Illinois religious sister pleads "no contest" in 1960s sex abuse case

.- A religious sister who taught in Chicago-area Roman Catholic schools for more than three decades pleaded no contest Monday to molesting two teenage boys at a Milwaukee elementary school in the 1960s, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Sister Norma Giannini, 79, was accused of dozens of incidents of sexual contact with a twelve-year-old and a thirteen-year-old boy when she was an eighth grade teacher and principal at St. Patrick's School in Milwaukee.

Nikola Kostich, the sister’s attorney, explained the no-contest plea: "She is basically saying that the prosecutor has enough evidence to find her guilty."

Kostich said Giannini didn't plead guilty out of concern her admissions could be used in possible civil lawsuits against her religious order, the Sisters of Mercy, and the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

Victim Gerald Kobs, now 53, expressed relief at Giannini’s plea. "It's very hard to describe. It took so long," he said. "It's close to the end for us, and I can't wait for sentencing.”

Sister Giannini was able to be prosecuted more than forty years after her crime because she moved from Wisconsin before the six-year statute of limitations for indecent behavior with a child expired.  Under Wisconsin law, a perpetrator's time living out of state does not count against the statute of limitations.

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