Tag Archives: shame

29. The Verdict

My brothers and I sat outside the courtroom, still waiting.  The jury had been out for 5 hours, over two days.  Today was Friday 22 October 2010.  We were sitting there seemingly waiting, in a state of nervousness, anticipation and dread.

Miss R appeared, and said, “The barristers for both sides have been summoned to the Judge’s chambers for tea.”  I enquired what this meant and I was told that, “it always happens when the jury have reached their verdict.  Soon we will be in court.”  It was 12 noon.  At 12.30 we were ushered into the courtroom.  I sat next to GS, less than 8 feet away from where Robinson would be seated.

A door opened and in came Robinson.  He sat down, having never taken his eyes away from the Judge’s chair.  This was it, Robinson, the former professional boxer, winner of 31 professional fights.  I can now recall thinking, will he be winning his 32nd fight?  The outcome of this fight would be felt by all the victims, their families, the Police and, more importantly, Robinson.  After all, it was given in evidence that he never lost a professional fight.  Would the now grown up lads end his distinguished career record?  We all hoped and prayed we would.

The Judge entered and we all stood up.  I looked at Robinson and I saw an old man, having aged many years over the last few hours.  He looked vulnerable, scared and somewhat “not quite with us” as we all sat down.  The Judge asked the foreman of the jury, “have you reached a verdict?”  The foreman responded “yes.”

The Judge then went on to ask the most important question of the trial:  “On charge No 1, do you find the accused guilty or not guilty?

G and I looked at the foreman.

“Guilty.”

I grasped G’s hand and the Judge asked the foreman for the answers to the other 20 charges.

On each charge James Robinson was found guilty.

I still cannot believe the atmosphere.  There was no sound at all in court, no talking, no rejoicing, no nothing.  Then at the end of the charges the Judge adjourned the court for ten minutes.  The court stood up and the Judge walked out.  I looked at the clock.  It was 12.45 pm.  We all remained seated, not wanting to leave our seats.  Robinson too remained seated.  I watched him, there was a tear in his eyes.  The tear didn’t run down his face, that would have shown weakness.  But his eyes were far from dry.  I thought to myself, now he feels the threat, the pain, and the fact that everything happening is out of his control.

I thought, welcome to how we felt, as young lads, the difference is, you deserve the feeling, we did not.

At five to one, the court arose, and the Judge walked back in, taking his place, Lord of all he surveyed.  He spoke to the barristers for both sides and then, having reviewed some notes, looked up at Robinson.  It was now.  Now was the time that Robinson’s professional career would take a nose dive.  He had lost his 32nd fight, the most important fight of his career.  In fact, the most important fight of his life.  The grown up little lads had won, now it was time for the Official Referee to announce the score.

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18. Paedophile Priest Father BW

In December 2009, I received a phone call from a priest that I had known for 8 years.  He was a very nice man (they always are).  This was Fr BW.  He wanted me to do work at his house and his girlfriend’s house.  I worked for Fr BW for about 4 or 5 weeks and, whilst working for him, I was told by an acquaintance that BW was under investigation for child abuse.  This news came as a bit of a shock.  But as work was short and this was, after all, business, I carried on regardless.

I was aware of his investigation although he was not aware of my situation with regards to the trial.  After I finished doing the work I was paid and I thanked them.  In 2010 Fr BW was convicted of child abuse and given an 18 month suspended sentence.  He walks around the town today, head held high, everyone saying, “Hello Fr BW.”  Drives me mad, no shame.

A few weeks later I drive into a petrol station for fuel and on the other side of the petrol pump was BW.  He looked at me, and when I got out of the car he said, out loud, “Hello Geoff.”  With this I said not one word.  I put out my hand and he shook it.  I clenched his hand and pulled him over to me.  As his hand and his face came towards me and I said, “BW, I had a lot of respect for you.”  He replied, “You only heard one side of the story.”  I looked him straight in the eye, less than 6 inches away, and said, “You pleaded guilty in court, you #@%! Bastard.”  He looked at me, shell shocked.  I walked away.  He stood there in disbelief.  I know one when I see one.  As I say, I’m not scared of priests any more.  I stick up for myself, I have always had to.


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.


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.