Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Nun Accused Of Sexual Assault To Spend 1 Year In Jail

Nun Accused Of Sexual Assault To Spend 1 Year In Jail
Sister Norma Giannini Admits To Other Offenses
POSTED: 9:10 am CST February 1, 2008
UPDATED: 6:15 pm CST February 1, 2008
MILWAUKEE -- A Roman Catholic nun who pleaded no contest to sexually abusing two Milwaukee boys years ago will spend a year in jail.
A judge sentenced Sister Norma Giannini, 79, to one year in jail and nine more years on probation She has 60 days to report to the House of Correction in Milwaukee County.
It has been a four-decade-long struggle for the two victims who first came forward to the church in 1996, but it took 10 more years before their allegations developed into criminal charges and then a conviction, 12 News reporter Nick Bohr said.
In the late 1960s, St. Patrick's church and school was ruled by Giannini. It's still not clear how many boys she used that power to take advantage of at the school, but two of them -- now in their 50s -- finally had their day in court at her sentencing.
"You know, I never thought the day would come when someone with the power for justice to occur would listen to me," victim Jim St. Patrick said.
St. Patrick said Giannini sexually assaulted him more than a 100 times.
"She has no soul and no morality. Creatures like this belong in prison, not walking free among the innocent," St. Patrick said.
"Norma Giannini's idea of an education was to use me to satisfy her own sexual needs and wants," victim Gerry Kobs said.
Kobs said the nun used her friendship with his mother to sexually abuse him.
"Norma Giannini was what my mother thought was her only friend. I could never tell her, never hurt her. And Norma Giannini knew that," Kobs said.
For the first time in the 14-month process, Giannini answered the allegations.
"Long before this trial, I realized how certain actions of mine have caused pain, confusion and emotional trauma. I ask forgiveness from the bottom of my heart," Giannini said.
The victims said they had hoped the sentencing would be tougher.
"I never heard Norma Giannini say she was sorry," Kobs said.
"She didn't call me for 40 years to see how I was doing. So, now she's sorry. Not," St. Patrick said.
Giannini has admitted to a church panel that she also molested a Chicago boy and at least three other minors.
Court documents show that a psychologist told prosecutors in 2006 that Giannini identified other victims to a Milwaukee archdiocese panel, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune. Prosecutors subpoenaed the psychologist, Elizabeth Piasecki, who read into the record the notes she wrote during an interview in 1996 after abuse allegations emerged.
The notes indicate Giannini discussed molesting three other boys in Milwaukee and one in Chicago, where she worked before and after her stint in Wisconsin.
According to a transcript, Piasecki's notes indicated Giannini described an incident with a 14-year-old that included kissing and petting.
Sheila King, a spokeswoman for the order Sisters of Mercy of the Chicago Regional Community, said she could not confirm the existence of additional victims because the sister who was president at the time of those allegations is unavailable. The current president, Sister Betty Smith, assumed her title in 2006.

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