|Sex Abuse Victims Want Payoff from Nun's Order
By Maudlyne Ihejirika
February 14, 2008
At age 55, Jerry Kobs still faces the emotional scars of his sexual abuse at the hands of Sister Norma Giannini.
Carrying the secret as he raised his own two kids, Kobs hopscotched jobs as he sought work allowing him to keep close tabs on them.
"It was hard. I didn't trust anyone, not priests, coaches, teachers, not any adult around them," he said.
Kobs was one of two Milwaukee men the 79-year-old Chicago nun was convicted of abusing in the 1960s when they were 13.
A Milwaukee judge sentenced her Feb. 1 to a year in a county jail.
But on Wednesday -- at a press conference outside the Southwest Side headquarters of Giannini's order, the Sisters of Mercy -- Kobs and Jim St. Patrick, 55, demanded Giannini and the order be held financially responsible for years of counseling.
The men had sought $28,000 in restitution for their treatment, but the judge declined to order it.
"What Sister Norma imposed on these men was a lifetime sentence of suffering in shame, secrecy and silence," said Barbara Blaine, president of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, who stood with them.
With the Survivors Network, the two men delivered a letter to the order Wednesday that also demanded it identify two other nuns who have been accused of molesting kids. The order says those two nuns have died.
The Survivors Network also asked the Leadership Council of Women Religious, of which the order is a member, to discipline the order for failing to notify police of the alleged abuse after the men came forward in 1992.
Giannini admitted to sexual contact with the two men, including sexual intercourse, a total of more than 160 times over four years while principal at St. Patrick's School in Milwaukee.
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