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July 28th, 2013

Sex Abuse in the Church – Nuns Commit Sex Abuse Too

Sex Abuse in the Church - Nuns Commit Sex Abuse Too

Child sex abuse is not just committed by men. Women, the elderly and even other children can sexually abuse a child. In addition, many people think of sex abuse within religious institutions as having been committed by men, or priests. However, sex abuse is also committed by nuns.

Nun Convicted of Sex Abuse

In 2008, an elderly nun was convicted of sexually abusing at least two children while she was a teacher and principal of a Catholic elementary school in Milwaukee. The abuse was alleged to have occurred in the 1960’s when she was in her late 30s, as reported by NBC Chicago. In approximately 2006, two former students came forward and alleged that the nun had sexually abused them beginning when they were 13 years old. The abuse began with touching and eventually led to rape in the form of sexual intercourse. The nun eventually pled no contest in the case and served one year in jail.

One of the victims stated that he knew of over 10 additional boys who had been sexually abused by the same nun. The same victim also alleged in a subsequent lawsuit that the religious order in charge of the nun knew of and covered up a previous allegation of sex abuse. The religious order was accused of moving the nun to the Milwaukee elementary school and failing to warn students and parents of a prior sex abuse scandal which resulted in the nun going to therapy.

Church Liability for Sex Abuse by Nuns

Under the laws of both Pennsylvania and New Jersey, any one who commits sexual abuse of a child can be criminally and civilly punished. In addition, those who protect or otherwise fail to stop child sex abuse may also face liability, at least in the civil courts. This includes churches, youth organizations, religious orders, etc.

Whether the abuser is a nun or a priest, the church or religious order which oversees the perpetrator can be held liable. Common claims in civil lawsuits against such entities include:

  • failure to supervise,
  • failure to respond appropriately to reports of sex abuse,
  • failure to train employees about sex abuse, and
  • failure to warn others about the abusive priest/nun.

Victims of child sex abuse, whether perpetrated by a male or female, often suffer for the rest of their lives. Many victims will become dependent on drugs or alcohol, have difficulty forming meaningful relationships, etc. In severe cases, victims will commit suicide. Sadly, many victims of child sex abuse will never come forward and report the abuse.  If you have been the victim of sex abuse by a church member such as a priest or nun, contact SNAP (Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests).

Related church sex abuse articles:

Church Sex Abuse Lawyer. Representation by a Former Prosecutor

Guy D’Andrea, is a former sex crimes unit prosecutor who now represents victims of sexual abuse in the civil courts. For more information about church or priest sex abuse cases, click here.

Our attorneys represent sex abuse victims nationwide.

**This website does not provide legal advice. Every case is unique and it is crucial to get a qualified, expert legal opinion prior to making any decisions about your case. See the full disclaimer at the bottom of this page.