Just been reading this blog, having been informed by a friend of the article in the Observer Magazine on 19th October, 2014 and seen Tony Smith and Bede Mullen on “Look North” the local BBC News Bulletin a week or so ago. This has stirred up all kinds of memories for me, happy, sad, confused, disappointed, joyful, among them. My time at Roe Head (1965-1970) was troubling from a number of aspects including sexual abuse by Fathers Pinkman and Valmaggia at possibly the most crucial time in my life from the point of view of emotional, social and sexual development. At one time I was Vice Captain of the school ( a sort of Deputy Head Boy) when James Garvey was school captain and I had responsibility for the Junior ranks patrolling the dormitories at lights out being one of my duties.

I remember the petition being passed around against Father Pinkman and the dilemma I felt I faced at that time as to whether or not to sign. I think my loyalty to him and the school got the better of loyalty to my peers. If I remember rightly Frank McGinnis was one o f those brave enough to set the wheels in motion
I remember Patrick Joyce who I think was from Huddersfield and David Harrigan amongst those who have contributed to this blog.

I am in the process of contacting West Yorkshire Police. From what I have read it seems as though they are still interested in receiving further information about events at the school and I a more than happy to pass that on if it assists in the building up of a picture of the “culture of abuse” which the Order seem so keen to deny existed. I have no particular axe to grind against the Comboni Missionaries, interesting as it is they have changed their name, but wish to set some records straight.


  1. I was there 1971 to 1973 and sadly was not so lucky. I was abused on every level. Sexually, emotionally and physically. An experience which has stayed with me all my life. Until this last week.. (04.11.14) I had absolutely no idea that others had endured anything like what I had nor that there has been litigation and compensation.

    • Hi chris so sorry to hear of you’re treatment at seminary …I’d like to say thankyou to you for the kindness you always showed to me in my time there charles young

  2. I’m really please the piece Tony an me did for Look North has encouraged others to come forward. All our stories are so similar. We need to challenge the abuse of the Verona Fathers
    Bede Mullen
    If anyone wants to contact me my email is Bede

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