Nun Accused of Sexual Abuse Pleads No Contest
Attorney Says Norma Giannini in Poor Health

November 12, 2007

MILWAUKEE — A 79-year-old nun has pleaded no contest to two counts of indecent behavior with a child for incidents involving male students at a Milwaukee elementary school where she was principal in the 1960s.

A complaint filed against Norma Giannini said many of the incidents took place at a church convent and the St. Patrick's School office while the boys were middle-school aged.

The two boys, who are now adults, said Giannini had

sexual contact with them dozens of times.

Giannini later worked in Illinois.

Sister Betty Smith, regional president for the Sisters of Mercy in Chicago, said the nun received counseling after the Sisters learned of the accusations in the 1990s.

She said Giannini has been closely monitored and separated from minors since then.

The sentencing is scheduled for February. Giannini remains free on bail. She left the courtroom without comment.

"Her not giving any type of statement afterwards is still her posture of never admitting she did anything wrong," victim Jerry Kobs said.

For Kobs, it's only a matter of now weeks before he can confront her in court. He said he has been thinking for years about what he'll say — about how he could never bring himself to tell his mother.

Giannini's lawyer said she entered the plea to spare everyone a trial and because Giannini's in poor health, he is still working on what he will ask for at her sentencing.

Prosecutors are expected to seek four years in prison, 12 News reporter Nick Bohr said.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.