Uncover the Truth in America's Hidden History
From the late 1800s to the 1960s, thousands of American girls and young women were virtually enslaved within Good Shepherd Homes and Magdalene Laundries operated in the United States by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, a congregation of Catholic nuns. Recognition and outrage over their routine abuse, rape, and denial of legal rights has been slow in coming. Laundry survivors Diana and Bonnie have bravely come forward with their stories, giving others the courage to do the same. Because of new extended Statute of Limitation Laws sweeping the U.S., we are representing these women in lawsuits that seek justice for the horrors they endured. If you are a survivor, or know of one, we ask that you get in touch with us as soon as possible.
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Modern Survivor Stories Tell of Rape, Brutality
Although the last of the homes and laundries operating in 38 cities and 21 states across the country were closed by the 1970s, many survivors like Diana and Bonnie are still suffering today. Many states have changed their laws to give women of the Magdalene Laundries’ abuses compensation for the injuries they suffered, no matter where they live now. Please join them.
Diana O’Hara, a young girl who was placed in the Buffalo, NY, Magdalene Laundry at age 12, describes how she was raped within minutes of her arrival by the home’s doctor, with full knowledge by the nun who escorted her in.
At 15, Bonnie Armijo was placed in a facility in Albany, NY. She was raped, molested and tortured until her “graduation,” when she was turned out with no skills, no education and no help.
Magdalene Laundries: Profits with Impunity
The Magdalene Laundries were run by an order of nuns called Sisters of the Good Shepherd. Started in Europe in the mid-1800’s these facilities, called Homes of the Good Shepherd, or asylums, were intended to care for ‘fallen women’ and provide them ways to pay penance for their sins through hard work. Many claimed to be ‘high schools’ for the girls, but provided little or no education. The primary purpose was to serve as laundry facilities for large hotel chains and other businesses. The young girls were not paid for their work, effectively making them slave labor.
These “fallen women,” were almost always poor and sent to the homes because they were unwed mothers, were orphaned, worked as prostitutes, or simply displayed behavior deemed inappropriate. Although some of the homes received girls and women through court order and were paid by the court to care for them, the nuns refused requests by local governments to monitor their conditions.
Abusers Should Be Held Accountable
While compensation can assist the recovery process, we understand that there is no court verdict or settlement that can erase the pain and memories that survivors endure. Our hope is that challenging abusers in court can help bring healing, the satisfaction of justice at last, and help protect others from being abused in the future.
Responsibility for what happened to women and girls in the Magdalene Laundries and Good Shepherd Homes must be shared by the Roman Catholic Church and the Sisters of the Good Shepherd.
Justice for Sexual Assault has a Deadline
Many women incarcerated in the Magdalene Laundries did not think they had a chance to close the doors on this horrible part of their lives until recently. Some states have begun changing their laws, called Statutes of Limitations, to allow “windows of opportunity” for filing suit long after their abuse occurred. Some of these windows will be open for as little as a year and, once closed, won’t open again. It is vital that you act quickly to have your voice heard. If you were assaulted in a Magdalene Laundry, Home of the Good Shepherd, or any other clergy-run facility, contact us for a free consultation to see if you have a viable lawsuit.
Demand Justice for Sexual Abuse Survivors
The JJS Sex Abuse division has represented thousands of men and women who were abused as children by authority figures such as clergy members, priests, doctors, and coaches.
As a national law firm with a 40 year track record, JJS has the financial wherewithal to advance substantial case costs on your behalf in order to put you in the best possible position to recover the compensation you deserve. And you’ll never have to pay attorneys’ fees or case costs unless your case is won.
Our representation of sexual abuse and assault survivors has resulted in an “historic” $190M settlement with the Johns Hopkins Hospital regarding sexual abuse by OBGYN Dr. Nikita Levy. The settlement secured by JJS is one of the largest sexual abuse cases against a single abuser in U.S. history and helped thousands of women.
Recently, the firm filed the first class action lawsuits against USC in CA State Court on behalf of thousands of female students allegedly sexually abused and illicitly photographed by USC OBGYN, Dr. George Tyndall. The firm is also representing approximately 100 women who were allegedly abused by another OBGYN, who was not actually a legitimate physician and had fraudulently obtained a medical license.
Richard M. Serbin
Chair, JJS Sex Abuse Division | Richard is a crusader in the fight against sexual abuse by clergy and author of When Clergy Fail Their Flocks.
Fifteen years before reports of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church circulated in newspapers around the world, before the public believed priests could do any wrong, Richard Serbin was fighting to expose the appalling actions of priests and church leaders. For decades, these “men of God” concealed evidence and accounts of child molestation, pornography, abuse and rape of innocent boys and girls in “secret archives.” Because of Richard’s work, these archives have been brought to light. Richard secured the only jury verdict against a priest predator, bishops and diocese in Pennsylvania to date and one of only a handful at the time in the country.
His work on behalf of victims has been featured in numerous national outlets, including The Daily Beast, the Philadelphia Inquirer, The Tribune-Democrat, The Tribune Review, and the Wall Street Journal. Mr. Serbin was recently featured in the 2019 Pennsylvania/Delaware Super Lawyers® edition for his work uncovering the truth behind clergy sexual abuse.
Andrew S. Janet
Co-Chair, JJS Sex Abuse Division | Andrew is actively involved in representing survivors of sexual abuse including:
- Serving as liaison counsel for hundreds of sexual abuse survivors in litigation against the University of Southern California regarding allegations of sexual misconduct by its former gynecologist, Dr. George Tyndall.
- Representing survivors of sexual abuse against priests, as well as the churches, dioceses, bishops, and orphanages that enabled the abuse and kept it a secret, both in litigation and compensation funds.
- Collaborating on litigation strategy, researching a variety of issues, and reviewing and managing intakes for sexual abuse victims.
"At JJS, we are relentless advocates for victims of sexual abuse and sexual assault. We leave no stone unturned to ensure a full measure of justice is served and that those responsible for these heinous acts are held accountable."
- Howard A. Janet, Managing Principal—Janet, Janet & Suggs, LLC