2005-06-01 02:10:01 UTC
Dezinformacyjnej. Dobra Nowina z Minnesoty.
Woman's suit claims sex abuse by a nun
Herón Márquez Estrada, Star Tribune
June 1, 2005
A 50-year-old California woman filed a lawsuit Tuesday in Rochester,
Minn., alleging that she was sexually assaulted by a Roman Catholic nun
there almost 40 years ago.
Christine A. Bertrand also claims that Sister Benen Kent, who died in
2003, sexually assaulted her for about five years in the 1960s at a
Catholic school she attended in Chicago.
Bertrand, speaking at a news conference at her lawyer's office in St.
Paul on Tuesday, claims she was abused in the summer of 1967 during an
overnight visit to the Rochester convent of the order known as the
She said she only remembered the abuse three years ago while at her home
in Danville, Calif. She contacted the order to seek its help in
confronting and disciplining Kent.
"They did nothing," said Bertrand, who said she sued to change the
manner in which the order deals with abuse cases.
"I feel it is my moral obligation to change the process," said Bertrand,
who said she and two other alleged victims were turned away from the
Rochester convent Tuesday.
They tried to deliver a letter to the order's president.
Kent, a music teacher, was a member of the Sisters of the Third Order
Regular, Congregation of Our Lady of Lourdes, also known as the
Rochester Franciscans. The order has about 325 members in 29 states and
four foreign countries.
Kent taught at St. Juliana's parish school for the order in Chicago and
then was transferred in 1965 to the "mother house" in Rochester.
"The Sisters have no evidence of wrongful actions on their part and will
defend against all claims," the Rochester Franciscans said in a written
statement Tuesday afternoon.
Bertrand was joined Tuesday afternoon by her sister, Karen Britten, who
also claims that Kent sexually molested her for years in Chicago.
Britten did not sue, because the statute of limitations has expired. A
third woman who claims she was abused by Kent also was present but did
not participate in the suit or news conference.
Attorney Jeff Anderson, who filed the suit in Olmsted County District
Court, said Bertrand still had time to file because she remembered the
alleged abuse only three years ago.
In the suit, he and Bertrand are seeking at least $50,000 in damages.
Anderson filed a similar suit against the order in the early 1990s. That
was settled for an undisclosed amount of cash, he said.
Anderson, who has made a national reputation by handling sexual abuse
cases against Catholic priests, said suits against nuns are not as
prevalent but are increasing and are just as serious.
"There are a lot of similarities," he said. "It is to me a lot like the
1980s, when the first cases of abuse by priests began to surface.
"There was absolute denial of any problem."
Herón Márquez Estrada is at ***@startribune.com.