Former choirboy Edward Hayes has spoken out to reveal how a nun repeatedly raped him when he was 12 years old and then went on to have his baby.
He says he was sexually abused for three years during his time at a church-run home in England.
The John Reynolds Home in Lytham St Annes, Lancashire was run by Catholic nuns from the order of the Franciscan Missionaries of St Joseph.
The now 76-year-old grandfather has waived his right to anonymity revealing that he was raped by a 27-year-old Irish nun Sister Mary Conleth while staying at the home in the 1950’s
The Mail Online reports: Mr Hayes was just 10 years old, and known as Billy, when he was taken to the home. Having grown up poor and neglected and suffering from malnutrition, arriving at the home initially appeared to be a blessing.
He said: ‘It was nice to be somewhere warm, where I was eating food and having hot baths. My first years there created some great memories for me.
‘I was a great student, I sang in the choir, I could read perfect Latin and playing football – even being touted by local football clubs.’
This changed when Irish nun Sister Mary Conleth arrived a couple of years later. She worked in the laundry room and asked for Mr Hayes’ assistance.
Mr Hayes was regularly left on his own with Sister Conleth, giving her access to him daily.
He said: ‘I had barely started work in the laundry when it happened. I was still twelve. She’d pull my trousers down, push me to the floor and lay on top of me.
‘She would pull her habit up and she had no pants on. She’d talk dirty to me. I would not let her kiss me. I thought babies were made by men kissing women.’
By the time he was 14, Mr Hayes was even allocated his own room – something unheard of at the home.
The reason for the perk soon became apparent when Sister Conleth started paying him visits after lights out.
The abuse came to an end in April 1956 after the nun declared she was pregnant.
Mr Hayes said: ‘At the time I didn’t even understand how I got her pregnant because I never kissed her. We were more naïve back then.’
The nun was sent back to Ireland to live with her sister, while Mr Hayes was banished from the home after Christmas 1956.
He was then adopted by another family and began his chaotic adult life where he became an alcoholic by the time he was 21.
Mr Hayes got married and had two children but his marriage soon failed.
He went into the Army and served in the Royal Artillery, but left five years later in 1969 after developing an ulcer, as a result of his drinking, and was given a medical discharge.
Mr Hayes said: ‘I couldn’t ever settle, every single day I thought about the abuse, I started drinking to try to blot everything out. I never told anybody what happened to me, not even my wife.’
It was only in 1998 that Mr Hayes, who worked as a printer after leaving the Army, started another journey – this time a long and arduous road to justice.
He said: ‘I read an article about a Catholic Church abuse survivor and thought, ‘I’m going to speak out, I need to do something about this’.’
He first went to the police then a social worker and his local MP and, years later, was directed towards a Catholic care charity.
But it was only when Mr Hayes was directed to survivor group MACSAS (Minister and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors) through a leaflet he picked up at the local library, his life started to change.
Through the group, in 2010, Mr Hayes met MACSAS volunteer Noel Chardon, also a survivor of Catholic Church abuse, who was on a mission to help others come to terms with their abuse after experiencing failings in care for himself.
Retired English teacher and trained psychologist Noel, 72, also offers his own telephone befriender service, similar to the Samaritans, and supports survivors in his own time.
He said: ‘Victims of the Catholic Church are treated absolutely appallingly. I know that first hand. Edward was set up in a cul-de-sac by the Catholic care charity who dumped him there. They are waiting for people like Edward, like myself, to die so they can say this all happened such a long time ago and they’re so very sorry.’
Noel helped rehome Mr Hayes in a better area, claim benefits and build bridges with his family. In 2012 Mr Hayes was told he would receive legal aid, so he could make the Church accountable in court.
He fought for compensation and received a paltry £20,000, most of which was swallowed up by his legal fees.
But he feels the amount is derisory and doesn’t atone for what he went through and is still trying to find out what happened to the baby he fathered.
Mr Hayes said: ‘I was pleased to bring them to account but it was pittance. I worked out they were giving me about 22p a day for my ordeal.
‘I had to pay £10,000 to the solicitor and then I had costs of around £5,000 myself so I didn’t come out with much at all.
‘But at least I made them acknowledge what they had done to me. And now, as I speak publicly, I think will be the most satisfying of all.
‘As for the nun, she died in 2002 so I might never find out what happened to the child. I am still speaking to organisations in Ireland. I have gotten used to being determined.’
Mr Hayes bravely waived his right to anonymity to lift the lid on his abuse and encourage other victims to come forward.
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