January 15, 2005

Catholic Nun, Priest, Targets Of Child Sex Abuse Lawsuits

Times Newspapers

by Don Corrigan

A Catholic nun, who taught at Cor Jesu Academy in Affton, and a priest, who was pastor at Our Lady of Providence parish in Crestwood, are embroiled in separate controversies involving sexual abuse allegations.

Sister Linda Cusano, who taught at Cor Jesu from 1988 to 1990, is accused of several incidents of sexual misconduct in a lawsuit filed in November. Landa Mauriello-Vernon, once a student of Cusano's at a parochial school in Connecticut, accuses the nun of repeated acts of abuse from 1991-1992.

David Clohessy, national director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), said the St. Louis Catholic Archdiocese should now be making an effort to encourage local residents to step forward if they have knowledge of misconduct by Cusano while she served in this area.

"We hope anyone else who witnessed, suspected or experienced abuse by Cusano finds the courage to come forward," said Clohessy. "We especially hope that Cor Jesu officials publicly reach out to former students who might have been victimized by Cusano."

Clohessy said SNAP is also urging anyone who may have experienced improper encounters with Fr. Robert F. Johnston to break their silence about any such incidents. According to Clohessy, Johnston admitted in December 2002 that he had abused a boy and then resigned as pastor of Our Lady of Providence parish in Crestwood.

Posted by kshaw at January 15, 2005 12:28 PM