BALTIMORE, Dec. 10, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Two women who allege they were abused and assaulted as teens in homes run by Catholic nuns in the United States tell their stories in a documentary offering a rare look at our own country's "Magdalene Laundries" premiering at 7:30 p.m., EST, Wednesday, December 11, 2019.
The 15-minute video will be followed by a live discussion on Facebook featuring the women in the documentary and their attorneys Richard M. Serbin and Andrew Janet, of Janet, Janet & Suggs Law Firm, LLC. Funding and support for the documentary was provided by Janet, Janet & Suggs, LLC., Howard A. Janet, Esq–Managing Partner. Viewers can ask questions and make comments via the live stream. The webinar will be recorded and posted on the page for later viewing.
Other Victims Encouraged to Speak Up
Diana O'Hara and Bonnie Armijo-Green were held in facilities run by Sisters of the Order of the Good Shepherd in Buffalo and Albany, respectively, in New York state in the 1960s. Both claim they were raped or assaulted by men shortly after being escorted into the homes by supervising nuns. A woman held in an Ohio facility also has come forward with similar allegations, Serbin said.
"These traumatic events altered these women's lives forever. Talking about what happened to them and what they saw has brought about some healing and a hope that they might find a measure of justice at last. We hope putting faces to these crimes will give other victims of U.S. Magdalene Laundries the courage to tell their own stories," said Serbin, a long-time national figure in the exposure of pedophile priests and other religious leaders.
"Thousands of women were victimized in these homes, yet this is the first time that we know of that these abuses are being made widely public. A huge amount of publicity has focused on the Irish Magdalene Laundries, but little to none on the same U.S. homes, although from survivor accounts and historical documents they were just as brutal," Janet said.
"Historical documents may exist in government archives or historical associations about what happened in these homes and how officials dealt with criminal and civil complaints, pregnancies and adoptions. We encourage the press and other researchers to look into these homes and publish their findings," Janet said.
Research Solid but Ignored
According to research published in the Journal of the Indiana Academy of the Social Sciences Vol. 17(2014) by Michelle Jones and Lori Record, of the Indiana Women's Prison Higher Education Program:
- Good Shepherd nuns and other Catholic charities operated homes under a variety of names in 35 U.S. cities in 19 states and the District of Columbia for the purpose of rescuing "fallen women" and converting them to Catholicism.
- Many of the homes world-wide supported themselves and the Church through the operation of commercial laundries, widely known as Magdalene Laundries, where women could "wash away their sins."
- Magdalene Laundries existed in the District of Columbia and the following U.S. cities: Denver, CO; Chicago, IL; Peoria, IL; Indianapolis, IN; Louisville, KY; Newport, KY; New Orleans, LA; Boston, MA; Springfield, MA; Baltimore, MD; Detroit, MI; St. Paul, MN; Kansas City, MO; St. Louis, MO; Helena, MT; Omaha, NE; Newark, NJ; Albany, NY; Brooklyn, NY; Buffalo, NY, New York City, NY; Troy, NY; Carthage, OH; Columbus, OH; Cincinnati, OH; Allegheny, PA; Norristown, PA; Philadelphia, PA; Reading, PA; Scranton, PA, Memphis, TN; Seattle, WA; Wheeling, WV; Green Bay, WI, and Milwaukee, WI.
Irish Magdalene Laundries
In 2013, the Irish government apologized and established a compensation fund for survivors in the wake of mounting evidence of abuse, harsh conditions, and forced adoptions of infants at homes run by the Order of the Good Shepherd and other Catholic organizations. At least two mass graves were found near home sites. The movie, "Philomena," starring Judi Dench as a middle-aged woman searching for her son who was taken from her and adopted out by nuns at one of the Magdalene Laundries, further raised the profile of the Irish facilities.
About Janet, Janet & Suggs, LLC
The Sex Abuse Division of Janet, Janet & Suggs has represented thousands of men and women across the nation who were abused as children by authority figures such as clergy members, priests, doctors and coaches. The firm has recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for survivors, including a historic $190 million settlement for women and girls abused by a hospital gynecologist, a settlement for victim number six against Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky, and the first and only successful sexual abuse lawsuit against a Catholic Bishop and predator priest in Pennsylvania. and only successful litigation in Pennsylvania against
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