Native American victims of sex abuse at Catholic boarding schools fight for justice

MARTY—There is a feel to the old place that still haunts her. Even with construction crews working the earth and birds chirping noisily in the trees above, she can feel the silence. Behind the silence, sadness and horror.

Louise Charbonneau Aamot rested her fist on the church windowsill as her eyes welled with tears. Its gray steeple cutting into the sky, the church towered over the grounds of the old St. Paul's Indian Mission boarding school..

The school, tucked away in a woodsy expanse of the Yankton Reservation, is where her childhood was destroyed.

Aamot is not silent.

Even after her lawsuit was felled in 2010 when South Dakota lawmakers passed a last-minute bill to tweak the state’s statute of limitations, taking away the ability of abuse victims older than 40 to pursue legal action against institutions responsible for their trauma, Aamot continues to share her story.

She does wonder, though, if anyone is willing to listen.

“I’m going to fight until my dying day,” she said. “I’m going to fight so this doesn’t happen again.”

Aamot and other Native American abuse victims are still without answers after recent attempts at transparency by South Dakota’s Catholic authorities.

In line with dioceses around the country, the Catholic Diocese of Sioux Falls in March named 11 priests accused of committing child sex abuse between 1950 and 1992.

But there was no mention of Catholic educators accused by dozens of former students of perpetrating horrific acts of physical and sexual abuse during the course of decades at the Catholic Church’s network of reservation boarding schools.

There was no mention of the men who haunt Aamot’s memory.

Sioux Falls diocese officials declined to discuss any allegations of problems at the Catholic-run mission schools.

Chancellor Matt Althoff said he encourages victims to reach out to the diocese for help.

"I welcome them to come forward,” Althoff said. "They can be assured confi...

Read the rest of the story here.


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  • Patricia Sulecki
    commented 2019-05-22 07:21:27 -0500
    Patricia Sulecki
    2015 I started a petition at Moveon.org
    petition title:All rapist should be register sex offenders ;this includes pedophile clergymen… clergy" catholic priest and nun’s are capable of such crimes as sexual abuse on children (Ask a Survivor ) hear the victims voice and see our faces.(Abolish the Statute of Limitation) do to clergy sexual abuse on children" past & present.

    By law: all pedophiles should be registered sex offenders.
    including" clergy" catholic priest;"
    abuse;" we are asking for help in seeking justice.
    pedophiles, found a loophole in the religious system; become a Priest
    and get away with rape, sexual abuse and torture on children. Why does the sex offender laws change when it pertains to ( pedophile ) clergymen?
  • Patricia Sulecki
    commented 2019-05-22 07:21:27 -0500
    Patricia Sulecki
    2015 I started a petition at Moveon.org
    petition title:All rapist should be register sex offenders ;this includes pedophile clergymen… clergy" catholic priest and nun’s are capable of such crimes as sexual abuse on children (Ask a Survivor ) hear the victims voice and see our faces.(Abolish the Statute of Limitation) do to clergy sexual abuse on children" past & present.

    By law: all pedophiles should be registered sex offenders.
    including" clergy" catholic priest;"
    abuse;" we are asking for help in seeking justice.
    pedophiles, found a loophole in the religious system; become a Priest
    and get away with rape, sexual abuse and torture on children. Why does the sex offender laws change when it pertains to ( pedophile ) clergymen?

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