Br Umberto joined the Rosminians in the mid-1940s. He made his perpetual vows eight years later. He was posted to Upton as an Assistant Brother in the mid-1950s, and remained in the School for approximately three years until he was transferred to Kilmurry to work on the farm.
It is clear from Fr Placido’s letter that it was not the first time that Br Umberto had offended, but there was no evidence that dismissal was considered.
Fr Lucca approved the decision to remove Br Umberto, and he remained in Kilmurry until the early 1960s when he was sent back to Upton. Although there was a new Rector, who may not have known the recent history at the time when Br Umberto returned, Fr Placido was still Provincial and in residence at Upton. On this occasion, the Brother remained for approximately six years, until he was transferred to Omeath. He continued to be a member of the Order until his death.
This Brother was found to be committing sexual abuse with boys notwithstanding a previous warning, and the Provincial reacted by moving him to the Novitiate House ‘where circumstances are different’. This decision appears to have been a short-term expedient, because the Provincial returned the Brother to Upton five years later, notwithstanding the danger that he represented to the boys. The case of Br Umberto is interesting because he left Upton while Br Alfonso was Prefect, yet he is not mentioned by Br Alfonso. It is surprising that Br Alfonso, a relentless pursuer of sexual abusers, did not hear of this case, particularly because of the reference to Br Umberto’s having been previously warned by both the Rector and the Provincial. It illustrates the secretive way in which abusers could be removed. Returning Br Umberto to Upton in the early 1960s amounted to reckless disregard of the safety of the boys, particularly as at that time a known sexual abuser who had served years at Upton had recently been uncovered. There should have been an appreciation of the need to eliminate the risks the boys faced. The Rome file: Br Constantin36