In 1959, Fr Santino sought permission to visit his family in the UK whom he had not seen for years. This came to the attention of Fr Arturo, the Provincial in the United Kingdom, who wrote to his Superiors in Rome in March: I am very worried about Fr Santino. I presume that you know his sad history. In spite of the fact that his misdeeds are known to quite a few people here in [parish] he has been writing, I understand from Fr Lanzo,30 to various people here in [parish] saying that he has returned to the Institute etc. My fear is that he will want to return, perhaps on a visit, here, to see some of his friends. In my opinion it would be really dangerous of him to return here at all, since, if some ill-intentioned person were to denounce him to the police, he would be in danger of arrest, and the scandal produced would be disastrous. Hence I would ask you to make sure that he does not return to England and particularly to [parishes where he worked] ... I do not know whether Fr Placido31 knows all the circumstances of the case, and I have therefore not wished to write to Fr Placido direct about it. I do not think my fears are exaggerated, Fr Santino is a man who has been singularly blind to implications of his case, and seems quite capable of thinking that he can act as though his past were forgotten, and that he could start afresh as though nothing wrong had happened. I therefore beg of you to take what steps are necessary to ensure that he does not return to England.
In August 1959, Fr Placido was again required to deal with Fr Santino because Fr Salvatore33 was no longer willing to keep him in Kilmurry, where he was having an unhealthy influence on certain members of the professed and also on some of the novices. He suggested that, if no alternative could be found, he would as a last resort be compelled to keep him in Upton but warned: ‘there would be grave risks in accepting him here considering the class of boy we have in certain age groups here’.
The reason for his transfer was that he had been interfering with the boys in Upton, and the details were set out in a letter from the Irish Provincial, Fr Placido, to the Superior General, Fr Lucca,35 in which he said that the Brother: Who had been previously warned by the Rector [Fr Fabiano] and myself has not been discreet cum pueris [with boys] and is a periculum [danger] to them so I have been compelled to send him to the Novitiate house where circumstances are different.
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.
The correspondence between his superiors concerning his application for a dispensation provides some information about his sexual activities. In a letter to the Superior General concerning the matter, the Provincial, Fr Placido, stated: I enclose the request of Br Constantin for a dispensation from his final vows ... He was ... here at Upton ... when he asked for a transfer to Kilmurry as his contacts cum pueris hic erat ei periculum [with boys, this was his danger]. He was getting out from here as he was really under suspicion and investigations were being made regarding some serious matters. I regret to say that he was most seriously involved in the case of at least two.
The letter from Rome to Fr Placido informed him that the dispensation sought from the Order of Religious had come through. The letter went on to say that the dispensation itself was retained in the Rosminian archive in Rome. Br Constantin was, therefore, free ‘to return to the world without further delay ...’.
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
The Provincial, Fr Placido,34 was unhappy with this response and wrote again, setting out different reasons why he felt Br Emilio should be dispensed. Br Emilio was ‘of good character but somewhat unbalanced’, ‘self willed, obstinate’, he had ‘an intense antipathy to the Prefect of the boys ... and caused great deal of trouble influencing unduly two other members of the Community against the Prefect’, ‘he is a trouble maker’. Fr Placido concluded: I think it is urgent to obtain a dispensation from him since he is so unhappy and so unspiritual in his outlook and his presence at Clonmel would endanger still more the peace and happiness of the Community.
Br Lazarro joined the Rosminians in the early 1950s. He was sent to Ferryhouse in the mid-1950s as Assistant School Prefect and was promoted to Prefect in the early 1960s. He left Ferryhouse after a year, when he was transferred to Omeath. The reason for his sudden removal from the School is apparent in a letter from Fr Placido, the Provincial, to Fr Lucca, the Superior General: The other case is that of Br Lazarro who was prefect and over a period had been very indiscreet. He left for Omeath ... You will fully appreciate ... how instant action is often necessary and the changes made are a cover up in some respects.