Nine former students at a suburban Boston school for the deaf accused 14 nuns of physical, sexual and emotional abuse May 11, the first time widespread allegations of abuse have been made against women in the scandal-scarred archdiocese.
The three women and six men, now 41 to 67 years old, said they were raped, beaten, fondled and had their heads submerged in toilets by nuns at the now-closed Boston School for the Deaf in Randolph, Mass.
All of the alleged victims are deaf and mute and attended the school between 1944 and 1977, according to The Associated Press. The school, run by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston, closed in 1994.
The suit names 14 nuns, all members of the order, two priests, an athletic instructor and retired Bishop Thomas Daily of Brooklyn, N.Y., who held several top jobs in the Boston archdiocese.
"They are all speech-impaired and hearing-impaired," said their attorney, Mitchell Garabedian. "Instead of receiving an education, they received beatings and sexually abusive actions."
The nuns named in the suit are all between 75 and 95 years old. A statement from the order said, "We will proceed with sensitivity and dignity for the alleged abuse and with a sincere reverence for the truth and respect for civil and canon law."
Garabedian, who represented hundreds of abuse victims who reached a $85 million settlement with the arch diocese last year, told The New York Times that some of the victims had their hands tied behind their backs for trying to use sign language. The suit seeks unspecified monetary compensation.
A spokesman for the Boston archdiocese, Fr. Christopher Coyne, said that while the church kept extensive fries on hundreds of allegedly abusive priests, the archdiocese has no record of any prior complaints against anyone affiliated with the Boston School for the Deaf or the Sisters of St. Joseph.
He also said he could not recall any prior complaints "of a sexual nature" against a nun in the archdiocese. The archdiocese was not named as a defendant in the case.
By NEWS SERVICES Boston
Gale Document Number:A117450598