Woman says nun ‘plied her with alcohol and drugs, assaulted her’
3rd January 2019
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‘I was with my friends during the day, and a pedophile nun in the evening’: Woman reveals how nun ‘plied her with alcohol and drugs and taught her to have sex with a woman’ when she was 15

  • Trish Cahill said she was first abused by her uncle, a priest, starting at the age of 5
  • She confided in a nun at a New Jersey convent, Sister Eileen Shaw
  • Cahill, who was 15 at the time, alleges Shaw sexually abused her
  • Shaw ‘plied her with alcohol, drugs, and then taught her to have sex’, she says
  • Congregation and Cahill signed a $70,000 out-of-court settlement
  • Shaw was permitted to remain a nun despite the allegations
  • Women have now come forward to report alleged abuse by nuns 

Two women have come forward to allege that they suffered sexual abuse at the hands of nuns, including one nun who allegedly plied her victim with alcohol and drugs while teaching her how to have sex.

Trish Cahill said she was 15 years old when she reported alleged abuse by her uncle, a priest, to Sister Eileen Shaw at a convent in New Jersey.

Cahill told Shaw that her uncle abused her when she was just five years old, according to CBS News.

‘I would have done anything for her,’ Cahill said. ‘I would have died for her.

‘She gave me everything that was lacking that I didn’t even know I was lacking.

Trish Cahill (above) says she suffered sexual abuse at the hands of her uncle, who was a priest, and a nun

Cahill alleges that the abuse took place after she confided in Sister Eileen Shaw (above) of the Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth in central New Jersey

Cahill says that when she complained about the abuse, the congregation paid her $70,000 as part of an out-of-court settlement

Cahill is seen above in an undated file photo. She says the alleged abuse has resulted in post-traumatic stress as well as drug and alcohol addiction

‘I was so broken. She filled in all those pieces.’

Cahill said she was subjected to a process of ‘grooming’ by Shaw.

In abuse cases, ‘grooming’ is when the alleged abuser befriends the victim and advances the relationship for the purpose of eventually engaging in sexual conduct.


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Cahill alleges that Shaw plied her with drugs and alcohol while showing her how to have sex with a woman.

After Cahill reported Shaw to the Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth in central New Jersey in 1994, the congregation paid her a $70,000 out-of-court settlement.

‘They had canon lawyers on retainer just for people like me,’ Cahill said of the settlement.

‘Shut her up, pacify her, tell her you love her and you’ll pray for her, and send her on her way.’

Mary Dispenza, a former nun from a different congregation, says that a superior touched her inappropriately

Cahill said that she spent a great deal of time with Shaw.

‘I’m with my friends during the day,’ Cahill said. ‘And I’m with this pedophile nun on the evenings and on the weekends, and in the summer.’

The congregation put out a statement, saying: ‘The case was investigated immediately when it was reported in 1994 and a settlement was reached that was mutually agreed on by all parties.

‘We believe that the Sisters of Charity acted in a responsible manner.’

Shaw would not comment on the allegations.

Even after the alleged abuse took place, Cahill continued to see Shaw well into her adulthood.

Shaw was removed from her position as a grade school principal, but she is believed to still serve as a nun to this day.

While she has been restricted from her outside ministry, she still receives food and housing from the congregation.

Cahill said she feels motivated to speak out now more than two decades after signing the settlement.

‘That this is the beginning of many, many times more that I get to speak and I get to educate, and I get to, possibly, prevent this from happening to anyone ever again,’ Cahill said.

Since the alleged abuse, Cahill said she’s been suffering from post-traumatic stress as well as drug and alcohol abuse.

The Sisters of Charity said it is willing to meet with her to provide additional assistance.

Last month, Pope Francis urged predator priests who have sexually abused minors to turn themselves in, making one of his strongest comments ever on the crisis sweeping the Roman Catholic Church

Mary Dispenza, a former nun from a different congregation, says that a superior touched her inappropriately.

‘I knelt down right next to her and she kissed me all over softly, my face… and I want to say, “Oh but it wasn’t bad,” but it was,’ she said.

‘And I’ve carried it with me until today.’

Dispenza shared her story after she joined the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP).

She said that several women have contacted SNAP to report alleged abuse by nuns. 

The allegations are just the latest public relations crisis for the Roman Catholic Church, which has been accused of systematically covering up rampant sexual abuse by priests against young congregants. 

Illinois’ state attorney general said last month her office identified child sexual abuse accusations against at least 500 Catholic priests or clergy members not publicly named by the church, and that many of those cases were not properly investigated. 

Last year, a probe by the attorney general of Pennsylvania that found Catholic priests in that state had sexually abused thousands of children over a 70-year period, crimes that were systematically covered up by bishops. 

Last month, Pope Francis urged predator priests who have sexually abused minors to turn themselves in, making one of his strongest comments ever on the crisis sweeping the Roman Catholic Church. 

He spoke two months before a summit on the sexual abuse crisis that will be attended by the heads of some 110 national Catholic bishops’ conferences and dozens of experts and leaders of religious orders in the Vatican. 

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