Expert Says Female Pedophiles Rare

By James Zambroski
WAVE 3 [Louisville KY]
Downloaded August 2, 2003

(LOUISVILLE, August 1st, 2003, 5:30 p.m.) -- The victims affected by the $25.7 million settlement announced were abused by male priests. But as you heard Thursday exclusively on WAVE 3 News, in the latest sexual abuse lawsuit filed against the Archdiocese, the accused is a nun. As James Zambroski reports, it's the first time a female cleric has been accused here and it's extremely rare.

The suit alleges that Sister Mary Helen Thieneman, a nun at St. Margaret Mary School in Louisville, molested 4th grader [Redacted] for months in 1974.

Female perpetrators are rare, says Dr. Ron Holmes,an internationally recognized expert on pedophilia. "It's one of those closet phenomenon because reported pedophilia is rare," he said. "It seems that (female pedophilia) is about 10 percent."

Male pedophiles molest boys almost as often as girls, but that's not so with female sexual predators."If you have a female pedophile," Holmes said, "her victims are almost always girls. That's just the way it is/"

Court records show that when [Redacted]'s mother asked the school why her daughter was garnering so much attention from the nun, Thieneman scolded [Redacted]. "What have you been telling your parents about our visits," she said.

Secrets are about power and deception, Holmes said.

In later years, dysfunction crowded [Redacted]'s life, her lawyer says. Vickie Wiley-Pusateri, a therapist who works with abused children and sex offenders, says that's no surprise. "Anger is a very big factor -- it's like smoke in a fire; it leaks out under the door."

The lawsuit makes allegations that are thus far unproved.


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