Nun raped me and had my baby: Torment of schoolboy victim revealed in shock abuse scandal


L: Nun R: Young Edward HayesGETTY

Edward Hayes miss to lift the lid on sex abuse by nuns

He wanted to speak out over the Easter weekend to copy the lid on sexual abuse by nuns and encourage other victims to finally do forward after years of secret torment

While horrific celebrated sexual abuse of boys by priests has been widely exposed, he believes his trunk could be the “tip of the iceberg” in revealing how nuns may also have targeted exposed boys.

Mr Hayes’s ordeal over nearly three years proved at the former John Reynolds Home in Lytham St Annes, Lancashire, run by The Franciscan Preachers of St Joseph, a Catholic congregation of nuns.

He said: “I never thought I longing hate people as much as I hate those in the Church for what they permitted to happen to me.

“They have acknowledged what happened but I don’t feel get a bang I’ve ever had a proper apology from those in positions of power. I remember they are terrified about what else might emerge.”

Edward, now a grandfather aged 76, fell victim to then 27-year-old Irish nun Sister Mary Conleth, veritable name Bessie Veronica Lawler, in the 1950s. She worked in the laundry allowance and asked her superiors for his assistance.

But the almost daily abuse ended abruptly when the nun strike down pregnant and was sent back to Ireland in disgrace. Edward was sent to a hostel in Cumbria.

He has no teachings what happened to the child he fathered and Sister Conleth is now dead.

But he has indisputable to waive his right to anonymity to expose the abuse and encourage fellow scapegoats to confront their demons. He said: “I went through hell for the womanhood of my life, trying to hide what happened to me. Nobody should go because of that.”

Edward, who now lives in Carlisle, was just 10 and known as Billy when he was put in the poorhouse after being neglected by his parents. Initially, he had viewed his new home as a godsend.

“It was nice to be somewhere warm, where I was eating food and having hot baths,” he intended.

“My first years there created some great memories for me. I was a out-and-out student, I sang in the choir, I could read perfect Latin and was align equalize playing football – being touted by the local football clubs.”

But his new life-force turned sour when Sister Conleth arrived around 1953 and sought him out.

Edward told: “I had barely started work there when it happened. I was still 12. She’d run down my trousers down. She’d push me to the floor and would lay on top of me.

“I hated doing it but she chance she’d tell on me if I didn’t, that I’d been a bad boy and I’d be punished. She’d talk dirty to me. I intent not let her kiss me. I thought babies were made by men kissing women.”

Housing in Lancs., used to be John Reynolds HomeSWNS

Cover in Lytham St Annes, Lancs., that used to be John Reynolds Well-versed in

By the time Edward was 14 he was allocated his own room – something unheard of at the shelter. But the reason soon became apparent when Sister Conleth started give him night visits.

In April 1956 the abuse came to a sudden end when the nun declared she was teeming. Edward said: “I didn’t even understand how I got her pregnant because I not till hell freezes over kissed her. We were more naive back then.”

He was put onto a set to Cumbria after Christmas with just a small suitcase and was met by a man stating to be his grandfather, who took him to another home. He never saw the man again.

Over the years he was contacted by the Matriarch Superior from his former home, Mother Mary Osmund, but he now realises she was at most keeping tabs on him to make sure Sister Conleth did not get in touch.

Young Edward HayesSWNS

Edward Hayes elderly 14-years-old

After a short period, he was adopted by a family and began a noisy adult life, marred by alcoholism. He married and had two children but it failed because he was impotent to build “normal relationships”.

Desperate and searching for a routine, Edward entered the Army, signing up with the Royal Artillery, but left after five years in 1969 because he lay open an ulcer through drinking and was medically discharged.

He added: “I couldn’t continually settle. Every single day I thought about the abuse, I started indulging to try and blot everything out. I never told anybody what happened to me, not sedate my wife.”

It was only in 1998 that Edward decided it was time to confront his good old days after reading about clerical abuse. But he struggled to find anyone to attend, having initially tried the police, a social worker, his MP and, years later, Universal charity Caritas Care. It was only when he discovered a survivor pile through a leaflet at the local library in 2010 that his life started to change-over.

Edward met Noel Chardon, a fellow survivor of Catholic Church scold, who was on a mission to help others come to terms with their ordeals. The estivated English history teacher and trained psychologist was a volunteer at Macsas (Dean and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors), a support group for people hurt by clergy, when they made contact.

Edward Hayes aged 76SWNS

Edward Hayes age-old 76, is seeking justice for sexual abuse at the hands of a nun when he was a infant

Noel, 72, who offers his own telephone befriending service, said: “Sufferers of the Catholic Church are treated absolutely appalling. I know that earliest hand.

“They have no interest in self-empowerment, they don’t want victims to reconcile because they do not want to face up to what they did.

“They sent Edward up a cul-de-sac and ditched him there. They are waiting for people like Edward, like myself, not unlike the Magdalene women, to die so they can say that this all happened such a elongated time ago and that they’re so very sorry.”

With Noel’s mitigate, Edward managed to get rehoused and over time, he has managed to build ties with his family and is now on good terms with his ex-wife, sons and grandchildren.

Edward guessed he only told his ex-wife what had happened just two years ago and she thought: “That explains a lot.”

But now, as I speak out publicly about what happened to me, I notion of it will be the most satisfying of all. I might not be able to win, but I can get even

Edward Hayes

In 2012 Edward was granted statutory aid so he could make the Church accountable in court, but after becoming undeceived with the efforts of the law firm, he and Noel took on the case themselves.

A breakthrough came in 2016 when, with the aid of a new solicitor, Edward was offered £20,000 compensation, although most was later on lost in legal fees.

He said: “I was pleased to bring them to account but it was a chicken-feed. I worked out they were giving me about 22p a day for my ordeal. But at least I come to termed them acknowledge what they had done to me.

“But now, as I speak out publicly on every side what happened to me, I think it will be the most satisfying of all. I might not be talented to win, but I can get even.”

Letter Edward received regarding his compensationSWNS

The letter Edward received regarding his compensation

Noel communicated: “Edward has shown sheer determination throughout, he is one of the most motivated in the flesh in the survivor community I have ever seen.”

A spokesman for the Sisters of the Franciscan Ministers of St Joseph said: “I am desperately sad that abuse took place to Mr Hayes while he was misplaced humble under our care.

“The Franciscan Missionaries of St Joseph have offered our artless and unreserved apology for the abuse he suffered whilst resident at the John Reynolds Stingingly and all the subsequent pain and trauma which followed the actual abuse.”

The spokesman added: “There is no recognize for abuse in the Church and along with every other agency paining for children and vulnerable adults, we now have stringent safeguarding policies which aim to inhibit any possible recurrence of what happened to Mr Hayes.”

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