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Experiences Shared


All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Sam attended a religious boarding school during the 1970s. He explains how he was one of several boys who were sexually abused by a teacher.

Victor was not a priest, but a lay member of staff. Very soon after he joined the school, he started abusing Sam. He would invite Sam to his personal quarters, on the pretext of helping him with his studies.

The abuse followed a regular routine. Sam would go to Victor’s room each day at the same time, as did other boys. The abuse began with Victor touching Sam’s upper body, then his penis and bottom. He penetrated Sam with his fingers.

Sam refused to kiss Victor, and he thinks that this is the reason why he didn’t penetrate him with his penis. Sam knows that other boys were kissed by Victor and he would also penetrate them with his penis.

Sam says that at the time he knew that it was ‘a secret’, but he didn’t know that it was wrong. He believes that others must have known what was happening because the boys could be seen going into the teacher’s private rooms. On one or two occasions Sam saw other boys lying next to Victor on his bed.

One day the priest in charge of the school told all the boys that no one should go to Victor’s room while he remained in the school. Sam was in fact in Victor’s room at that time. Later Victor wrote to Sam telling him he had been forced to leave the school.

 While he was at school, Sam says he never mentioned the abuse to another boy, teacher or his parents. He felt that if he did talk about it he would be asked to leave the school. One of the other victims suddenly disappeared from the school. Having now read internet forums about the school, he thinks this followed on from the boy reporting abuse by Victor and that the same thing happened to more boys.

A few years ago Sam decided he wanted closure to some things in his childhood that he knew should not have happened. He had meetings with the religious order which ran his school, but he says nothing came of it. The order told Sam that they were shocked and confused as they had not had any other complaints. They told Sam that they would do their own investigations and would report back to him in writing within six months.

As the six months came to an end, Sam did not hear anything so he chased the order and eventually he got a letter refuting all allegations but offering paid psychiatric support or counselling as a gesture of ‘goodwill’. Sam went back and stated the amount that was needed for therapy but the amount requested was refused.

Sam went to a solicitor. A legal case was ongoing at the time of sharing his experience, but he describes the case as a ‘mess’.  

Sam feels there was a culture of complacency and acceptance of paedophilia in the school. From the information he has found on the forum, sexual abuse was occurring before he attended the school and continued after he left, until the school closed. He recently discovered that Victor died in the late 1990s or early 2000s.

Sam has health problems resulting from the abuse, which he feels have affected his education and every part of his life. Sam believes that there needs to be more specialist therapy available for dealing with the psychosexual abuse of children.

Sam adds that everyone who puts their trust in people, such as priests, to look after their children, was betrayed.

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