Sunday, 28 September 2014

Salesian PR man speaks

I have seen your response to David Henke, and I would like to remind you that you used the same response to the Surrey Herald over my case. You told the Herald Madley had not abused me school property. He did, and Michael Winstanley told me that he would correct you on that. You never corrected the statement, so let me remind you: Madley sexually abused me in the Chemisty lab, in the playground and at two Salesian properties close to the school. I have contacted you before about this, but you refuse to respond. Please explain why you persist in protecting paedophiles?

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

The Devil's Advocate - Child abuse and the men in black - by GrahamWilmwer MBE. Available 1st October 2014.

The Devil’s Advocate – Child abuse and the men in black.

A survivor’s account of the failings of Government, the Churches, Religious Orders and our Criminal Justice System, in understanding and responding to victims of sexual abuse in the UK.

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All proceeds from sales of this book will be donated to The Lantern Project – a charity supporting victims and survivors of child abuse.


Devils Advocate Library is a new imprint established by author Graham Wilmer MBE, dedicated to publishing books about the impact of Psychosexual Trauma in Childhood and how such trauma impairs development into adulthood. ‘The Devil’s Advocate – Child abuse and the Men in Black’ is the first such title to be published by this new imprint. Other titles will follow, which will also be featured here.

Contact the author:

Publisher’s info:

Title: The Devil’s Advocate - Child abuse and the Men in Black
Author: Graham Wilmer MBE
© Copyright 2014 Graham Wilmer MBE

First Edition Published 2014 by Devil’s Advocate Library

ISBN 978-0-9928651-0-8 - RRP £12.00
Typeset and design by Rory Wilmer
Printed and Bound in Great Britain
By Andrew Kilburn Print Services Ltd., Leeds.
Quote: “Shocking, disturbing and courageous.” Peter Garsden – President – Association of Child Abuse Lawyers ACAL.

About the Author:

Graham Wilmer was born in Bedford, England in 1951. His primary education showed him to be a promising pupil with a bright future, but his enrolment at a Salesian Catholic Grammar school put paid to all of that. At the age of 16, he disclosed to his headmaster that one of his teachers had been sexually abusing him for the previous two years, and he needed help. Instead of helping, the Salesian Order closed ranks, protected the teacher and swore Graham to silence. The psychological trauma and the lack of support after his disclosure resulted in him failing all of his GCE ‘O’ level exams, and he was thrown out of the school. His parents were not told of the abuse. For many years afterwards, Graham suffered with mental health problems, but his natural talent as a writer enabled him to find work, and he went on to develop a successful career as an aerospace journalist. In 1998, Graham, suffered a serious mental breakdown, caused by the re-emergence of memories of the abuse he had suffered as a child. Several years of therapy followed, during which time Graham, with the aid and support of his wife Barbara, established the Lantern Project, a support service for other victims of child abuse. Graham developed his charity into a nationally recognised organisation, which is now funded by the NHS, and is a partner agency with many other statutory organisations, including the Metropolitan Police Child Abuse Command. He has written numerous books on the subject of Child Abuse, and he was awarded an MBE in 2013 for ‘Services to Victims of Abuse’. He has recently been appointed to advise the newly formed National Safeguarding Board of the Church of England. Graham and Barbara have three grown up children and two foster children. They live in New Brighton in Wirral.

Author’s comments.

I have written this book to help expose the catastrophic shortcomings of the United Kingdoms government, the Churches, religious institutions and our criminal justice system, as they attempt to deal with the scale and consequences of sexual abuse in our country. The book is far from the full picture, but it should serve to remind those who hold power in our nation that, as a society, we are not dealing well with the enormity of the problem, which remains hidden in plain sight, despite the courage of the many victims who come forward, even though that usually means they face hostility, resentment and denial, rather than the compassion,  understanding and acknowledgement they need and deserve. The cost of sexual abuse in our society, in whatever way one measures it, is on a scale that makes it both a national disgrace and a national health epidemic, neither being something that should be tolerated by any government, but tolerated it is.

What follows is not just about me, although it tells my story. It is about the ongoing failure of society as a whole to respond to and support victims of sexual abuse. It is also about the many conflicting and deep routed myths and negative perceptions about sexual abuse: what it really is and the devastating consequences of its long- term impact. Some of you may find the repetition of facts a little tedious, but I ask you to bear with it and read on, as it will help those of you who have not suffered the blight of sexual abuse understand the seemingly never-ending nightmare that survivors struggle with on a daily basis. For us, the story never ends, but with the right kind of support you can reach a level of recovery that is sustainable, and from that point onwards you become the master of your history, rather than its slave. For those victims who still struggle in silence, despite what I say about the lack of effective support services, you have nothing to fear from speaking out, other than fear itself. So, if you want help to tell your story, but don’t know where to start or what to expect, contact me and I will help you.
Graham Wilmer MBE


There are many people who helped me recover from the abuse I suffered in my childhood, especially my family - Barbara, Rory, Eve and Zachary, without who I would not be here. Neither would The Lantern Project, which I set up with their help and fellow survivor David Williams in 2003. Since then, the Lantern Project, with the support and dedication of our amazing volunteers, peer mentors and trustees, has helped many hundreds of other survivors, and is now a contracted NHS specialist service provider for victims and survivors of sexual abuse. So, to everyone who has helped me, in whatever way, I offer you my grateful and sincere thanks. I would especially like to thank Detective Constable John Hobbs, of Surrey Police, not only for his dogged pursuit of the truth, but also for continuing to help and support me, long after the trial of my abuser was over. I would also like to acknowledge the many other Salesian survivors who made contact with me after my first book was published and offered their support and solidarity in my quest for justice, some of whose testimonies also appear in this book. I would also like to thank Nicky and her family for their unwavering support during and after the trial, and my friend Noel Swift for his support, and for allowing me to include his story. I would also like to pay tribute to The Lantern Project’s volunteers and trustees, especially David, Peter, Keith, Jill, Pippa, Barbara, Rory, Eve, Zach, Siobhán, Gary, Liz, Judy, Carl, Christine, Alan, Pat, Sue, Ray, Candida and Angela, all of who have helped make the project what it is today, along with the solicitors who have guided me, Stephen Wilde, Peter Garsden and Edward Craven. I also want to thank Alex and Alice Parsons, who donated the assets of their charity, the Wirral Fellowship, to the Lantern Project to help us continue our work at a time when we were struggling financially. I also want to acknowledge my colleagues in the Stop Church Child Abuse Working Party: Anne Lawrence, Phil Johnson, Jo Kind, Lucy Duckworth (all of MACSAS), Sue Cox of Survivors Voice Europe, Richard Scorer of Pannone LLP Solicitors, Peter Saunders of NAPAC and the campaign’s Chairman, David Greenwood of Switalskis LLP Solicitors, and everyone else who is helping and supporting the SCCA campaign. I am also grateful to the following press and media: BBC, The Hendon Times, The Surrey Herald, The Guardian, The Australian, The Independent, The Liverpool Echo, The Age (Australia), The Mercury (Australia), and The Catholic Herald. I would also like to say thank you to my old school friend Ed Murphy for his thoughtful editing and patient proofreading of the manuscript. Finally, I would like to say a special thank you to Eric Baggaley, for his courage, wisdom and friendship, during a very difficult time. Without his skill as a mediator, and his courage in coming forward in the first place, this book could not have been written.

Media copyright credits:

BBC: page 226, page 300

The Hendon Times: page 128

The Surrey Herald: page 134

The Guardian: page 149

The Australian: page 193, page 318

The Liverpool Echo: page 311, page 313

The Age (Australia): page 317

The Mercury (Australia): page 319

The Catholic Herald: page 323

Photo copyright credits:

Front cover – Rory Wilmer

Rear cover – HM The Queen & BCA Ltd.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

"Let us away. He will rise no more."

On 16 Jul 2014, at 18:14, "Graham Wilmer" <> wrote:
Dear Mervyn

Thank you for your response. I can only imagine that, were you to have had the services of Reginald FitzUrse, William de Tracey, Hugh de Morville and Richard le Breton, as King Henry did on December 29th 1170, you too would probably have delighted in hearing them say: "Let us away. He will rise no more.

Well, that is not how this will end. I don't trust you because you have only ever dealt with the problems of systemic child abuse in Salesian schools on the basis of the minimum response needed to protect the Order. You have never carried out or commissioned an independent review into child abuse in your schools. You have only ever responded, line by line, to allegations. You have never made, or sought to make, a public apology for the serial abusers in your ranks, such as Fr Terence O'Brien and Fr George Williams, rather, you have fought hard, yourself and through your lawyers, to silence any of us who dared to speak out.

Your protection of the Order, regardless of the financial cost involved, coupled with your reluctance to engage with me in any meaningful work towards facing up to the reality of the damage Salesian priests and others working in your schools, such as Hugh Madley, to name but one, have caused to children over many years, is why I and many it others don't trust you.

George Williams will die without facing justice, as the likelihood of any
police action against him is zero, but his victims, and I am one of them, will not stay silent, nor should we have to. Your final statement that what I have said is "not helpful", shows your lack
of understanding of the calamity that faces you. So, I won't ask you again to work with me to help safeguard and support children, as you have made it very clear that you have no real interest in supporting children who have been abused in Salesian schools. Your interest is only in protecting the Salesian Order, which, until you face up to the reality of the damage the Salesian Order has done, will in the end prove to be, in your own words: "not helpful".

With best wishes.
Graham Wilmer MBE
The Lantern Project

On 16 Jul 2014, at 10:54, "Mervyn Williams" <> wrote:

I have received your email of July 12th. In brief the facts of the situation are as follows:

·         The Police are aware of the allegations against George Williams.
·         As part of their enquiry they asked Bolton Social Services to check out his personal circumstances.
·         Bolton Social Services asked Bob Dodgson to do this and he came and spoke to the local Salesian community rector responsible for the Bolton community. I did not see him.
·         George Williams lives in our elderly retirement home in Bolton. This is under the oversight of the Bolton rector but at a separate location from our community house and school. He is 98, in very poor health, and not able to leave the premises unaided. This was the case when Bob Dodgson visited. 
·         How the police and Bolton Social services chose to investigate George Williams’ personal circumstances was a matter over which we had no say or control. We have not in any way sought to hinder or limit any actions or investigation that they might wish to take in relation George Williams. We have facilitated, at short notice, a recent visit of a police officer to our Bolton care home. 

At no time have I stated anything to you in relation to this matter that was incorrect or untrue. You have no grounds for your comment that you no longer have any trust in anything I say. Such comments are not helpful.  

Your subsequent email to Danny Sullivan describes this situation as an example of Salesians failing to protect children in our schools. I do not know how you can draw this conclusion when we are dealing with the actions of the Police and Bolton Social Services and George Williams is not a danger to any pupils in our schools.

Best wishes

Mervyn Williams

Rev M Williams SDB, Provincial Economer
Salesians of Don  Bosco UK, Salesian Provincial Office
Thornleigh House, Sharples Park, Bolton, BL1 6PQ
Phone: 01204 600 720
Fax: 01204 309 874  
Registered Charity No. 233779
Charity Registered in Scotland No. SC039294

From: Graham Wilmer []
Sent: 12 July 2014 22:09
To: economer; provincial
Cc: lanternproject
Subject: Further questions

Dear Mervyn
My concerns about your protection of Fr George Williams is endorsed by the latest revelations from Bolton Social Services. You will understand why I no longer have any trust in anything you say:  

Here is the content of the encrypted email message Bolton Social Services sent me yesterday, which shows that Bolton Police were not aware of the conflict of interest involving Bob Dodgson and the Salesians, when they sent him to do the job they should have been doing. 

Dear Mr Wilmer,

Further to your email I have looked into the issues you have raised. It has been concluded that they do not fall under the Social Care Complaints and Representations procedure but are a request for information under the Data Protection Act 1998.

Mr Bob Dodgson has now retired from the Local Authority, but he has been contacted as a result of your enquiry and he confirmed that at the time of the initial contact from the police he telephoned the Salesian Provincial Office and followed this up with a visit; he met with Fathers Bailey and Winstanley as you are aware, to determine whether Father George Williams presented a current risk in the community at the time.

The Local Authority was aware at the time that Mr Dodgson had some links with Thornleigh Salesian College.  The police were unaware of the links between Mr Dodgson and the College when requesting him to make contact and discuss the situation.

The police have been asked to visit the Salesian Provincial Office to reassure yourself and the Local Authority that any current risk is assessed.

I hope this answers the questions you have raised with us.