Comboni Missionaries (Missionari Comboniani)
The Verona Fathers that we knew are now known as the following:-
Comboni Missionaries Seminary at Mirfield
What we are hoping to achieve from this blog is to find out why our experiences at Mirfield created such a unique bond that, year after year, people who have not met for several decades come from the four corners of the UK, and even further afield, to reminisce and catch up.
This will include both happy and sad memories. Indeed one of the recurring themes from posts we have received is the abuse that many boys, as young as 11 years old, received at the hands of Comboni Missionaries priests at the seminary in Mirfield in the Sixties and Seventies.
These abusers include serial abusers of multiple boys like Father John Pinkman, Father Domenico Valmaggia and Father Romano Nardo. Father Pinkman and Father Valmaggia are now dead. However, serial abuser, Fr Romano Nardo is very much alive.
Indeed the UK police have investigated his abuse and those of the others and have concluded that a ‘crime has been committed’. West Yorkshire Police have stated that if Fr Pinkman and Fr Valmaggia were alive they would be immediately arrested. Recently a doctor in the Uk was given a 22 year prison sentence for activities similar to those of Father Valmaggia. Indeed it could be argued that Fr Valmaggia’s sexual abuse of children in his care were worse.
Don Enrique Sanchez
The UK police have applied to have Father Nardo extradited form Italy to the UK to answer questions. However, Missionari Comboniani in Rome, under the direction of the Superior General Father Enrique Sanchez, have said that he is in an insufficient mental state to travel. Hey says that the events he saw in Uganda have traumatised him.
Romano Nardo was brought from the Missions in Uganda immediately after Mark Murray reported his abuse to them in 1997. The abuse too place in the early 1970s at Mirfield.
Don Enrique Sanchez, the current boss of Missionari Comboniani, admitted that they brought Nardo home as a result of Mark’s complaint. He has assured Mark that he is in a house for the sick in Verona and will have no contact with children. This doesn’t sound as if Father Enrique Sanchez disbelieves Mark’s accusations.
He won’t hand Romano Nardo to UK police for questioning, though. If Romano Nardo was seriously traumatised by what he saw in Uganda (which took place decades before), why did they leave a supposed ‘severely traumatised’ priest in a position of authority in Uganda for many years and why did they only bring him home after Mark’s accusations?
UK Police Questions
Dom Enrique Sanchez said he can’t hand him over to the UK police as they have a duty of care towards, what they say, is a severely traumatised priest. However, what happened to the duty of care that they say they owed him when they left this ‘severely traumatised’ man for many years in a position of authority in Uganda?
Although this ‘severely traumatised’ man cannot answer questions from the UK police, he has been pictured celebrating mass in 2008 and has attended local carnivals?
Pope Francis recently apologised to all victims of abuse by the Catholic Church. Comboni Missionaries (Missionari Comboniani) recently paid out £120,000 (€150,000) to 12 men who accused the above three priests of abuse in the Sixties and Seventies and of a cover up, afterwards, by the Comboni Missionaries.
No Apology from Missionari Comboniani
However, not only have the Comboni Missionaries not apologised, as the Franciscans did recently to 14 boys their priests abused, but they haven’t even admitted their guilt. They have said that this was just a bean count and they only paid out as this was the cheapest option. This was the same defence as Michael Jackson used ,when he handed over $20m to the father of a boy that he was accused of abusing.
And Father Enrique Sanchez and Missionari Comboniani keep serial abuser Romano Nardo holed up in the mother house in Verona away from the hands of the British police.
A Culture of Abuse
The three priest above are not the only priests who have been accused of abuse in the ranks of the Comboni Missionaries but they are the ones where there has been a number of boys corroberating each others’ stories.
However, this website is not just about the abuse by the Comboni Missionaries at Mirfield, it is also about happier memories of Mirfield and the young boys’ time there. If you went there, tell us have your stories of abuse or of happier times there. Click on Contact to contact us.
What Happened to Them?
So, what happened to Father Valmaggia and Father Pinkman?
Although their abuse was reported to those in authority at Comboni Missionaries several times (documented elsewhere on this website), nothing was done about Fr Valmaggia till it was reported to Father Robert Hicks in 1969. He called Fr Valmaggia ‘this evil man’ and demanded that something be done.
Something was done. He was transferred to the salubrious Sunningdale outside London and carried on as the Provincial Bursar before spending the rest of his life in his local parish in the diocese of Como in Italy where he died in 2011.
So, what happened to Fr John Pinkman?
He was sent to South Africa and died of a massive heart attack in 1984 at the age of 48. A Mass of Celebration was said in honour of his life, at, of all places, the chapel at the seminary in Mirfield – only a few metres away from his bedroom where he abused and ruined the lives of so many boys, aged 11 to 14.
And Father Roman Nardo?
If you want a Mass said, or to invite him to a carnival, you can find him at the Missionari Comboniani mother house in Verona. If you want to ask him a few questions about his serial abuse of Mark Murray and other boys, he is too severely traumatised to talk about it.
For more information on the abuse and the perpertrators of it, as well as the cover up by Comboni Missionaries, see the other sections on this website.