Lawsuit against Catholic religious order details coordinated abuse in Maine

Jan. 11—A girl who says she was once abused by way of monks in Maine when she was once a tender woman within the Fifties has been allowed to sue a Catholic non secular order anonymously.

The girl, who filed her civil grievance beneath the identify “Jane Doe,” described the years of horrific sexual abuse she suffered by the hands of monks within the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate and the “immense ache, concern, and guilt” she felt every time.

U.S. District Pass judgement on Lance Walker agreed Friday that Doe may just proceed her go well with the usage of the pseudonym, without a objection from the Oblates.

Nameless court cases aren’t unusual in federal instances of abuse, however it is the first identified Jane Doe case in Maine since state legislation modified in 2021 permitting sufferers of adolescence sexual abuse to sue in instances that was lined by way of a statute of boundaries. Greater than a dozen different instances filed in state courts all have named sufferers, despite the fact that a lot of them have requested to not be known within the media.

In a sworn statement submitted to the courtroom by way of the lady’s lawyers, Ashley Pileika and Alexis Chardon, her psychiatrist described her struggles with post-traumatic pressure order and the way it might exacerbate her signs if she was once required to make use of her identify.

“She worries significantly about any backlash that would outcome to her circle of relatives,” the affidavit mentioned. “Lately she suffers from flashbacks, nightmares, spells of terror, panic assaults, hyperarousal, melancholy, nervousness, suicidal ideation, discontinuity in her sense of self, low vanity, issue in relationships, dissociation, derealization, amongst different signs.”

The Oblates do not need a protection lawyer indexed in courtroom data. An Illinois lawyer who has represented the Oblates in different instances declined to remark at the allegations Wednesday.

Despite the fact that no longer as energetic within the area these days, the Oblates owned a number of huge properties all through the area, the place seminarians stayed whilst on retreat.

The Oblates labored intently with nuns from other non secular orders who got here to New England from Canada, together with the Sisters of Charity of Montreal and the Sisters of Charity of Quebec. The ones sisters, steadily referred to as “Gray Nuns,” ran orphanages and colleges all through the area — together with St. Joseph’s Orphanage in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, the place the plaintiff spent her earliest years.


She was once 4 years previous when her mom left her and a number of other siblings within the orphanage’s care within the mid-Fifties, the place she steadily snuck out of her dormitory right into a room for more youthful youngsters the place her little sisters had been snoozing. In keeping with lawyers, her mom was once coaching to turn out to be a nun herself, even though she by no means changed into one, and was once not able to handle her youngsters.

Their grandparents took within the youngsters within the Sixties. Whilst many of the lady’s siblings went directly to reside in California with their folks, she stayed at the back of and grew up most commonly at her grandmother’s space, attending personal faculty, taking piano and violin courses and nonetheless going to church.

Pileika mentioned her shopper did not notice she had lived at an orphanage till she was once a lot older. Her mom had instructed the kids they had been going to a boarding faculty. Pileika mentioned this was once a not unusual state of affairs at the moment. Many adults who could not handle their youngsters grew to become to establishments overseen by way of non secular orders, just like the Oblates and the Gray Nuns, for social services and products and improve — which makes their alleged abuse the entire extra horrific.

“They had been operating colleges, they had been operating orphanages, they had been operating church buildings, clearly,” Pileika mentioned.

As a tender woman, she loved making a song and dancing. The sisters on the orphanage instructed her she was once a proficient performer and started taking her with them on journeys to the Oblate-owned properties in Bucksport and Bar Harbor, the place the sisters carried out home tasks for the seminarians, like cooking and cleansing.

“There will have to no longer were younger ladies going anyplace close to the snoozing quarters of older males,” mentioned Chardon. “Virtually each diocese has one thing in writing these days that claims ‘Do not permit that, it is not suitable’ — however that does not imply other folks within the ’50s and ’60s did not know. There have been such a lot of causes they will have to’ve identified. They did know. They knew it was once mistaken, and it was once happening for years and years.”

The girl alleges she was once abused on a minimum of 10 other events all through a number of journeys to Maine. In Bucksport, the place she remembered “the impact of the pink bricks and white pillars” had been very similar to a “large church,” she mentioned she was once raped by way of the Rev. Arthur Craig and passed off to be abused by way of a number of different unnamed males.

She mentioned Craig, the Rev. Francis Demers and a number of other different unnamed males abused her on the Oblates’ house in Bar Harbor, which she described as grandiose and mentioned seemed like a fort. They gave her a doll and instructed her she was once “as lovely because the doll.” They saved her in a room for a minimum of a complete day and night time.


These days, the Oblates are extra missionary-focused, having bought many of the properties they oversaw for massive sums of cash because the Fifties. Craig was once residing at a nursing house for retired Oblate monks as past due as 2021, in line with a posting that yr from the Oblates. The grievance does no longer point out Demers’ closing identified posting, or if he’s nonetheless a operating priest.

The grievance handiest names the Oblates as defendants, despite the fact that Pileika and Chardon mentioned they are “critically taking into account” including the non secular orders that hired the Gray Nuns to the grievance as a result of they proportion accountability.

“We felt that it was once crucial to focus on the Oblates for the usage of Maine as an excessively ill playground and benefiting from it,” mentioned Chardon. “That being mentioned, the Gray Nuns are most probably a sound defendant, and one of the crucial issues that shall be fascinating is to be told the connection between the Gray Nuns and the Oblates as we move into discovery, and what kind of they knew.”

Even though those properties now not function grounds for the sexual abuse of babies, the lady’s lawyers say the wear lives on and it was once essential for his or her shopper to document her grievance to score duty and unfold consciousness.

“She’s very cognizant that there are others available in the market,” mentioned Pileika. “For goodbye, she wasn’t ready to connect with others this came about to — I feel figuring out there are others has been essential and a part of her therapeutic adventure.”

Pileika has represented different shoppers with nameless claims of sexual abuse in opposition to the Oblates.

That comes with two ladies with a joint declare in U.S. District Courtroom for the Southern District of New York. They grew up at a boarding faculty close to St. Joseph’s Orphanage in Fairhaven, which was once additionally run by way of Gray Nuns. Those ladies say they, and lots of others from their faculty, had been additionally shuttled to Oblate-owned holiday properties in Maine and in other places, the place they had been abused within the Sixties and Nineteen Seventies.

The Oblates and different defendants if so, which come with the Sisters of Charity of Montreal, the Sisters of Charity of Quebec, the Diocese of Fall River and the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, filed motions to disregard the grievance closing spring. The pass judgement on has but to rule on them.

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