Plaintiffs Reportedly Drop Suits Vs. Nuns
One Case Remains against School, Lawyer Says
By Ralph Ranalli
February 4, 2006
A group of lawsuits in which the now-defunct Boston School for the Deaf was portrayed as being rife with cruelty and abuse was reduced yesterday to a single complaint that a male student was made to wait in his underwear while a nun washed his pants, a lawyer for the defense said.
The plaintiffs in the case voluntarily withdrew 13 claims for damages yesterday against the Sisters of St. Joseph, the nuns who administered and taught at the school in Randolph until it closed a decade ago.
Four of the original 18 claims were either withdrawn or dismissed last year, leaving just one after yesterday, said attorney Joseph L. Doherty Jr., who represents three former supervisors and one nun named in the lawsuits.
Doherty said the nuns were pleased by the outcome and thought that some of their reputation has been restored.
"They feel that the lawsuits were unfair," Doherty said. "But I don't think the word resentment is even in their vocabulary. From my perspective, the Sisters of St. Joseph are the kindest women I have ever had the pleasure to represent."
The lawyer for the plaintiffs, Mitchell Garabedian of Boston, could not be reached for comment yesterday. Last year, when several of the other complaints were voluntarily withdrawn, Garabedian said his hand had been forced by a court ruling that prevented him from offering evidence of an "air of lawlessness" at the school, which he said was key to his cases.
The plaintiffs who brought the lawsuits alleged a litany of physical and sexual abuses from the 1940s through the 1970s.
Lawyers for the nuns portrayed the victims as opportunists trying to cash in on the publicity surrounding the large amounts of money paid to victims of sexually abusive priests.
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