"The secret not yet told": Women describe alleged abuse by nuns
Catholic bishops from across the U.S. are gathering Wednesday for a weeklong retreat on the clergy sex abuse crisis at a seminary near Chicago. Organizers said the retreat, which was requested by , will focus on prayer and spiritual reflection and not policy-making.
The gathering comes as CBS News has also learned of several cases involving nuns accused of sexual misconduct. The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests – or SNAP – said it doesn't keep count of sexual abuse allegations, but CBS News' Nikki Battiste has spoken with several women who recently reported misconduct, ranging from forceful kissing to molestation, all carried out by nuns.
When Trish Cahill was 15 years old she said she confided in Sister Eileen Shaw at a convent in New Jersey. Cahill said she told Shaw things she'd never revealed to anyone about her now-deceased uncle – a priest – whom she claims sexually abused her, starting at age five.
"I would have done anything for her. I would have died for her," Cahill said. "She gave me everything that was lacking that I didn't even know I was lacking. I was so broken. She filled in all those pieces."
She now describes that process as "grooming," saying Shaw plied her with drugs and alcohol while teaching her how to have sex with a woman.
"I'm with my friends during the day. And I'm with this pedophile nun on the evenings and on the weekends, and in the summer," Cahill said.
The Catholic Church has been plagu...
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.