Paedophile nuns: ‘There’s a lot of them out there,’ says abuse victim

Paedophile nuns: ‘There’s a lot of them out there,’ says abuse victim January 5, 2019

A woman who says she was sexually abused, starting at the age of five, by an uncle who was a priest claims that ten years on she was she became the victim of an abusive nun.

CBS News screenshot

Speaking to America’s CBS News earlier this week, Trish Cahill , above, said that Sister Eileen Shaw plied her with drugs and alcohol while teaching her how to have sex with a woman at a convent in New Jersey.

While the Catholic Church has been plagued with high-profile abuse scandals, the term “paedophile nun” is rarely heard. This, said Cahill is:

Really a shame. Because there’s a lot of them out there … it’s the secret not yet told.

CBS News screenshot

Mary Dispenza, above, a former nun from another congregation,  is trying to change that. She remembers what happened when a superior summoned her to her room.

I knelt down right next to her and she kissed me all over softly, my face … and I want to say, ‘Oh but it wasn’t bad,’ but it was. And I’ve carried it with me until today.

Through her work with The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) she said she would occasionally hear about abuse or cover-ups by nuns but since the publication of a grand jury report identified hundreds of paedophile priests in Pennsylvania, at least 18 people have contacted her to share stories of abuse by religious sisters.

SNAP, according to Bill Donohue of the Catholic League, is a “fraud”, and:

Is driven by a pathological hatred of the Catholic Church, not a concern for the welfare of victims.

Asked why people  haven’t heard much about abuse by nuns until recently, Dispenza said:

A lot has to do with the culture of nuns which are, they are very, very private by nature.

She also said:

The demands of chastity and celibacy are unrealistic demands for many of us.

Cahill reported her abuse to the sisters of charity of St Elizabeth in 1994. The congregation paid her a $70,000 out-of-court settlement. She said:

They had canon lawyers on retainer just for people like me. Shut her up, pacify her, tell her you love her and you’ll pray for her, and send her on her way.

In a statement, the congregation told CBS News:

The case was investigated immediately when it was reported in 1994 and a settlement was reached that was mutually agreed on by all parties. We believe that the Sisters of Charity acted in a responsible manner.

CBS News screenshot of the now deceased uncle who abused Cahill, and Sister Eileen Shaw

CBS News reached out to Sister Eileen Shaw,  but she hung up on reporter Nikki Battiste.

The Sisters of Charity removed Shaw  from her role as a grade school principal but reports she remains a nun. They’re providing her with food and housing while restricting her from outside ministry.

In the meantime, Cahill said the settlement she signed wasn’t enough to help her deal with a lifetime of trauma. But she hopes that her voice can help prevent this from happening again.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • kaydenpat

    The Catholic church should stop trying to force celibacy on nuns and priests. Consensual sex is a normal part of adult life. The church should treat it as such.

  • persephone

    The RCC set it up that way to prevent families from creating dynasties and moving the wealth of the church to their own pockets. Popes certainly tried though. Alexander VI, Rodrigo Borgia, set up one son as his general and the other as a cardinal and married off his youngest one, as a child, to get a toehold in Naples.

  • kaydenpat

    That’s interesting. Never thought of the celibacy rule in that light.

  • Broga

    Up till now the were only in the frame for working kids in laundry sweat shops, selling them for adoption, beating the crap out of them on flimsy excuses so that they could indulge their sadism and the rest of the horrors too long to list. Now, paedophilia as well. Frankie will need to get to work on that.

  • Bendigeiduran

    There is more to it than this – in Matt 19:12 the Jesus of the Gospels is recorded as saying, “For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.”
    In Corinthians 1, 7:32 Paul wrote, “I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. 33 But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— 34 and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. 35 I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.”
    The absolute idiocy of a preference for celibacy is found in what some people regard as sacred scripture. The strong preference for celibacy is scripture deep.
    And remember that the Jesus of the Gospels is recorded as saying, “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” (Matt 21:22). So if you truly want to be celibate all you need to do is pray. Balderdash!
    This is a good wee talk from Richard Holloway, former Episcopalian Bishop of Edinburgh, on the difficulties of being a priest. He initially tried celibacy then realised he could not manage it; luckily he could marry.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DE06sxTwy0w .
    He now describes himself as an agnostic Christian.

  • Adrian

    In Corinthians 1, 7:32 Paul wrote, “I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. 33 But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— 34 and his interests are
    divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. 35 I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.”

    Silly Paul, just because having a family means less time for activities such as speaking at the ceiling doesn’t mean that no family = automatic piety. For many people, it simply means more time for work, for friends, for eating, for gambling, for booze, or whatever…

  • laura1919

    Another aspect of this that hasn’t drawn enough attention, IMO, is physical violence doled out in Catholic schools. Friends of mine who attended Catholic school learned quickly to obey certain teachers lest they be slapped, spanked (by hand or wooden paddle) or swatted across the knuckles with a ruler. That last one is a well-known and well-deserved stereotype of nuns in schools.

  • Barry Duke

    Ah yes, you’ve touched on an important point there, laura1919: the cruelty, especially directed at kids who were left-handed. This was regarded as a sign of evil (https://allthatsinteresting.com/left-handedness-evil).

    But caning a kid for using his left hand to write resulted in a teacher in a Catholic school in Ireland getting cold-cocked by a one of his pupils in the 1970s. The boy, very large for his age, lost his temper when he witnessed the beating, and also noted that the teacher was sporting an erection.

    He told me many years later: “I leapt from my desk and punched the bastard’s lights out”. He was instantly expelled.

  • Jim Jones

    There should be a national “Beat up Bill Donohue” day.

  • Cryny

    Monday, perhaps?

  • Cali Ron

    I think public shaming would be more appropriate. Something that would sully his bad name forever while warning the unsuspecting to ignore this clown.

  • Cali Ron

    …vengeance is mine, sayeth the pupil.

  • Cali Ron

    The catholic church should stop trying to force it’s religious beliefs and rules on the public! Priests and nuns have chosen to be the deluded servants of the church and serve it unquestioningly. Whether this is noble or just plain foolish to believe without proof is to me not even debatable, but regardless, they have chosen their fate. The general public have not and yet we are subjected to religious influence in our lives every day.
    The church should stay in their lane and out of politics, socialism and education.

  • Cali Ron

    The RCC hsitory is filled with stories of politics and immorality, all in the name of god. You will note, they don’t bother to share this history with their congregation. Any Catholics every heard a priest do a sermon on the inquisition? RCC complicity with the Nazis? The slaughter of Coptic christians by christians during the crusades? The slaughter of their own priests when the celebracy rule was implemented and married priests killed and their bodies left in public squares as a warning to any other priests who refused to be celibate? I could go on for a long time, but I think you get the picture.

  • Jim Jones

    OK, then “Non-Optional No Pants on Donohue Day”.

  • kaydenpat

    I didn’t know that was how the celibacy rule was enforced. You’re right. I have Catholic friends and I doubt many of them know the dark history of their church.

  • kaydenpat

    Yes they should keep their tentacles out of the public square. I was just addressing how forced celibacy (which doesn’t seem natural to me) has led to so much child molestation in that church.

  • Therese Faustina

    I was part of Sisters Minor of mary immaculate and this order under patrizi was abuseive and neglectful of her sisters. I was refused medical attention forced by patrizi to leave the hospital. I was physically mentally spiritually abuse I witness abuse and neglect of other sisters in the order which gave me no choice but to leave. She even helped cover up priest abuse and tolerated and allowed sexual assault of her sisters by other sisters in the order by having a closed meeting with church official Alcoholism was tolerated and patrizi would put unfit superiors into authority torturing sisters and breaking thier spirits, souls, bodies and minds down, so as to make them submissive to do evil things. severe punishments were given, like beating, starving and imprisonment.

    Medical attention or going against doctor wishes was perpetrated by Patrizi Kovacs and other sisters were superiors. There was no charity and most of us sisters lived in fear not of God but of Patrizi and Kovacs. For some reason or other the church allowed this for years because of her family name Patrizi which is tied to the Vatican. I have reported the abuse I suffered at the hands of Patrizi and Kovacs to my diocese so they know. They knew since 2003 under administration of bishop Dupre There was racism in the order where an African American sister would be called a black dog frequently by her superior. She left. Other sisters were stuck in countries because thier visas ran out and one particular sister was stuck in Italy.

    There was a death of an Italian sister who was imprisoned and not allowed to see her family she did not get medical attention and she had lung cancer. Another sister who was Polish was put in an institution against her will she called me for help. Another sister nearly died because she was bleeding internally she is American and if it was not for her doctor she would not be here today. October 4 2014 a document from the Vatican was addressing patrizi that the order she founded and other orders she started were abusive and she no longer allowed to find another order. The Vatican disbanded the order as away to avoid accountability and responsibility of the abuse committed