion!) who told me that he was abused
          by a priest who was a teacher in this seminary. At first he didn’t wanted to the name of his abuser beacause he didn’t want te take revenge on him. This was difficult also for me because my image of Ravensbos collapsed and i came in an emotional storm because when you know not the name of the abuser it could be anyone.
          Later in a small reunion with the abused friend and another friend he mentioned the name of his abuser and my emotions became more quiet.
          They became even more quiet when I connected an incedent I remembered.
          One morning in the sixties when we came from the chappel to the refectory a bell sounded and we all (150 boys and 20 priests) had to be quiet
          and “the chief” of this seminary ordered two boys to stand up. They were caught smoking in the bathroom of the dormitory.
          They were immediately suspended and send home.
          This was a traumatic event
          we never saw them again and we couldn’t say goodbuy
          Who were these two boys?
          the same boys as we had this little reunion with
          so the boy who was abused was one of them
          and by who he was caught smoking?
          By the priest who was his confessor and abuser!
          The picture came round for me.
          This abused boy was already abused before he came to Ravensbos in his home town by a priest who became later a bishop.
          When all these things developed your documentary came alaong and I placed it on my website as a link for the other students.
          It was in my opinion a very good documentary of those four boys, very confronting, intense but honest.
          Now I wanted to see this documentary again to discuss it with old seminary friends but nowhere (i searched the internet) this documentary was to be found even not on Youtube because of copyrights: all films where blocked by the BBC.
          I wrote to the BBC they answered once but then complete silence,
          so luckely I found you on Twitter
          Nowhere this documentary, I got the impression of breaking down the good work.
          The long story I hope tell you some time, that has to do with my study psychology and the search of finding a method to look behind the scenes. (www.ipd-community.nl IPD stands for Individual Psychological Diagnosis)
          Jan Sterenborg

          there came a commission called commission Deetman who investigated the abuse in Holland.
          The bishop and the priest of Ravensbos were found quilty.
          The abused friend became an excuse letter from the congregation and there was a financial compensation.

          Another seminary friend Frans Duijf wrote a book about this Seminary and abuse related issues
          “Commentaar nummer 88”

          ps the only thing I found on the internet was this short fragment

          • Jan Sterenborg says:

            it affected me also because a friend was abused and we didn’t know. There were more stories also from boys who were abused before they came to Ravensbos. And later when I heard these stories I felt ashamed that we didn’t know, we didn’t asked, we were innocent children?

        • Sylvia says:

          Do you intend to post the copies you have somewhere where they can be accessed publicly Wayne? Could you, for example, post them on YouTube?

          • Jan Sterenborg says:

            Youtube will block them immediately

          • Jan Sterenborg says:

            The content can be published on someones own website with the risk of being sued by the BBC. I think this content is for the public domain and belongs to the free cultural room, but who am I?
            So when the group of 22 decides to do that it becomes more firm or the BBC must lift its prohibition then Youtube is the most obvious choice.

          • Jan Sterenborg says:

            Hello Sylvia,
            today I received a DVD wtih the documentary: Abused Breaking the Silence from Olenka.
            With moral support of the group of 22 I will put it on my website for downloading.

          • Sylvia says:

            Wonderful! Would you please post the link here when you have it on your site? That way those who are anxious to see it can do so right away. Once it’s posted I will try to snag it and get it back on Sylvia’s Site.

            Do you have the CBC version? the one with specific reference to the Canadian victims?


          • Jan Sterenborg says:

            Hello Sylvia,
            I think its the other version that was broadcasted by the BBC one
            Wayne will know he has both versions

    • Jan Sterenborg says:

      Hello Wayne,
      I received a copy from Olenka and put the content on my website the link is:
      I hope the group of 22 will support me in a moral way

  12. Sylvia says:

    Thank you Jan. I haven’t watched it yet, but think you are right. I will ask Wayne. Meanwhile I shall direct people to your link. Thank you!

  13. Tanya says:

    It is not only the English Rosminians who will face close scrutiny in the months to come. The English Benedictines will now have to square up to the conduct of one of its own members- the former Abbot of Ealing, Laurence Soper. After 6 years ‘on the run’ he has been finally apprehended in Kosovo. Extradition warrants have been received and I suspect it is only a matter of time before Soper is returned to Britain. Prior to his flight Soper had been interviewed and investigated in relation to allegation of sex abuse at a young offenders institution located near Ealing Abbey. I suspect police will wish to continue with those investigations and may prefer charges against Soper.

    Many curious questions arise in relation to Soper; In particular how did he fund himself while ‘ on the run’ for 6 years?

    Ealing Abbey has been mired in sex scandals for years. The former deputy headteacher of its abbey school was jailed last month. Now Soper. How long can this ‘monastery’ continue to masquerade as a house of prayer. It needs to dissolve itself as a Benedictine institution.

    I wish the victims of the Rosminians well in their pursuit of justice. It is an uphill struggle and puts me in mind of one of Plato’s Socratic dialogues. Thrasymahcus declares that justice is a ‘sucker’s game’ played out by the powerless at the behest of the powerful who have no intentions of abiding by the rules themselves. I am glad to see that the victims of clerical sexual abuse have proved the ancient wrong on this occasion. Seeking justice is an uphill struggle but it is slowly and surely being secured.

    • RachaelOReilly says:

      Abbot Laurence Soper was finally apprehended after 7 years on the run in Kosovo placed on trial and subsequently convicted and jailed- a period totally nearly 20 years.

      There is a nasty little coda to all this that was uncovered at the UK Government’s Public Inquiry into the Benedictine Order and other Catholic agencies sexual violence against children in its care.

      It is the grubby situation of Soper’s flight to Kosovo. He had opened an account at the Vatican Bank and and placed into it the money he inherited on the death of his parents. By Benedictine rules this money should have been handed over to the order, but Shipperlee (the new abbot) did not demand it. The inheritance was of the order of €400,000. The Vatican Bank knew of Soper’s address in Kosovo. He made repeated requests for transfers of funds and wrote to them with his address. The Vatican Bank ignored all requests from the British police for information as to Soper’s whereabouts.

      It took them 7 years to finally have Soper extradited from Kosovo to the UK.

      This should dispel any illusions anyone may have of Pope Francis’ sincerity in dealing effectively with the rape and sexual abuse of children by Roman clergy.

      The upcoming Synod in Rome is and will be a charade.

  14. Jan Sterenborg says:

    Email from the BBC:

    Hello Jan,

    Thank you for getting in touch.

    I can confirm that your case is still active with the relevant teams.

    The team we will respond soon.

    Best Wishes,

    Usha Devi Peri

    BBC Enquiries Team

    • Sylvia says:

      Let’s hope the news is good.

      • Jan Sterenborg says:

        I hope so too Syvia, but I cant think of a reason why it should be different. When so then the BBC is using the same approach as in abuse and that is denial that there exist such a documentary. In abuse is the denial that something has happened. We know now what this kind of denial triggers. Its a mental strain.

  15. Sylvia says:

    Just received this response to my query to BBC:

    Good afternoon,

    Thank you for your enquiry into the program: ‘Abused – Breaking the Silence’.

    Unfortunately we do not hold the Canadian rights to this title as I believe the producer worked directly with CBC for release.

    I am sorry not to have been of more help.

    Best wishes,


    It looks as though I will have to track down someone with CBC?

    • Jan Sterenborg says:

      Hello Sylvia
      I think Wayne has also a copy of the Canadian version

      • Jan Sterenborg says:

        Wayne wrote:
        I have copies of both versions on standard CD Disks. I am still willing to duplicate copies, if requested.

        • David Robson says:

          Dear Mr Sterenborg, I appreciate your efforts on behalf of the St Michael’s School, Soni abuse victims as I too was subjected to a “Republic of Fear” at the prep school that I attended though to a lesser extent than what the Soni Prison Camp inmates had to endure. The size of the documentary is such that I am having difficulty downloading it from your site. If you would care to give me your email address I could give you temporary access to my Google storage so that you could upload it there. Alternatively you could simply upload it to Photobucket and send me the file name and other details to enable me to find it and download it from there

          • Jan Sterenborg says:

            Hello David,
            my email: website.vcr@gmail.com
            and i will try to upload the documentary to you

          • Jan Sterenborg says:

            Hello David
            I see what the problem is:
            the documentary will not download automatically
            in stead you see the video.
            Right click on the video and choose for: save as
            and the film will be downloaded. It will take about 5 to 10 minutes.

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