Woman Claims Two Ore. Nuns Abused Her As a Child

Associated Press, carried in KGW [Portland OR]
February 6, 2007

A woman is suing the Society of Holy Names, Jesus, a religious order, claiming she was sexually abused by two nuns who taught in two Portland schools then run by the order.

The lawsuit identifies the plaintiff only as a female born in 1948 with the initials B.G.J. It claims the abuses took place beginning in about 1958 by one nun and in about 1962 by another at Holy Child Academy and St. Rose's Catholic School, both in northeast Portland.

Holy Child closed in 1973. The building now houses the Southeast Asian Vicariate of Portland.

The religious order left St. Rose's in 1979 after more than 60 years. It now is Archbishop Howard Elementary School.

The lawsuit, filed by Portland attorney Kelly Clark, seeks $2.5 million in noneconomic damages and $250,000 in economic damages and demands a jury trial not subject to mandatory arbitration.

It contends the abuse was committed by Mother Mary Eucharistica and Mother Mary Freddrick on school grounds.

The lawsuit says the economic damages are for lost wages, psychological damage and treatment, and current and future emotional suffering.

It said the plaintiff discovered "the casual connection" between the alleged abuse and emotional and psychological injuries in September of 2005. It alleges "sexual abuse, fondling and breach of authority."

The Society of Holy Names, based in Pennsylvania, did not return calls seeking comment.

The plaintiff has already reached a private settlement earlier with the Archdiocese of Portland, Clark said.

The archdiocese was the first in the nation to declare bankruptcy after a series of lawsuits alleging sexual abuse and hopes to emerge from bankruptcy this year.

The archdiocese paid $53 million to settle claims of sexual misconduct before it declared bankruptcy in 2004, on the eve of two trials for alleged victims who sought more than $155 million in damages. Most of about 170 claims against the church are part of the settlement agreement.

Most if not all of those cases involved priests.


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