2 Women File Suits Alleging Abuse by Nun

The Associated Press, carried in Sacramento Bee
June 7, 2006

ROCHESTER, Minn. (AP) - Two women who claim they were sexually abused by a Roman Catholic nun filed lawsuits Tuesday alleging a religious order failed to protect them.

Patricia Schwartz, 51, of Eden Prairie and Karen Britten of Illinois claim they were molested by Sister Benen Kent in the mid-1960s. The personal injury lawsuits were filed in Olmsted County District Court.

Kent, who died in 2003 at the age of 85, was a member of the Sisters of the Third Order Regular, Congregation of Our Lady of Lourdes, also called the Rochester Franciscans.

Joanne Weygand, a spokeswoman for the order, did not immediately return a call for comment Tuesday night.

Schwartz claims she was molested by Kent several times when her family visited Kent in Rochester. Britten said she was repeatedly abused during piano lessons with Kent in Chicago.

Both women's lawsuits claim the order knew Kent suffered from mental illness and had behaved questionably with children and that it concealed that knowledge.

Britten's sister, Christine Bertrand of Sierra Madre, Calif., sued the order last year, alleging that Kent sexually abused her and that the order was negligent.


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