I was afraid to tell my parents or anyone else about this until now. I was so ashamed of what happened with Sr. Ann Marie and felt like it was my fault. I still kind of feel that way. I think more people would come forward about the nuns if they knew it was safe to speak up, though. Is it safe? What’s going to happen if I say out loud that Sr. Ann Marie is a pedophile?
[Webmaster’s Note: A tip sent via the BehindthePineCurtain.com web site on March 29, 2011, led to several emails and telephone conversations with a woman who attended St. Joseph Lab School in the 1970’s. The woman disclosed sexual misconduct by Sister Ann Marie Biermaier. Sister Biermaier was contacted on April 18, 2011. [ View ] ] [Webmaster’s Note: Patrick Marker offered to provide this statement to Sister Nancy Bauer on April 21, 2011. She declined to speak with Marker, a condition of receiving the statement. [ View ] ]
Statement from Sister Anne Marie Biermaier’s Victim
My family belonged to St. Joseph’s Parish in St. Joseph, Minnesota (USA) for nearly 20 years. Members of my family attended St. Joseph Lab School, St. John’s Preparatory School, St. John’s University and the College of St. Benedict.
I was horrified to recently find the Behind the Pine Curtain web site and learn about the abuse/misconduct involving the monks at St. John’s Abbey. I wanted to let people know that there were issues with the nuns at St. Benedict’s Monastery as well. While attending St. Joseph Lab School in the early 70’s I was sexually molested on at least two occasions by Sister Ann Marie Biermaier.
The first instance of abuse that I remember took place in the bathroom at the Lab School. I was having trouble unzipping the fly to my pants and I had to go very badly. Sister Ann Marie came into the bathroom and she asked me what I was doing in the stall. I told her about the zipper and she offered to help so I opened the door. The pants were wool with a lining of satin or some other smooth fabric and it had been caught in the zipper. I hated those pants and I remember them vividly. I remember Sister Ann Marie getting the zipper unstuck and then putting her fingers inside my underwear and fondling me. I then wet my pants. She left, while I stood there with urine streaming down my pants.
I could not go back to my class. I was upset and knew I was too old to be wetting my pants. I didn’t know what to do so I went upstairs (the bathroom was near my classroom in the basement.) I called my mom from the phone in the conference room on the main level and told her I was sick and needed to go home. She must have called my dad because he came and got me. I remember waiting at the doors. I remember the next day being yelled at by Sr. Ann Marie for leaving without telling anyone and that I was a terrible child. I remember crying and believing I was a bad child. Sister Ann Marie was never “nice” to me after that time and I dreaded seeing her.
Another instance of abuse took place when I was in 6th grade, on the last day of school. Sister Ann Marie called me to the principal’s office. She wanted me to call home to get some “more appropriate” clothes because I was supposed to carry the offering up during the all-school mass that day. She thought I should wear a dress. I hadn’t known about the offering until then-I remember being surprised about it. I told her that my parents were at work and didn’t think they could bring me anything nicer (it was a matching smock-top and shorts outfit and I had worn it to school other times and nobody had said it was inappropriate before.) She put her hand up my shorts and fondled me. I can still remember her fingers there.
I was afraid to tell my parents or anyone else about this until now. I was so ashamed of what happened with Sr. Ann Marie and felt like it was my fault. I still kind of feel that way. I think more people would come forward about the nuns if they knew it was safe to speak up, though. Is it safe? What’s going to happen if I say out loud that Sr. Ann Marie is a pedophile? It’s all just so sad.