Downside and Ampleforth

The report on kiddie fiddling.

Time and again within the public hearing, the most senior clergymen in the EBC
and in the two abbeys, including past presidents of the EBC Dom Richard Yeo
and Dom Charles Fitzgerald‑Lombard, admitted wrong-headed judgements, and
expressed regret at past failures to protect children. This was necessary but not
sufficient. It was not accompanied by full acknowledgement of the tolerance of
serious criminal activity, or the recognition that previous ‘misjudgements’ had
devastating consequences for the lives of the young people involved.

How Catholic the modern state can be. Only full confession and repentance can lead to the sin being purged.

As to the rest of the report I read it really to confirm that I wasn’t my usual unobservant self when I was at Downside. The allegations there are outside my time entirely, as I rather thought they were. I’ve mentioned this over the years of inquiries and have had emails from various other pupils and all say much the same thing. Contrary to the Ampleforth experience it all started in the mid-80s at Downside.

There was a 1969/70 incident and that was much more about someone homosexual being interested in strapping youths. Leaving aside today’s rules about teacher pupil relationships – you know, the position of care and power thing – it’s something which, if consensual, would be entirely legal at today’s age of consent. This might be many things whether we apply today’s or yesterday’s rules but it’s not paedophilia.

The mid-80’s incidents and on were.

I left in ’81, as did one other regular commenter here.

The thing is, boys do gossip. If “something was going on” I tend to think that it would have been known. Perhaps not among the adults, but definitely among whatever the target grouping was. It wasn’t, which is why there wasn’t the gossip.

28 comments on “Downside and Ampleforth

  1. A teacher I know has just got out of clink after having done some hard time on the basis of some very wild and wacky allegations that, to anyone who’s seen the system from the inside, seem entirely implausible.

    They even brought in historic allegations which amounted to…. standard 80’s prep school humiliation group punishments (“run around the playing fields in your underwear”). The main allegations stem from when he was at a senior school, for context (IIRC the boy making the allegations was over the age of consent).

    The entire trial seemed to be a combination of implausible he-said-he-said and stuff like that thrown in for good measure until enough dirt stuck.

  2. These things happen in families without the knowledge of some members. Regardless of the report and the timings, for a pupil who was not involved to say what Tim says is not relevant. If you weren’t meant to know you would not know. Predators have methods of secrecy of which you may not be aware.

    Two life lessons emerge.

    Organizations ALWAYS cover up if they think there’s any chance of getting away with it. Any organization. Always.

    Anywhere. at any time, you might not know what’s going on however confident you are that you do.

  3. abcab–Those kind of legal capers are what Yewtree and Saunders–and behind her May–are all about.

    Wicked whitey+zero solid evidence=hard time

    Not-wicked Non-whitey–no action at all unless it has to be dragged out of TPTB.

    Talk outside the Court? Hard time for you Whitey. We know how to deal with waycist trial-fixers.

    Not Whitey? — Trawling–what’s that then? Asking for other victims to come forward? Offering them possible compo if they do? Cant do that matey. That would prejudice the trial. What are you –some kind of white racist?

  4. I was offered a full scholarship to Ampleforth around that time but my parents turned it down in favour of another RC public school (not Downside). At the prep school for my public school there was a rampant paedophile master, whom everyone knew about, but he had his favourites and I wasn’t one. Most of the boys were obsessed with fanny, discovered via the gods of hedge porn, so by a combination of parents wealthy enough to ignore a scholarship and not being little and blond I escaped school entirely unsullied by knob.

    My brother in law went to Protestant Rugby – a bit of funny business there, not much but his prep school had a day of drama when the cops arrived, just after one of the masters had fled into the woods, where he was later found hanged.

  5. Only full confession and repentance can lead to the sin being purged.

    If only. Alas these days a full confession and repentance merely opens the floodgates to civil claims and huge payouts, until there is nothing left to pay.

  6. Ecksie, you’re sounding like a “White Lives Matter” campaigner out of some bizarre mirror universe where everyone has goatee beards…

    Sometimes society can be racist. Boo hoo.

    … And the world looks just the same
    And history ain’t changed
    ‘Cause the banners, they are flown in the last war …

  7. NiV
    Ecksy is only pointing out some of the double-standards that pertain as we rush towards cultural, national and racial suicide.

  8. “Ecksy is only pointing out some of the double-standards that pertain as we rush towards cultural, national and racial suicide.”

    *All* authoritarians operate double standards. That was my point.

  9. One often wonders, NiV, what your point is, or if you have one.

    Your strained attempts to show moral equivalence or symmetry are rather weariesome.

  10. “Your strained attempts to show moral equivalence or symmetry are rather weariesome.”

    Of course. Nobody likes their own double standards to be pointed out.

  11. Maybe putting gay men in positions of temptation with boys is a bad idea?

    I wouldn’t trust a heterosexual man around teenage girls either.

  12. Kiddy-fiddlers are scumbags, but the regulatory response is worse than the original problem. It encourages a moral panic, feeds bureaucracy, and discourages voluntary associations.

    The neurotic attempt to protect children by extensive regulation and witch hunts arises from the feminization of society which has encouraged a misplaced but pervasive maternalism. Liberal-minded ladies of average intelligence tend to worry “about the children” — partly to virtue-signal that they are “caring”. And this attitude extends even to rapefugees and their progeny.

  13. I have the impression that even the prettiest blond-haired boy is in less danger of abuse at an all boys public school than he – or any other child – would be if consigned to the care of the state via the good offices of our wonderful social services.

    Still, I’m sure that impression is erroneous.

  14. “I wouldn’t trust a heterosexual man around teenage girls either.”

    Interesting comparison, that, Steve. Quite right, one shouldn’t. From nature’s point of view, post-pubescent young females are prime mating prospects for adult males. The wonder is that male teachers, confronted by gaggles of often very available & willing totty, are able to suppress what biological urges are compelling. Yet there do seem to be relatively few instances of teachers porking schoolgirls turning up in the chip wrappers, despite the opportunity for entertaining salaciousness.
    However the shirtlifting fraternity….

    Personally, I’d reckon anyone willing to dedicate their life to an imaginary deity, it’s water walking acrobat offspring & a selection of plaster fairground prizes is well off the normal to start with & should be given a wide berth

  15. I was at Ampleforth – and its prep school, Gilling Castle – from 1967-1975. Can’t say we were all shivering with fear at the thought of rampaging, paedophilic monks.

    There were dodgy ones and lay masters, but we all knew who they were and who to avoid, and how to.

    What was harder to avoid were those fellow pupils who considered torturing their juniors to be good sport. As to straight out buggery or sexual assault? No.

    I had problems with men hitting on me as a lad, some of which actually involved the hitting part of that to get there way (unsuccessfully) – It’s what comes of being a ‘pretty boy’ as well as a late developer , my voice didn’t break until I was seventeen – but all of those incidents/assaults took place elsewhere and, weirdly, most frequently in Paris.

    Ampleforth and Downside have had this coming down the track for some time. They represent two unpopular institutions with our current rulers: the Catholic church and public schools. They also, very clearly, lack ‘friends at court’.

  16. Recusant

    “…we all knew who they were and who to avoid, and how to.”

    Exactly. At a very early age, my pater told me how to avoid such men at boarding school and elsewhere.

  17. I’ve never understood the attraction of boarding schools except for families who live abroad, or move jobs and house often, or have problems with divorce or health. Since my day, of course, the state system has been deliberately buggered up, so it might make more sense. But even then I’d have thought that for most people within reach private day schools would be a better bet.

    When I got to university I found that in most ways I was simply better educated than my new chums from boarding schools. Though, to be fair, it was one of those chums who introduced me to Carl Orff – whether that was cruel and unusual of him I’ll leave you to judge.

  18. @ dearieme
    For many people there is not a private day school within cycling distance.
    It’s not just since Tony Crosland deliberately wrecked the chance of bright working-class boys getting a good education that it made sense to get a private education: my local Grammmar schools didn’t do Oxbridge entrance

  19. “From nature’s point of view, post-pubescent young females are prime mating prospects for adult males.”

    Human culture raises us above nature, to a significant extent. A group of bonobos would see every male mounting as many females as possible. A group of homo sapiens is more restrained (unless they are swingers). Nevertheless, in general, best to keep post-pubescent females away from adult males

    “However the shirtlifting fraternity….”

    Homosexuality doesn’t equal paedophilia; nor does paedophilia equal homosexuality. I find male homosexuality disgusting, I am opposed to gay marriage, and I think homosexuality is a disorder. Yet I know gay couples who are conservative in politics and roll their eyes at Pride. Their lifestyle is fine by me. Meanwhile, the internet has ended the curse of predatory faggots in the gents. So homosexuality isn’t a bar to teaching young boys, imo.

  20. As Rhoda says its illegal and you don’t know what you don’t know. I wouldn’t be confident that kids will always be able to smell smoke to detect the fire.

  21. “Homosexuality doesn’t equal paedophilia; nor does paedophilia equal homosexuality.”
    There was no suggestion that it does. However. Given the rather low proportion of homosexual men versus heterosexual in the population, one would expect a proportionally equivalent number of the hetero ones to be giving in to the temptation of adolescent flesh. Except that doesn’t seem to be reflected in reports. And one can’t presume the tabloids are being remiss in reporting. Teacher having his way with nymphette is the sort of story the press relish. It would seem that human culture is rather more successful with the straights.

  22. BiS, Theo – a non-trivial %age of gay men have zero interest in controlling their vices. It’s why drugs, alcohol, and insanely dangerous sexual habits are rife in gaydom.

    One of the biggest lies of our time is the carefully-constructed media myth of homosexual monogamy. It was the main propaganda narrative powering “marriage equality”.

    Sure, *some* probably live like straights, but when even the nation’s model married gay couple is playing pinball wizard with a bunch of random rocketmen – when not flaunting their adopted children – you get the sense that Frankie Goes To Hollywood wasn’t exaggerating.

    I still wouldn’t put homo or hetero men in unsupervised positions where they might be tempted to shag underaged teenagers. Even when the risk is low, seems to me we’re better off taking sensible precautions to avoid exploitation or false accusations.

  23. I suppose the shame long associated with being the victim of a gay teacher (or being gay yourself) would make it more likely that a boy who fell victim would keep schtum, whereas a girl of that sort would tend to be proud of her ability to provoke an older man to bone her and would be concomitantly looser-lipped, if you see what I mean. Thus the risk of discovery via blabbing is higher.

  24. “However. Given the rather low proportion of homosexual men versus heterosexual in the population, one would expect a proportionally equivalent number of the hetero ones to be giving in to the temptation of adolescent flesh.”

    It’s probably more to do with the differences between men and women (re promiscuity and risk-taking) than it is between gay and straight. You don’t hear of a lot of lesbian seductions, either, and the tabloids would probably be even more interested in those.

    “One of the biggest lies of our time is the carefully-constructed media myth of homosexual monogamy.”

    Much the same as the myth of male monogamy, I’d have said. Does *any* adolescent male truly *want* to be monogamous?

  25. @Theo

    “At a very early age, my pater told me how to avoid such men at boarding school and elsewhere.”

    The fact he had to have that conversation with you, though, does rather make dearieme’s point for him, doesn’t it? I’m sure he saw it as just a sensible precaution but the experiences recounted in this thread would on aggregate strongly discourage me from sending a hypothetical mini-MBE to board.

  26. @ MBE
    i’m a bit older than Tim Worstall so when I was at boarding school the “Queers” were commonly visiting their KGB contacts than teaching in Public Schools. Even so, my observation implies that the danger to a mini-MBE is vanishingly trivial.
    In my time, which covered scores of masters and around 800 boys we had one case of homosexuality discovered (and the general view was that the older boy who was expelled was the seduced rather than the seducer but the one with power is alweays guilty) which is distinctly at odds with the wide-spread claims of the frequency of homosexuality in the general population.
    There were rumours that another boy, in addition to the “victim”, would have been amenable, which makes about one-third of 1% “probably” gay. The LGBT+ advocates are telling us than six times as many in state schools are “Gay”.
    You pays your money (or not, as the case may be) and takes your choice: but if you are worried about “Queers” or “Gays” then that seems to be a reason for shelling out tp pay for a Public School.
    If you work for the Grauniad/BBC then you will complain that a Public School has some bad feature that is one-sixth as bad as state schools, others will note that the Public School has made a 80+% improvement.

  27. @NiV
    It’s probably more to do with the differences between men and women (re promiscuity and risk-taking) than it is between gay and straight.

    So trannies, having, as you insist, a female brain, should exhibit less promiscuity. A promising line of research there for some psychology/sociology post-grad.

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