A complainant accused one Brother, Br Boyce, of flogging him. He got a flogging from this Brother and half an hour later got one from another Brother, Br Cheney. He did not know why. Br Boyce hit him with a ‘leather’. ‘These leathers weren’t just light pieces of string, they were severe actually’. The complainant stated that the attack was a painful moment for him as Br Boyce was ‘a very nice lad actually and I was surprised to be attacked like that’. It was uncharacteristic of the Brother. Br Boyce, who gave evidence to the Committee, denied flogging the boy.
Another former resident claimed that Br Cheney would ask him to stay back after class and to drop his pants. Br Cheney would then ‘leather’ his bottom. This happened ‘many times’ until he was 16. The complainant thought Br Cheney did it because of ‘madness’. This also happened to other boys in the class. He said that he also had to receive hospital treatment after Br Cheney hit him. He thought he hit some part of his brain. This same complainant said that Br Cheney gave him the second of two floggings half an hour apart from each other and that he ‘feared’ this man.
Br Bevis in his evidence said he was aware of one occasion when Br Cheney and Br Chaunce punished a boy in a dormitory when he was caught abusing a younger boy. He acknowledged that he had heard that it was a particularly severe punishment.
Another witness said that Br Cheney would ask him a difficult question that he was unable to answer, and then he would call him to the blackboard. He would be too frightened to answer and Br Cheney would then get his head and beat it across the blackboard. He also beat him on the legs. This happened ‘quite often’. He urinated with fear on the way up to the blackboard and Br Cheney called him in front of the class about it and made him clean it up. This has remained in his mind over the years.
Br Bevis and Br Cheney were described in a Visitation Report as zealous, devoted to their work and quite happy at it, and they and other Brothers were ‘excellent men’ carrying ‘the lion’s share of the supervision of the boys’ and only ever having the welfare of the boys as their interest. Br Bevis was described as ‘an ideal Brother for Industrial School work’ and another Visitation Report noted that an inspector to the school had commended Br Bevis for his work.
He said that Br Cheney used the strap on him once only, but he would use it on other boys ‘quite frequently’ on the hands.
He named other Brothers, including Br Cheney, whom he said were aware of the boys’ complaints in that regard. He concluded that they must have spoken to one another about it.
Another former resident, when asked if there was an environment of fear in the School, stated that he was only in fear of one particular Brother, Br Lafayette. He felt the rest of the Brothers did their best with what they had and were getting ‘a raw deal’ in the media. He named four individuals, including one lay person, who had been either good or kind to him. These included Brs Bevis and Cheney.37 He said that he had very fond memories of Br Bevis and still exchanged Christmas cards with him.