Frank’s Story

Comboni Missionaries Abuse

I was 12years old in Sept 1964 when I attended the Verona Fathers College at Mirfield. Within weeks of my arrival I was sexually abused by the priest Father John Pinkman in his room. He used the pretence of ‘Facts of Life’ instruction, insisted that I removed all my clothing and fondled me in sexual fashion.

Fear of what may happen if I found myself alone with him again was so overpowering it controlled each minute of my every day. What followed was two and a half years of cat and mouse turmoil where, on numerous occasions, he would instruct me to report to his room.
Fear was the constant, demanding companion, yet without it I would have made more mistakes. I would have been clumsy about the safety in numbers rule or risk accidentally making eye contact with Fr Pinkman and be snared.

He held all advantages, I was a child, anger did not feature as fear had left it no room. It alone helped keep me alert during daytime routine. For whatever reason, especially in that first year, my mind went into panic-mode at lights-out.

Scared to fall asleep. The fear turned inward. I could actually hear, as well as feel, my heart pounding every night as Fr Pinkman paraded up and down the dormitory.
I visited the Infirmary only once in my time at Mirfield. Father Domenico Valmaggio was the medical administrator for minor ailments. I had heard no whispers questioning his character prior to that visit.

I had a cut on my knee following a football game and could not stop the bleeding. Valmaggio instructed me to strip naked, taken aback I refused. I then had to defend myself from physical assault as he attempted to remove my clothing. I fled the infirmary. A tirade of Italian verbal abuse from the pathetic old man followed me out of the door.

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