A child rape at St. Mary’s school in Tokyo, then a 50-year wait for closure

APR 29, 2015

My dear children, whom Jesus, our Saviour, has loved so much, whom he bends down to embrace and bless, come to us, stay with us. We will be the guardian angels of your innocence.

Father Jean-Marie De La Mennais, founder of The Brothers of Christian Instruction (Sermon VII)


In late 1964, after his family moved to Japan from Australia, Jacob Bernstein was enrolled at St. Mary’s International School in Tokyo. His father, Robert, a diplomat, had been sent to the Australian Embassy in the city — his first overseas posting.

One lunchtime late in 1965, Jacob says he was searching for a good spot to eat lunch when he passed the school chapel.

Being Jewish, the 11-year-old Grade 6 student didn’t eat the school lunches served in the dining room as most of the boys did. St. Mary’s, a Catholic boys’ school run by the Brothers of Christian Instruction, aka the Mennaisians, was unable to prepare food that was kosher, so he had to eat a prepared lunch from home instead.

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