Account followed account. Rory Johnston, a former pupil of the school in Soni, alleged serious and repetitive sexual abuse at the hands of a Fr Collins. "There was no way I could get out of it," he said. "There was no one to tell. You couldn't trust the priests, so who else are you going to trust?"
The conversations between the victims also revealed something else. Father Collins had been removed from the Grace Dieu school after Donald MacFaul, now a barrister in Newcastle, had complained about him. The Order, however, had simply relocated the priest to Soni, where pupils said they became similarly terrified of him.
In Soni, it became clear, there was more than one abuser. Some had later gone on to high notice. Fr Kit Cunningham, who became the rector of St Ethelreda's in London's Holborn, would receive an MBE. "He sexually molested me," said one former pupil. "Then made it clear if I ever said anything I would be in trouble." Events were remembered minutely and many described the depression and "permanent sense of fear and dread" left behind. When Cunningham died at the end of last year he received several laudatory obituaries.
In September 2009, the former pupils had compiled a dossier of abuse and confronted the Order. It was taken seriously. The men began to receive letters from their former teachers, now elderly, confessing to sexual abuse and sadism and expressing contrition. One received a letter from Fr Cunningham asking for forgiveness. (Cunningham also returned his MBE.) The current head of the Order invited the victims to meet their abusers.