Nun Accused of Ungodly Acts

Sister Norma Giannini served one year in jail for sexually abusing boys

A Catholic nun who served a year in jail after being convicted of sexually abusing young boys at a Milwaukee middle school in the 1960s is the focus of a new civil suit which alleges she'd done the same thing in Chicago before she was transferred to Milwaukee, and that her religious order knew of the abuse.

One of Sister Norma Giannini's victims, Gerald Cobbs, is suing the Sisters of Mercy, alleging they knew Giannini was an abuser.

"It's never been a money thing, but how they ignored us," Cobbs said. "And we tried to be civil with them."

After the Milwaukee incidents, Giannini continued to teach in numerous Chicago schools: in 1969 at Christ the King in the Beverly neighborhood, then at Mother McCauley High School from 1972 to 1976. Later, she taught at St. Clare de Montefalco in the Garfield Ridge neighborhood and Most Holy Redeemer in Evergreen Park.

The new suit alleges that Giannini abused at least one child during an assignment at St. Ann's School in Chicago in 1962 and that the Sisters of Mercy were aware of it.  But it alleges that after putting her through therapy, the Order moved her to Milwaukee where no one was told of her past, and where she had further contact with children.

"We were raped," said another of Giannini's victims, James St. Patrick. "We were raped, and of course it's different from a man to a woman. If it was a priest doing it, the priest would have certainly been underground by now."

St. Patrick has said during previous legal proceedings that he knew of at least 12 other boys abused by Giannini.

The Sisters of Mercy said in a statement that they have not seen the lawsuit, but will continue to cooperate in the matter.

The lawsuit doesn't specify any monetary damages.

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