August 25, 2005

6 allege abuse at Catholic home

The Times-Picayune

Thursday, August 25, 2005
By Bruce Nolan
Staff writer
Half a dozen men have filed lawsuits alleging they were sexually molested, beaten and frequently humiliated 40 years ago by nuns, priests and civilian staff members at Madonna Manor, a Catholic home for troubled children in Marrero.

The six lawsuits represent the largest concentration of complaints involving a single institution or individual in the Archdiocese of New Orleans' three-year experience in dealing with complaints of past sexual abuse.

The suits are based on plaintiffs' experiences between the ages of 4 and 14. In many cases they name staff members and recount specific beatings or episodes of rape or sexual molestation.

A few also allege abuse by adult strangers whose identities the plaintiffs hope to learn as the lawsuits' investigative process unfolds. Other complaints are more generalized, describing a climate of physical and psychological abuse in which nuns beat them severely and told them they were worthless, or that no one loved them.

In response, the archdiocese has been poring over old records to reach its own assessment of conditions at Madonna Manor during the 1960s, when the allegations are clustered, said the Rev. William Maestri, the archdiocese's spokesman.

Posted by kshaw at August 25, 2005 07:55 AM