- SNAP will try to hand deliver letter to head of nuns’ group
- They want names of predatory Catholic sisters posted on line
- And victims urge nuns – “Don’t investigate crimes internally"
- An independent source cites at least 77 sexually abusive women religious
Holding signs and childhood pictures, outside a hotel where Catholic nuns are meeting, clergy sex abuse victims will hold a news conference, urging the sisters to post, on their websites,
-- notices urging victims and witnesses to report child sex crimes to police, not church officials, and
--the names, photos and whereabouts of proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting nuns on church websites.
They will also prod nuns to
--stop requiring gag orders when civil lawsuits against abusive nuns are settled, and
--actively reach out to victims of nun abuse
They will try to hand deliver a letter to the head of the nuns’ organization expressing frustration over the unwillingness of Catholic sisters to take proactive steps to address nuns’ sex crimes, heal the wounded and protect the vulnerable.
Tuesday, August 7,----1:00 p.m.
Outside the Millennium Hotel, 200 S. Fourth (between Clark & Walnut) in downtown St. Louis
Four-five clergy sex abuse victim who belong to a self-help group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org) including at least two – a St. Louis woman an d an Iowa man – who were sexually assaulted as children by a Catholic sister
The annual conference of the Leadership Council of Women Religious is being held this week in St. Louis. The LCWR is the main group of Catholic nuns and sisters in the US.
Since 2004, SNAP has prodded the LCWR to openly address the topic of abuse and cover up by nuns, an issue which commonly takes a backseat to abuse by priests, remaining dangerously in the shadows. More and more, SNAP is hearing from men and women who were molested - as innocent kids and vulnerable adults - by nuns. Yet nun officials have done little, if anything, to determine just how widespread such crimes and cover ups are or take effective steps to protect the vulnerable or heal the wounded.
At least two nuns who worked in St. Louis have been accused in civil lawsuits of sexually violating kids. One, Sr. Judith Fisher. Fisher was sued in 2003 for allegedly molesting a 8th grade girl at Immacolata Catholic School in Richmond Heights. (Fisher passed away in 2004). Another nun, Sr. Linda Cusano, allegedly molested a high school student in Hamden, CT.
Fisher belonged to the St. Louis-based Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. Cusano also worked at Cor Jesu in Affton MO. Both suits were settled out of court.
Victims of nuns have repeatedly asked the LCWR to take several tangible, proven steps to better safeguard those at risk of abuse and respond more compassionately to those who have been abused. The nuns have never responded affirmatively to these requests, which have been made prior to virtually every LCWR annual conference over the past eight years.
In April of this year, the Vatican announced that they were instituting a “reform effort” for the LCWR, in an effort to bring the group in line with traditional Vatican views on issues such as birth control and women’s ordination. SNAP wants the Vatican to include in its investigation the widespread abuse of children by nuns, the response to these abuses by women’s religious orders, and to take the bare minimum step of brining LCWR in line with the Dallas Charter.
The LCWR has more than 1,500 members, roughly 900 of whom are expected at this meeting. It represents about 95% of the 68,000 women religious in the US. Few of these religious communities of women answer to the local bishops; instead the majority of these orders report to a little-known Vatican office.
According to the Boston-based BishopAccountability.org, at least 77 Catholic nuns are publicly accused of molesting children. SNAP has heard from at least 200 victims of sexually abusive nuns
Click HERE to see a copy of SNAP's handout