. . .CBS News broadcast a segment with reporter Nikki Battiste in which Battiste detailed instances of nuns abusing children. The segment began by noting an organization titled The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP). . .
A former nun who works with SNAP, Mary Dispenza , said by working with SNAP she periodically heard of instances where nuns abused children sexually, noting that since a grand jury named hundreds of priests who were pedophiles in Pennsylvania, at least 18 people informed her that they had been subject to sexual abuse by nuns.
Dispenza told CBS News, “The demands of chastity and celibacy are unrealistic demands for many of us.” She recalled her own experience when a superior told her to come 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.” When Battiste asked her why there had not been news about abuse by nuns before, Dispenza answered, “A lot has to do with the culture of nuns which are, they are very, very private by nature.”
Battiste interviewed a woman named Trish Cahill, who spoke of her alleged abuse when she was 15. Cahill said she told a nun named Eileen Shaw at a convent in New Jersey her dark secret: that her uncle, a priest who had since died, had allegedly sexually abused her from the time she was five years old. Cahill said of Shaw, “I would have done anything for her. I would have died for her. She gave me everything that was lacking that I didn’t even know I was lacking. I was so broken. She filled in all those pieces.”
But Cahill alleged Shaw was “grooming” her, utilizing drugs and alcohol while she initiated a sexual relationship with her. Cahill remembered, “I’m with my friends during the day. And I’m with this pedophile nun on the evenings and on the weekends, and in the summer.” In 1994, Cahill reported Shaw’s actions to the sisters of charity of St. Elizabeth, which settled with her out of court for $70,000. 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.” (Read more from “Report: Women Speak of Nuns Allegedly Sexually Abusing Them When They Were Kids” HERE)