Woman Claims Nun Sexually Abused Her When She Was a Child

Associated Press, carried in St. Louis Post-Dispatch [Rochester MN]
May 31, 2005

ROCHESTER, Minn. (AP) -- A California woman who claims she was sexually abused by a nun in Chicago filed a lawsuit Tuesday against a Sisters of St. Francis order, alleging it was negligent and failed to investigate the accusations. Christine Bertrand, who lives in the San Francisco area, is seeking more than $50,000 in damages.

Leaders at the Sisters of St. Francis said there is no evidence of wrongdoing and they will defend the allegations.

Bertrand claims when she was a student at St. Juliana's School in Chicago, she was sexually abused by Sister Benen Kent, a music teacher. Bertrand alleges the incidents occurred between 1962 and 1967.

Bertrand also claims she was sexually abused by Kent during a visit to Assisi Heights motherhouse in Rochester in 1967.

Kent died in 2003 at age 85.

The lawsuit, which was filed in Olmsted County District Court, is against the sisters of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis of the Congregation of Our Lady of Lourdes.

Also on Tuesday Bertand demanded the resignation of Sister Dolore Rockers, president of the Franciscan sisters.

Leaders of the order said the allegations of misconduct were brought to their attention in 2002, and that policy in reviewing and responding to the accusations was followed. The leaders did not address Bertrand's demand that Rockers resign.