Outside LCWR meeting, victims allege abuse by sisters

ST. LOUIS -- As Catholic sisters from across the country were sequestered in meeting rooms Wednesday to discuss broad issues of the place of women and men in the church, specifically their relationships with bishops following a Vatican rebuke, five people stood outside the building.

Their focus was on issues familiar to Catholics: sexual abuse of minors, followed by denial and confusion.

For two of those standing outside the annual assembly of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, however, the alleged abusers didn't wear clerical collars. They were Catholic sisters.

The group outside the assembly in the humid Missouri heat were representatives of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, the leading advocate for victims of clergy sex abuse.

Among those holding signs with the group was Steve Theisen, SNAP's Iowa director, who drove five hours to take part in the event.

Theisen said he was abused by his fourth-grade teacher, a Catholic sister. He is calling on LCWR to sponsor a national audit of congregations of women religious to investigate the scope of possible abuse in their ranks.

Theisen said he first became involved with SNAP wh...


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