Suit: Nun Fondled 1st Grader

MIAMI (CBS4) – More allegations of sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Miami.

On Wednesday the law firm of Herman, Mermelstein and Horowitz, which has sued the Archdiocese of Miami dozens of times in the past over the alleged actions of several priests, announced a new lawsuit against them concerning the actions of a nun.

“Statistically, most predators are men,” Attorney Jeff Herman said. “Here we have allegations that a nun sexually abused this man as a boy.”

According to their $5 million suit, Sister Joan Marie who taught at St James Catholic School in North Miami fondled and groped one of her first grade students twice a week during the 1978 to 1979 school year. The abuse only ended, according the lawsuit, when the boy’s parents moved over the summer. The victim’s attorney claims that Sister Joan Marie is a sexual predator who abused other children before, during, and after the alleged assault on the victim. However, the Herman was not able to produce any other allegations filed against her.

In addition to the Archdiocese of Miami, the suit also names Archbishop Thomas Wenski, Sister Joan Marie and the school.

the victim, who was not at Wednesday afternoon’s press conference,  issued a statement though his lawyers that read:

“I finally found the strength to tell what happened to me when my son was in first grade, the same age I was when I was abused. I cannot imagine him dealing with the same nightmare that has plagued me for so long.”

The law firm said they don’t know where Sister Joan Marie is or even if she is still alive.

In response to the suit, the Archdiocese of Miami issued the following statement:

“The Archdiocese of Miami was informed today by the media of a lawsuit alleging sexual misconduct against a Dominican Nun. The Archdiocese of Miami policy on sexual abuse is very clear: a report of these allegations is made to the State Attorney’s office; our internal Archdiocesan Review Board reviews the allegation; and pastoral care and counseling are offered to the alleged victim.

As always, the Catholic Church’s concerns are for the victims and a prevailing sense of justice. In addition, over these past nine years, the Archdiocese has been forthcoming and taken steps to keep children safe through training and background screenings of all its employees.”

Several other priests who taught at St. James in the 1970s have already been sued by the firm for alleged sexual misconduct.

The Archdiocese has 20 days to respond to the suit. after which it can negotiate a settlement or fight the charges in court.

  • Carlo

    I hate to say itbut the Catholic Church should be dismantled.


      @ Carlo, very TRUE…..

      @ John. look at the Neighborhood

      Look for the OVER-CATHOLICIZED, crooks in the Miami-Dade MAYORAL RACE…

      • Florida USA

        Maybe instead of over-catholicized it should be “hypocritical” instead

      • Florida USA

        All organized religious sects are a croc. You believe what you believe as a person and no two people think alike. A priest or non has no right to say what you should believe in. I say get rid of ’em all.

    • John

      Why did this “GUY” wait soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo long to file. Its obvious that he is trying to milk the Archdioceses of money. He won’t get anything, especially if the person he is questioning is not alive. He probably checked to make sure she died to file the suite. Can’t wait for the government to authorize the dismissal of all these NON BASIS lawsuits.

      • Florida USA

        Like what kind of lawsuits, the one asking for 56 million for a lost pair of slacks?

    • Florida USA

      “DIsmantled”? Pun intended? ;)

  • Miami

    I went to St.James for 8 years during this time period and she was the principal. I highly doubt she would do anything like this.

  • Martha Zayas

    I attended St. James for 9 years from kindergarten through 8th grade. This is an outrageous lie! Sister Joan Marie was my principal for all those years and I know she would never have done anything to this boy or any other child. I’m sure she is rolling over in her grave!!! He should be ashamed of himself – the money grubbing pig!!!

  • Florida USA

    The allegations of sexual misconduct sound quite far-fetched, though. Something doesn’t jive here.

  • Jah

    Don’t believe it. And shes dead if you want to know. Find a better way to make a living.

  • JImmy DeHarde

    I knew sister Joan Marie well as as I was a bad kid and in her corridors alone with her quite often–If she would have fondled me I would have knocked her block off- I think she was unfair with me at times but never touched me-and I was quite the cute kid, so they use to tell me.

  • Kzen

    Sister Joan Marie was never a teacher at St.James, she was the principal, this lawyer should be investigated by the bar for his disgusting, irresponsible actions while acting as an officer of the court, or a as a member of the human race for that matter…maybe God will open an investigation also. Before you go accusing dead people of such horrific things, you should at least do a minimum of research. Whenever you decide to admit you fingered the wrong person, you should donate $1 million to a charity in her honor to restore it, you sorry excuse for a human being.

  • chrisitine pearce manin

    I went there from 1969 to 1979, my father was the deacon there, so I wan around the church alot. also was a mischief kid at times and spent many times in her office… THis is the worst lie I have ever heard. If found that is DOE is lieing he need to make a public apolized to all And paid 5 million to st james school
    christine pearce manin

    • Wow

      Wow, obviously that school stinks because you can’t spell or use correct punctuation to save your life.

  • Guy

    As with Jimmy I was always in her office, alone. She was a great principal and I never had any issues with her. No one should believe this BS. Just goes to show people will do anything for money.

  • Think

    Notice it’s women standing up for her. She’s accused of abusing a male so of course she would never have put the moves on you. Forcing people to ignore their human nature (i.e. the Catholics not allowing their religious heads to have adult relations) leads to this. Just like abstinence-only education leads to teen pregnancies.

  • Tina

    All I can say is “WOW” …you should be ashamed of yourself for making such an accusation. My principal for 8 years, not her character. Not knowing who you are at the moment because I’m guessing you know what you’re saying is a lie….that your character would be “TOTAL LOSER”.

  • michelle martin

    I attended St James as well till 8th grade. Sister Joan marie was a decent woman and this creep should be ashamed of himself.

  • JD

    besides, she’s a nun! Means she ain’t gettin nun, n don’t want nun!

  • Don

    Note to the posters:
    No matter how hard people may try,
    they will ***never*** succeed in dismantling
    the Catholic Church. And it’s Lord may see to
    it that they die trying.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Connect With Those In Need
Weather Forecast 24/7

Listen Live