Survivors Step Forward Alleging Sexual Abuse at St. Anthony’s Home for Boys
Posted on: January 11, 2021 Catholic Church Sexual Abuse
Three separate lawsuits have been filed by former residents against St. Anthony’s Home for Boys alleging childhood sexual abuse. The orphanage, which housed more than 6,000 boys in its 68 years of operation, was run for many years by the Sisters of St. Francis and closed its doors in the early 1980s.
The first lawsuit was filed by a victim identified as John Doe 167. In the suit, John Doe 167 claims he was a “captive sex toy” for the orphanage’s chaplain, visiting priests and nuns. He recalled nuns bringing him to the rooms of traveling priests where he was then sexually abused. Chocolates or little gifts were sometimes given to him after the abuse.
In a statement following the Doe 167’s lawsuit, Sister Marietta Spenner, of the Sisters of St. Francis, said, “I do not believe that anything like that ever occurred at Saint Anthony’s Orphanage. The mission of our sisters today, as it has been for decades, is to continue the mission of Jesus: standing in solidarity with those who are in any way poor and powerless.” This public denial of the abuse shook the lives of two men, both former residents of St. Anthony’s, so much so that they each stepped forward independently to share their tragic experiences during their time at the orphanage.
John Doe 196 is one of the victims who stepped forward after Sister Marietta Spenner’s denial of sexual abuse at St. Anthony’s. Doe 196 was a resident at the orphanage during the 1950s. He alleges a nun named Sister Clare would fondle him and other boys at night while she sat on the edge of their beds. The lawsuit does not state how long this type of abuse lasted, but notes it was “a regular nightly occurrence”.
The other victim who came forward, John Doe 195, was a resident at St. Anthony’s from 1961 to 1966. In court documents, John Doe 195 states Sister Clare sexually abused him at least weekly during her ‘bedside’ visits. The abuse continued over a span of four years.
Attorneys for the two men wanted it made clear that their clients’ motivation for stepping forward was getting the truth out to the public, and not compensation.
The entire article can be viewed here.
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