Br Mateo was a postulant in the Franciscan Friaries in Killarney and Louvain during the 1930s. No records exist about his departure from the Franciscans. He joined the Rosminians in the late 1930s, and made his perpetual vows in the mid-1940s. He was sent to Upton for just over a year in the mid-1940s, and he then went to Omeath for almost 15 years, before returning to Upton in the late 1950s.
This is another Brother who was discovered by Br Alfonso to have been sexually abusing children in Upton. The matter is referred to in a letter in the late 1950s from the Provincial, Fr Placido, to the Superior General, Fr Lucca, without mentioning Br Alfonso’s involvement: Bro Mateo here has recently been indiscreet cum puero41 or perhaps cum pueris42 so Fr R deems it advisable that he should be changed to avoid danger or talk especially in view of the big influx. We thought first of sending him to Kilmurry but the Rector put forward good reasons against that apart from the fact that the place would be unsuitable for the brother’s health in view of the insomnia from which he suffers. We are of the opinion that Omeath would be the better place where he had been previously ... and there was no complaint about him as regards conduct ... Bro Mateo should be satisfactory ... and I think his slip will be a lesson to him to be careful and watchful ...
Fr Placido wrote again, expressing his relief at having received a reply to his previous letter, which he feared had gone astray, a matter which would have concerned him greatly as it contained references to matters about Br Mateo which he did not wish to become widely known. In the same letter he stated: I don’t think we need worry about Bro Mateo at Omeath as he has got a warning and the Rector will be vigilant. There wasn’t much of a serious nature against him si dice.43
A complainant from the late 1950s gave evidence that corroborated Br Alfonso. He alleged he was sexually assaulted by Br Mateo in his early days in the School. He recalled he was playing ball one evening and the ball went into the hall. Br Mateo found the ball and called the complainant over and sat him on his knee and fondled his privates and kissed him. This abuse went on over a period of time until it was eventually reported to Br Alfonso. He did not officially report it to Br Alfonso. What actually happened was that Br Alfonso found him coming out of the hall one night when he had been missing from the games room. He was initially frightened to tell Br Alfonso what was happening but eventually he did, and he was told to go and wait for Br Alfonso in the office. Some time later, Br Alfonso came back and questioned him further, and he gave all the details and was told not to worry any more as Br Mateo would be transferred. During the hearing into this evidence, counsel for the Rosminians intervened and said that they accepted that it had happened as described.
Br Alfonso said that, when he was Prefect, he was responsible for identifying to his Superiors seven sexual abusers operating in Upton. He confirmed they were as follows: Br Fausto; Br Constantin; A named night watchman; An unnamed lay teacher; Br Mateo; Br Mario, Br Gilberto.
In the case of Br Mateo,38 he was given a warning for sexually abusing children in Upton and transferred to a post at Omeath that did not bring him in contact with boys. The Rector of Omeath, Fr Lucio, was given instructions to be ‘vigilant’.
When Br Lazarro joined Br Mateo in the early 1960s, there were two sexual abusers working in Omeath.
His letter concentrated on calming the parent rather than investigating the allegations: As regards the other matters you mention; namely that [your son] has been ill treated here. That is not true and I know before Easter [he] had asked a member of the staff to call and see you about this and to assure you that what you had been told was not true. Naturally you could expect an exaggerated story from your source of information. In fact, such a boy would not ask better than to upset you and cause as much trouble as possible. If you come down next visiting Sunday you may talk it over with Br. [Mateo]30 and I hope the matron will also be available that day too. In fact it was the matron whom [your son] asked to contact you.
One complainant described being beaten by two Brothers on the bare backside, which led to a sexual assault: I remember Br. [Mateo] came in, before I knew it he had my hands pins behind my back, he had me over a school desk the trousers were practically ripped off me and I got probably half a dozen smacks. One of them, I think the two of them were feeling my private parts, my arse and penis. This went on for probably eight or ten minutes.