Raped Chilean nun sues Catholic Church for damages

SANTIAGO – A Chilean nun, who was raped by a man carrying out repairs at a Santiago convent, is suing the religious order she belonged to after its members pressured her to leave the Church over her pregnancy.

The nun, unnamed yet, alleges when her fellow sisters found out about her pregnancy, they blamed her for having been raped.

She is suing the Archbishopric of Santiago and the Order of St Clare.

On the other hand, Auxiliary Bishop of Santiago Rt Rev Jorge Concha says the nun had left the convent “voluntarily” and the Archbishopric had only found out about the rape and subsequent events on March 27.

The nun had joined the order in 2002 when she was 20 years old, and had lived inside a convent in the capital Santiago, with very little contact with the outside world.

But in 2012, a group of men was allowed into the convent to carry out some repairs. They lived and slept in the convent for the duration of the renovations and the nun was assigned to provide them with food.

One of them raped her, a fact she kept secret from her fellow sisters “out of fear and shame, because a sense of shame came over me and didn’t let me express myself,” she told 24 Horas.

“[I got] zero support, they (sisters) told me I was to blame, that I did it on purpose,” the nun told Chilean TV. “I told them I was innocent, but my fellow sisters were very cruel to me.”

In 2015, her rapist was found guilty and sentenced to five years in jail. Her lawyer says it is time for the Archbishopric of Santiago “to own up to its responsibility” in the case.

The nun said she felt “abandoned by my only family and my Church, which I have always defended like a lioness”.