Nun: Church Leaders Were Warned
Sister Who Taught at 4 Area Schools Accused of Abusing Boys
By Kim Janssen
December 6, 2006
Catholic Church leaders were warned more than a decade ago about a former Chicago nun who was charged Monday with sexually abusing two Milwaukee boys, the president of Chicago's Sisters of Mercy community said Tuesday.
But Sister Betty Smith said a confidentiality agreement with the man who made the allegations against Sister Norma Giannini in 1992 meant that the order of nuns couldn't contact police at the time.
Giannini, who taught at four Sisters of Mercy schools in the Chicago area and was principal of two, faces two counts of indecent behavior with a child dating to her time as principal of a Milwaukee Catholic school in the late 1960s.
She abused the boys, who were both 13 when the abuse began, more than 160 times over four years, according to the charges. They allege Giannini urged one of the boys to remove her habit and feel her breasts, with the abuse progressing to having sexual intercourse with both boys.
Taught at McCauley
Giannini, now 78 and living in Oak Lawn, was removed from contact with children, placed under "close supervision" and given counseling after the allegations were made in 1992, Smith said. No allegations had been made against Giannini in her 23 years of teaching in Illinois, Smith said.
Giannini taught at Christ the King grade school in Chicago's Beverly community from 1969 to 1972 and from 1972 to 1976 at Mother McCauley High School in Beverly, serving as dean in her final year.
She returned to McCauley in a clerical role from 1982 to 1983, before becoming principal at St. Clare de Montefalco grade school in the Garfield Ridge community and in 1989 at Most Holy Redeemer grade school in Evergreen Park.
Arrangements were being made Tuesday to arrest Giannini.
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