Nearly a dozen Catholic nuns sexually abused at least 95 students at boarding and day schools run by the Ursuline Sisters of the Western Province, according to a lawsuit scheduled for trial later this year.
The suit — which was filed in 2011 in Lewis and Clark County, Montana – lists 95 plaintiffs but includes placeholders for up to 105 potential victims, reported the Global Sisters Report.
The trial is scheduled to begin Dec. 1, and the plaintiffs’ attorneys will attempt to prove 11 nuns who served from the 1940s to 1970s at St. Ignatius Mission School physically, sexually, and emotionally abused students from the Flathead Indian Reservation.
“It affected a whole generation of Native American kids,” said Vito de la Cruz, an attorney for the plaintiffs.
About 5,000 U.S. priests and deacons have been accused of sexual abuse in cases dating to the 1950s, but only an estimated 88 other female religious figures have been accused of abuse, according to the online database Bishopaccountability.org.
The database shows about 400 alleged victims of female religious figures, not including the Montana case.
Only two of the accused women have been convicted of criminal charges, although dozens of them have been named in civil suits.
The Diocese of Helena, which is named in the suit, previously settled a separate suit that alleged church officials covered up abuse by its priests.
The diocese agreed to pay $15 million in compensation and at least $2.5 million for future claims, and it has since declared bankruptcy.