Sisters of Charity Settle 45 Abuse Suits for $1.5 Million

By Peter Smith
The Courier-Journal [Kentucky]
August 24, 2006

An order of Catholic nuns based in Nelson County has agreed to pay $1.5 million to settle lawsuits by 45 plaintiffs who alleged they were sexually abused at orphanages and schools.

The settlement ends the bulk of two years of litigation involving the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth.

The plaintiffs alleged they were abused as children at orphanages and schools supervised by the nuns between the 1930s and 1970s. More than 20 of the plaintiffs accused a priest who was a longtime orphanage chaplain, and others accused several nuns and two laymen.

Attorneys Jennifer Kincaid Adams, representing the Sisters of Charity, and William McMurry, representing the plaintiffs, confirmed they had agreed to the settlement. But McMurry added that it needs to be completed with delivery of the check from the order, scheduled for Friday.

Under the agreement, the Sisters of Charity did not acknowledge any guilt, but the order did agree not to use the term "alleged victims" but rather "plaintiffs."

Two other plaintiffs represented by a different lawyer did not participate in the settlement, Adams said. Their cases remain pending.

Adams said the nuns "are relieved and very comforted to have this behind them so that the healing process for their community, the plaintiffs and the church as a whole can begin."

McMurry said the settlement marks "the first time in United States history any victims of a Catholic orphanage have recovered (a payment due to) childhood sexual abuse."

He said all other cases have been dismissed on the grounds they were filed too long after the alleged abuse.

Reporter Peter Smith can be reached at (502) 582-4469 or


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