The Hidden World of Abusive Catholic Nuns

Epoch Times

Nov. 26, 2019

By Bowen Xiao

As a growing number of Roman Catholic dioceses across the United States investigate child sex-abuse claims against clergy and are releasing the names of priests accused of such crimes, another hidden problem has begun to surface—nuns who sexually abuse children.

At least 20 local, state, or federal investigations, either criminal or civil, into church clergy have begun since a Pennsylvania grand jury report released in 2018 detailed abuse by priests. But while those investigations could potentially lead to the release of even more names and accusations, victims’ advocates told The Epoch Times that religious orders should start listing the names of abusive nuns as well—a far less-reported problem, with fewer concrete statistics., a Massachusetts-based nonprofit corporation that tracks cases of sexual abuse by clergy members, has identified over the years “a little over 100 known accused nuns,” Terry McKiernan, the founder of the website, told The Epoch Times. Its database, meanwhile, has tracked more than 6,000 accused priests across the United States.

“The numbers are fairly small, but that’s the number that is known,” McKiernan said, referring to the number of publicly accused abusive nuns. “Its a matter of some debate how big the problem actually is.”

Some of the names of the nuns are incomplete because the alleged victims couldn’t recall, according to a list of the names published in August. More names have since been added to the database that don’t appear on the list. The alleged victims are from across the country and come from a wide array of different religious orders.

McKiernan said most of the nuns his organization identified were accused of abuse “between the 1960s and the 1990s.” One group of accused nuns that stood out came from an orphanage in Louisville, Kentucky, where McKiernan said they saw the “highest concentration” of abusers in the database.

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