PIERRE (SOUTH DAKOTA)
Associated Press via National Catholic Reporter
February 25, 2020
By Stephen Groves
Louise Aamot Charbonneau couldn’t make her annual trip to the South Dakota Legislature this year to confront lawmakers with her story of surviving childhood rape and abuse at the hands of priests and nuns at a boarding school for Native Americans during the 1950s and 1960s.
The 69-year-old died suddenly three weeks ago. But her sisters, bonded both through family and survival, showed up, along with their daughters and granddaughters.
They continued their push for lawmakers to open a two-year window for victims of childhood sexual abuse to file lawsuits against organizations in which the abuse occurred. The proposal has died every year, but they keep coming back to confront lawmakers with their testimony that priests and nuns at St. Paul’s Indian Mission School systematically perpetrated rape, abuse and even forced abortions.
For nearly a decade, Charbonneau, along with her eight older sisters, has made their case to lawmakers. Geraldine Dubourt, one of the sisters, said in some ways she was glad her sister Louise died peacefully at her home so she didn’t have to continue the fight.
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