Now that the court cases are lining up against the Salford Diocese and St. Bede’s College, news has come through how one school in New York has found a way of dealing with the problem of child sexual abuse. One of the city’s most prestigious private schools, The Horace Mann School, in the Bronx borough of New York has apologised for more than three decades of abuse committed by teachers and administrators at the school.
A letter on its website apologises for the abuse between 1960 and 1996. “We sincerely apologise for the harm that was caused by the teachers and administrators who abused anyone during their years at Horace Mann School” board chairman, Steven Friedman and headmaster Thomas Kelly said in a three page letter. “These unconscionable betrayals of trust should never have happened”
In the letter Mr Friedman and Mr Kelly said the school had hired a private mediation firm which presented the trustees with impact statements from 31 people who described their abuse. Settlements have been reached with the great majority.
They also said that the school board would eliminate a position of trustee emeritus and create an advisory board on pupil safety, which may include a victim of sexual abuse.
Now that is the kind of response I wanted from the Salford Diocese and St Bede’s College in Manchester when I took up the cudgel against decades of abuse at St. Bede’s in early 2010 and all I got in reply was denial, obfuscation, threats and eventually non-recognition. As the ignorant, foul-mouthed priest and Coordinator of the Salford Diocese Safeguarding Commission, Barry O’Sullivan, said to me in October 2010. “Because I cannot see you, I cannot talk to you and therefore cannot negotiate with you” after he barred me from the process of what I hoped would be reconciliation.
However my argument persisted but all I received was the article in the Manchester Evening News on March 15th 2011 which included what the Bishop, Terence Brain, called an apology but what I and most people considered to be a loose jumble of words meaning absolutely nothing, cobbled together by some clerk in a solicitors office.
Rather than admit the obvious, wholeheartedly apologise and offer help to deal with these broken men, the victims of abuse at St Bede’s, the Bishop chose to line the pockets of already rich lawyers in trying to defend the indefensible.
That was three years ago, we have a lot more than the 31 victims that were at the Horace Mann School in New York, our case is now a lot stronger thanks to the hard work of some dedicated lawyers I was forced to use after that snivelling acceptance by the Bishop and I think the time for loading money into rich men’s pockets should be over. I think the school and the Bishop should stand up to the plate, be men and accept their culpability, openly, honestly and sincerely and do something for this trail of destroyed lives that was their doing.
Stand up Daniel Kearney, stand up Florid Quinlan, stand up Terence Brain, for once in your lives consider yourselves men and stop hiding behind shadows, stop spurting out lies, live up to the precepts of your religion and not the vile Vatican verbiage we have all come to hate.