Sexual Abuse Suit Accuses Orphanage's Priest, Nuns

Associated Press, carried in Lexington Herald-Leader
July 16, 2004

LOUISVILLE - A lawsuit filed yesterday in Jefferson Circuit Court alleges sexual abuse by a priest and two nuns at an orphanage in the 1950s and '60s.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of six women and a man -- Helen Martine Edwards, Myrtle Darlene Kustes, Ann Wilson, Alicia Lynn Sinnott, Carol Ann Gilbert, Dorothy Richardson and David V. Summers. Edwards, Kustes, Wilson, Sinnott and Gilbert are biological sisters who were separated as orphans but reunited last spring, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit says the plaintiffs spent some of their childhood at St. Thomas-St. Vincent, a Jefferson County orphanage run by the Nelson County-based Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. The lawsuit names the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth as the only defendant.

The lawsuit accuses the Rev. Herman Lammers and nuns Mary Ann Powers and Alma Stuecker of sexual abuse when the plaintiffs were under 18. It also accuses the Sisters of Charity of failing to report the abuse and failing to discipline Lammers, Powers and Stuecker. The suit charges that Lammers got Edwards pregnant.

The plaintiffs now range in age from 52 to 61. They seek a trial and compensatory and punitive damages.

The Sisters of Charity of Nazareth released a statement through spokeswoman Barbara Qualls. "We take any allegations seriously," the statement said, "but we are waiting to see a copy of the lawsuit before further comment."


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