Monthly Archives: September 2011

13. He Walked Right Back into My Life

It was Saturday August 8th,  2009.  I arrived home from work and J was cooking the tea in the kitchen.  I went into my lounge, sat down and, just as I had done hundreds of times before, put Sky news on the TV.  It was a Saturday night the same as any other Saturday night; probably have curry and a glass of Port.  As the news came on, I pressed the red button and up came the news stories of the day.  My eye caught the story about the “priest extradited from LA.”

So many times in my life I have done the same thing, to find out that some old priest, has been prosecuted for abusing children.  But I noticed this was not the usual story, for I recognized the name of the priest, Richard John James Robinson.  Then it hit me, this was THE priest who abused me.  I don’t really remember, but I think I called out to J to come quickly, to read about the man that abused me when I was 11 years old.  I sat in horror as J came running in.  I had witnessed the man who abused me, his story, walking right into my home.  What happened to me 49 years ago was here, now in colour in my home.

I phoned K to get the phone number of the West Midlands Police, at Lloyd House, Birmingham.  I dialled only for some computer to tell me they were shut.  So I again phoned K to get me Walsall Police Station’s number.  This she did and I phoned them to report my abuse.  I was told that there were no Officers about and that they would phone me on Monday morning.  I phoned my middle brother B, telling him to get onto Sky TV and press the red button.  I put the phone down.

This night was the start of months and months of sleepless nights, of nightmares and being totally distraught.  I was awake all night.  At 5am, I couldn’t stand it anymore.  I got up and went to my golf club to play.  I have always been a good golfer, always playing once or twice a week.  I managed to play 2 holes, taking about 12 shots on each hole.  I can now say that I could not concentrate on the ball.  So I gave up and went home.

I had been home half an hour when the phone rang.  I picked it up.  It was Detective Sgt HM.   He asked me if I recognized Robinson.  I told him that I would, as Robinson was a former pro boxer, beat up forehead broken nose, cauliflower ears.  Then HM asked me if I had been an altar boy.  No I explained, I went to his butcher’s shop in Station Road, Aldridge, to collect meat for my mother.

Over the course of the next few days I went on the Internet to see if I could find anything about Robinson and there it all was.  I found the news reports because for the first time I had Robinson’s full name.  For 49 years I had never heard his real name.  We all knew him as Jimmy Robinson.  Later on my brothers and I called him Pope John.  Robinson was the first Catholic me and my brothers had ever met, as we all went to a Church of England school.  Over these days, I walked around like a zombie.  I could not concentrate.  I could not do anything.  All I thought about was Robinson.  He was in my head.  Only this time Jimmy Robinson was running around in the open, smashing up all of my life.  I am now at a point that I can see what I was like.  I feel sorry for J.  She, like me, did not ask for this.  But we got it.

It was arranged that I go to the UK to give my statement.  I packed my bags, leaving J behind.  I set off with all the feelings of anger, rage, guilt, shame, and exhaustion.

Advertisements

12. Dead and Gone from My Life

In April 2009 I was in Lichfield working at a Health Centre, doing some painting.  When I had finished and before coming home I called to see a friend of mine, M.H.  We have been friends for 40 years.  M.H. makes false teeth in his Dental workshop.  Whilst he was working I was sitting next to him and we were talking.

I mentioned a friend of ours P, and I asked M how is he?  M replied that P and his wife were having a rough patch with one of their two sons.  I asked why and M told me that one of the lads had come out, i.e. he’s gay.  Straight away, without thinking, I said to M, “could be worse, he could be a paedophile.”  M looked at me with tears in his eyes and said words to the effect, what are you trying to tell me?  In tears I explained what had happened to me when I was 11.  M told me that I should go to the police and that he would go with me.  I said no, James Robinson is gone out of my life, he’s dead and rotting in hell.

Little did M or I realize, the boot was about to be delivered.  I thanked M, gave him a hug and left for K’s.  A couple of days later I returned to Ireland.


11. Life Sneaking Up

In 1999, J and I sold our cottage in Ireland, and went travelling through France, Andorra, Portugal and Spain.  We spent 5 ½ months on the road staying in some of the best Hotels, taking many videos for the kids.  We had a great time.  But one day I said to J, I must return to Ireland.  I needed to get back to work, too much play.

So we returned.  We were looking for a bungalow with a workshop and couldn’t find one.  Instead we fell in love with Marybrook and bought it.  We have been here since 2000.  We both feel at home.  We belong here, the people in Ireland are fabulous.  I have built up a very good reputation as a painter and decorator.  I have many customers, ranging from Dentists to Solicitors, to Doctors to Judges, to Farmers.

J works for the A. Society, calling to homes to give relatives time away from the patient.  Giving a touch of freedom for the people at the frontline of the disease.  J has been so lucky, meeting with and making friends with so many families.  She is very well thought of.  Life for us has been very good, we are very proud of our children.  J and I are the proud grandparents to T, B and J.

Life could not be better. But life has a particular habit of sneaking up, and kicking you up the arse.

We didn’t know it but, the boot was on the way.

To be continued. . .

 


10. Shooting Pigeons

I was working with a mate of mine, C.  This one day he asked me if I would take out his nephew, an 11 year old lad, called G.  G wanted to go shooting pigeons.  It was one of my favourite pastimes.  I said that I would, and so I met G and his mother J.

J was married and had three children, G 11, L, 6, and K,1.  I took the lad shooting many times.  In fact, I gave G a shotgun when he was, I think, 14 years old.  This was the friendship we made.  As much as I met G, I met J.  Despite the fact that we were both married to other people, J and I spent much time together over the next few years.  At that point I have to say that I started treating the three children as my own.  To this day, 32 years later, they are still my children.  I would die to protect them.  I am very proud of them.  And yes I do moan about them, but I love them all.

When G was 16, and about to leave school, I asked what he wanted to do.  He replied that he wanted to be a gamekeeper.  So I advertised in the Shooting Times magazine, and got him a job in Anglesey, North Wales.  We went up to Anglesey many times, me J and G.  They had become my family, or should I say the family I never had.

Just prior to G leaving for his job I told G and J that I had been abused by a priest in 1961.  I didn’t go into details , but I had to tell them.  They deserved to know.  We are after all, subjects of our history.  They deserved to know who and what I am.


9. Leaving School

After leaving school I was thrown into a world I didn’t know.  A world that probably didn’t care what had happened to an 11 year old schoolboy.  I left school at a time that today seems far away.  I had many jobs after leaving school, as employment was easy to come by.  In those days you could have a new job every day of the week, such was the norm.

I flitted from job to job.  You name it, I’ve probably done it. One of my jobs was as a van driver.  I drove all over the country, delivering bone china mugs.  The hours were long but I enjoyed the excitement of being my own boss, calculating my route.  Learning so many things as I went.  I spent many years doing these various jobs, finally getting a job as a postman with Royal Mail.  I was at the Post for 18 years.  It was a good job and I was both punctual (4am start) and a valued member of a team.  I found this on occasions very difficult.

For all these years I was haunted by my past and the encounters with Robinson.  Jimmy Robinson never really went very far away.  He was always close at hand to give me the self doubt, the feelings of revulsion, pain, shame, guilt, and above all anger.

On one particular day, I was in my van, waiting at a set of traffic lights.  Parked in front of me was a car and in the back seat was a lad, 12 or 13 years old.  He was facing the rear of the car, looking at me through the window.  As is my nature, I put my thumb up to him to say hello and he smiled at me.  Then out of the blue I was overcome by fear.  Fear that the lad would tell his dad, the driver, that there was a man behind him saying hello.  I was in a cold sweat.  I was afraid that my friendly thumb up may have been seen as something quite different.  I drove away and never would I wave to kids again.

I have, looking back, been scared of kids, nervous.  I was always feeling ill at ease, and it’s very hard to explain to someone who has not been abused.  For the same reason, I have always been very nervous of being touched.  I feel it is quite alien.  I cannot stand anyone who is touchy feely.

You see all my life I have read newspaper reports of priests being prosecuted for being paedophiles.  In nearly all cases they state in court that they were abused in their childhood.  I believe this is an excuse, not the reason they did it.  After all, we are all taught to know right from wrong.  I do believe that all men are capable of rape.  But 99.99999999% of men, do not rape, because they know right from wrong.  The people abusing children in my early years, just like the men today on the internet grooming children, know it’s wrong.  They know it is illegal.  But that doesn’t stop them.

I have spent a lifetime in Robinson’s shadow.

I decided at an early age he wasn’t going to ruin my life.  After all, he left my life in 1961.  But yes I do have to suffer the after-effects.  I am still suffering.


8. A Lifetime of Shame, Guilt and Fear

I have had a lifetime of shame, guilt and fear.  I put it all away in the back of my mind and get on with life.  But although these feelings are locked away, they are not gone.

All my life I’ve heard Jimmy Robinson walking around in my head.  And every so often I hear the floorboards squeak.  Yes, he’s still there.  But at least I got on with my life.  I made the best of a bad job.


7. Trust No One

So as far as I was concerned, this was the last I would ever have to do with this homosexual, Jimmy Robinson.  I say “homosexual” because that’s what I thought Robinson was.  It wasn’t until I got to about 40 years of age when I suddenly heard a new word, paedophile.  Upon using a dictionary I found out that my abuser was a paedophile, not a homosexual.  That confusion, that fear and misunderstanding, is just one of the after effects of my abuse.

Over the years, I have seen hundreds of reports in the newspapers to do with priests going to court for abusing children.  I have never shied away from wanting to know about the subject or to try and find the whereabouts of my abuser.  But I never came across anything.  I have often thought about my abuse, wondered about any other victims.  But something always told me Jimmy Robinson was dead and rotting in hell.  With this, I was happy.

The abuse I suffered and the experiences that I had to endure, had a terrible effect on my life.   These visions of Robinson, live with me every day.  But I learned from a very early age to bottle things up, to switch my mind off.  I became very hard mentally, take it or leave it.  I have had to learn to look after number one, stuff everyone else.

When the abuse happened, I look back to my schooldays, when they should have been the best days of my life.  I see now that I withdrew, went back into my shell.  I am ashamed that for the next 4 years at school, I sat looking out of the window.  I switched off, I wouldn’t, or should I say couldn’t, learn anything at school.  I am ashamed that I have never passed one exam, not one.

In the last year of my schooling, I spent nearly all of the year in the metalwork shops, with a school teacher named Mr. Sam Taylor.  I never confided to him of my abuse, but I think he suspected there was something wrong with me, or should I say he thought I had troubles.  For nearly a year I spent all my school hours cleaning, tidying and generally helping this teacher in any way I could.

Or is this the story of an idle mind.  As I say I could never concentrate.

I have had 51 years to lock away my demons, lock away my childhood, hide my innermost fears.  The main thing I learned, so many years ago, was that I am a survivor.  I was victimized, but chose to get on with my life.  I am what I am, you see what you see.  If you don’t like me, that’s fine.  I stick up for number one, me.  I’ve always had to.  I say what I think.  I come straight to the point.

I learned one thing, trust no one and I won’t get hurt.