Nun Accused of Sexually Assaulting Children
Victims: Assaults Occurred in Convent, School Office
December 4, 2006

Milwaukee -- A Catholic nun who served as a principal at a Milwaukee school has been charged with sexually assaulting children as many as 200 times.

Investigators said Sister Norma Giannini, now 78 years old, assaulted two of her students in the 1960s when the boys attended St. Patrick's Elementary School at 7th and Washington in Milwaukee, often in the church's convent and school office.

Giannini was principal of that school at that time.

According to the criminal complaint obtained by 12 News, one of the victims claims Giannini instructed him to open the buttons on her habit, but he was shaking so badly that he couldn't. She opened her buttons and instructed him to feel her breasts, according to the complaint.

Another accuser claims he recalls sitting on the sofa in the convent and having Giannini take his pants down. She was wearing her habit, but removed it. She then pulled him on top of her, he said.

"I know his main concern as with most victims is stopping the abuse from happening to anyone else," said Peter Isley, an abuse victim advocate, in an interview with 12 News' Chloe Morroni.

The Sisters of Mercy released a statement late Monday, stating "Whether old or new, such a matter still runs counter to the very ministry of the Sisters of Mercy."

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee asks that anyone who has been victimized to come forward with the confidence that they will be heard and helped.

Giannini taught at an all-girls Catholic high school in the Chicago after leaving Milwaukee during the 1970s. She now lives in a suburban Chicago retirement home.


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