AN East Lancashire author has revealed how his adolescence was blighted by sexual abuse at the hands of his headteacher.

Graham Caveney, who is originally from Accrington, has written a memoir of his teenage years to published on September 7 which has been described by one reviewer as ‘hilarious and horrifying’.

In the book, the author spoke of his warm affection for East Lancashire and details the two years of abuse he faced by the then head of St Mary’s Grammar School in Blackburn, Catholic priest Father Kevin O’Neill.

The book ‘The Boy with the Perpetual Nervousness’ shows how the 52-year-old punk rock fan’s life was ‘overshadowed’ by the experience.

Mr Caveney, who now lives in Nottingham, said: “I have warm memories of my growing up in East Lancashire and a great love for the place.

“But it was all overshadowed by the prolonged serious sexual abuse I suffered from Fr O’Neill.

“I could say nothing while my parents Jack and Kathleen, both devout Catholics, were alive but I did report it to the Marist Order which had run the school.

“They never reported it to the police although he was removed from the school.

“What really upset me was when in 2008, when the order knew about the abuse, the school named the Performing Arts block after him.”

The school in Shear Brow, now St Mary’s College has since removed all references to Fr O’Neill, who died in 2011, from the block and school.

Mr Caveney said: “I wrote the book because I had to.

“After my parents had passed away and I got sober in 2009, I realised it had to be done.

“So far it has not been as therapeutic as I though it might be but that could change. A book has a life of its own.

“It is about the good times, the funny times and the bad times of growing up in and around Accrington and some of the lovely places and parks I remember.”

Fellow author Jonathan Coe described the work as ‘fascinating, hilarious and horrifying,’ adding: “It’s a book which blew me away and shook me to the core.”

Mr Caveney said: “I am not sure what I expected when I reported Fr O’Neill to the order but looking back he should have been reported to the police.

“I certainly did not expect to see all the tributes to him when he died and the performing arts block named after him.

“I am not aware of any other complaints about him.”

Fr O'Neill was never convicted of any of the offences mentioned in the book but was asked to leave the school and sent for therapy in the United States.

A spokesman for the Marist Order said: “This is a matter of profound regret.

“We condemn unreservedly anything which causes harm or distress to others.

"Abusive behaviour has absolutely no place in the Catholic Church, or anywhere in our society, and stands against every value and principle that we hold.

"The abuse by this individual happened in the late 1970s but we are deeply sorry for the pain and distress caused.

"As soon as the allegations were made, the individual was confronted, admitted his wrongdoing and was immediately removed from his post and left the school.

“The college was unaware of this when the performing arts block was named and all references to this individual at the college have now been removed, and we fully support the governing body’s decision to re-name the performing arts block.

“For many years now the comprehensive national safeguarding policies of the Catholic Church have been followed by the Society, and the college has effective safeguarding arrangements, as recognised by Ofsted.

"We have in place robust safeguarding policies and procedures - overseen by a strong safeguarding team and in line with the Catholic Church’s safeguarding policies - to ensure all our parishioners, particularly children, young people and vulnerable adults, are as safe as possible.”

The spokesman said he was unaware of any other complaints about Fr O’Neill,

A statement from the school governors said: ‘St Mary’s College was both shocked and saddened to learn of the historical allegations of abuse by Fr O’Neill.

"These events took place at the former Grammar School in the 1970’s, prior to incorporation. At the time of the opening of the Performing Arts block, neither the Principal nor governing body was aware of these allegations.

"We have now taken immediate steps to remove all references to Fr O’Neill from the Performing Arts space and all other parts of the college.

"The governing body will also discuss the renaming of the Performing Arts block at a forthcoming governing body meeting in the near future.

"St Mary’s College takes its responsibility to safeguard all young and vulnerable people very seriously. In our latest Ofsted inspection, our safeguarding arrangements were deemed to be effective.

"Ofsted also recognised that ‘staff within the safeguarding team are suitably trained, have appropriate experience in child protection procedures and ensure that safeguarding matters are resolved rapidly and effectively’.

"St Mary’s College condemns any form of abuse and will work with and co operate fully with any relevant agencies in relation to this matter."