Wednesday, September 1, 2004

Four more join orphanage abuse suit


They join others claiming priest, nun molested them in 1950s and 60s

The Associated Press

LOUISVILLE - A lawsuit alleging sexual abuse at a now-closed orphanage grew Tuesday with the addition of four plaintiffs who claim they were molested by a Roman Catholic priest or a nun.

The alleged abuse occurred in the 1950s and 1960s at St. Thomas-St. Vincent Orphanage in Anchorage, a suburb of Louisville, according to the Jefferson County Circuit Court lawsuit.

The defendant is the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, an order based near Bardstown in Nelson County. The initial suit was filed in July, but other plaintiffs have since been added.

The newest plaintiffs include Joan Hill, Linda Marlene Gallagher and Elizabeth Matthews, who lived at the orphanage in the 1950s. Danny Whitfill, another plaintiff, lived there in the 1960s.

Hill claims she was molested by a nun, Sister Mary Ann Powers. The nun worked at the orphanage but is now dead.

Whitfill accuses the Rev. Herman J. Lammers and the same nun of molesting him on multiple occasions. The suit alleges that Lammers forced Whitfill to perform sexual acts.

Lammers was the longtime Catholic Charities director and the orphanage's resident chaplain. He died in 1986.

Gallagher and Matthews also claimed they were molested by Lammers. The suit alleges that a nun dressed each girl in a gown and took them to Lammers' room, where the priest sexually abused them.

The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory and punitive damages.

The sisters have denied any evidence of abuse or a cover-up at the orphanage in a legal response that seeks to have the lawsuit dismissed.

The orphanage was open from 1952 to 1983. It was owned by the Archdiocese of Louisville.



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