The information that is available about his departure from Upton is limited. The Superior General, Fr Montes,24 wrote to the Irish Provincial, Fr Giuseppe, stating: Fr Carlo told me, sincerely, I think the whole story. He tearfully acknowledged his mistake. I sent him to Diano Marina on the sea between Genoa and Nice ... He accepts his present situation as a penance but I am convinced that we will have to find a place for him by September. Could he not go to America? ... I can understand that you were relieved at his departure. One could have had certain fears for the Upton house, also because, in the past the Government had some unfavourable reports regarding morality between the boys, as you will recall.
Although the letter in this case does not say it, it is apparent that the reason for Fr Carlo’s departure was very serious, and that he was extremely contrite about it. He left the School at an unusual time of the school year, so it may be inferred that his transfer was made urgently, rather than waiting until the late summer when transfers took place. His situation at the time was ‘a penance’, and the Superior General was faced with a problem of where to put him. The Provincial was pleased at his departure from Upton, and the Superior General acknowledged that there could have been fears that were related to immorality between the boys. Fr Montes thought of sending him to America, a solution that was employed on a number of other occasions for people who sexually abused. There was no indication of any other abuse or fault that could have accounted for Fr Carlo’s unseasonal departure, and in the circumstances the inference is that, on the balance of probabilities, Fr Carlo was guilty of sexual abuse in Upton.
The probability is that Fr Carlo was removed from Upton because of sexual abuse but the matter is not beyond doubt. The inferences from Fr Montes’s letter are all indicative of sexual abuse, as indeed is his use of allusions rather than specific terminology in his letter to the Irish Provincial The Rome file: Fr Santino25
In the late 1940s, in his new parish, it was discovered that Fr Santino ‘had again lapsed. Badly’. The newly appointed Provincial, Fr Arturo,27 stated in a letter to the Superior General, Fr Montes, that he had been trying to figure out what to do with Fr Santino, but he had come to the conclusion that there was no work in the English province that he would feel justified in allowing him to do, except perhaps as a Minister of a Rosminian house at Rugby. However, he stated that he could not place Fr Santino there immediately, because of the ‘admiratio’28 that it would cause to the members of the institute. Fr Arturo suggested sending Fr Santino to the Novitiate at Kilmurry, County Cork in the Irish-American Province for a period of six months, and that ‘his face could be saved by making it part of an exchange between the two provinces’. He added that Kilmurry was a place where Fr Santino would be ‘safe for the time being’.
Fr Montes replied that the latest revelations constituted ‘really bad news, even if not completely unexpected’. He told Fr Arturo that he had stressed the need to inform the local Rector in Kilmurry of Fr Santino’s history, so that the latter could keep an eye on him. He informed Fr Arturo that he had been in communication with Fr Orsino, the Provincial of the Irish-American Province, about what could be done with Fr Santino. He noted that Kilmurry was short of space and that the only available position was that of confessor of novices, a position that Fr Montes stated that he ‘couldn’t in conscience give him that, even apart from his deplorable weakness’. He said that Fr Santino ‘deserves to do two months of penance at Melleray’, and he gave permission for him to be sent there. He also noted that Fr Santino ‘will always be a problem because he does not acknowledge the evil he has done’, and suggested that he would be somebody for Fr Torre29 to study. Fr Torre was a member of the English Province who had some skill as a psychotherapist.
The actual reason for his sudden removal from Upton and his quitting the Order was made perfectly clear by the evidence of Br Alfonso to the Investigation Committee. The reasons for his departure can be further deduced from a letter by the Superior General, Fr Montes to Fr Orsino, the Provincial in Ireland, although the details are obscured by circumlocutions: As regards the latest painful news of Gilberto, keeping precedents in mind and his own spontaneous remark dating from last Spring about leaving the Institute, I now think that the best advice to offer him is to ask for a dispensation. He must realise that, after what has happened at Upton, he can no longer enjoy the confidence of Superiors and could not be happy in the Institute. If he agrees to what is suggested, tell him to write his petition on a large size sheet, as big at least as the one I am writing on, and to say that he is asking for a dispensation because he feels himself unequal to the obligations of a religious.
Fr Montes went on to give advice about procedure ‘in cases like these’: Even though the situation was difficult and dangerous, Fr Fabiano should have spoken with Gilberto before sending him to Kilmurry. He could have told him it was in his best interests to be sent away from Upton for the time being in order to put an end to gossip. I feel for Fr Fabiano because he was in a delicate situation, but experience has taught me in cases like these one has to let the person accused have his say. Otherwise, he will always be able to argue that he was condemned without being given the opportunity to defend himself.