Comboni Missionaries – Father Domenico Valmaggia
Category – Child Sexual Abuser and Paedophile
There have been arguments as to whether Father Domenico Valmaggia was a child abuser or a paedophile. Although most people don’t differentiate, a paedophile, technically, is one who is attracted to, and has sex with, children before they reach the age of puberty.
Although his preference may have been for under-age boys who had reached puberty, Father Domenico Valmaggia abused boys under the age of puberty, so technically he is a paedophile by action if not necessarily by inclination.
This guy, like Father John Pinkman, was a serial abuser of young seminarians. It is likely that his victims at Stillington, and then Mirfield, ran into the dozens. That’s dozens of young lives ruined.
Cold Hearted Monster
Although there were some things to like about Fr Pinkman (although not many) there was nothing to like about his cold-hearted monster.
He would put you in mind of Father Jack in the BBC comedy show Father Ted – although it would have been “Boys” he would have shouted rather than “Girls”.
Whereas Father John Pinkman would use the excuse of explaining the Facts of Life to 11 and 12 year old boys as an excuse for getting them to remove their clothes for the first time, Valmaggia used ‘weighing’ and his jobs as the Informarian (for which he was unqualified), to trap, and abuse young boys.
Last thing at night, before bed, boys who didn’t feel well would go to Father Domenico Valmaggia’s ‘surgery’. Whilst there, it seems that every so often the boys needed to be weighed. Father Valmaggia would ask them to take off all their clothes and to stand on a weighing scale. He would then note their weight into his book. With some of the more vulnerable ones he would try and take it further.
However, his main opus operandi was his use of the Infirmary. If the Boys had anything seriously wrong with them they would go to hospital. The untrained Father Valmaggia couldn’t have helped them anway.
Those with lesser illnesses, that mainly needed just time to cure (of which he did have sufficient quantities), were put up in the 6-bed Infirmary for a while. He used this isoation to perpetrate abuse aginst boys who were in there. He would go and lock the Infirmary door before he commenced it several times a day.
Groin Strain Cure
One 12-year-old boy, Gerry McLaughlin, was told that the ‘cure’ for a groin strain, instead of being rest, was for Father Valmaggia to rub coal tar over his genitals twice a day for a week. Luckily, Gerry was just on the egde of puberty at the time (which would came just a month later) and found difficulty in ‘making it stand up’ as he was cajoled by Father Valmaggia (which angered God’s messenger more than a little).
Others, who had already reached puberty, were not so lucky.
After abusing boys in the Infirmary for 6 or 7 years, depsite it being reported several times to the authorites there, Valmaggia’s demise did not come till 1969, when Fr Robert Hicks was in charge of the senior boys.
Father Robert Hicks
When one boy went to Fr Hicks to tell him about the abuse, Fr Hicks was furious about it. Unlike Father Enrico Fulvi, Hicks didn’t tell him never to speak of it again. He asked the boy to get one other boy who had been abused by Fr Valmaggia to come forward and tell him about it. When that other boy came forward and told him about his abuse, Fr Hicks acted immediately. He went to see the Father Rector, who was Father Fraser, and demanded action on it.
Father Domenico Valmaggia was sent away in short order. However, he wasn’t kicked out of the Order or reported to the police. He was simply sent to the Comboni Missionaries centre in Sunningdale, Berkshire and became the Provincial Bursar there.
Eventually he went back to a parish in his home region in Como in Italy where he lived his life till he died in 2011. He served not a single day in jail for abusing probably dozens of young boys and runining many of their lives. When one of the seminarians contacted the Comboni missionaries to ask about Father Valmaggia in 2008, he was told he was dead. Needless to say, this ‘boy’ now feels robbed.
Father Valmaggia lived his long life in peace and was never punished for his crimes. Many of the boys he abused are still in trauma.