CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) – Four lawsuits filed Tuesday allege mental and physical abuse at a former orphanage run by a Catholic diocese, three of which also allege sexual abuse.
Parmadale Family Services was a group home for “naughty” children, operating from 1925 to 2014.
The four women filing the lawsuits have lived in Parmadale all along, some since the early 1960s and some since the 2000s.
Three victims reported sexual harassment at the orphanage, including:
- Forced sexual relations with other children under the supervision of staff
- Sexual abuse by a priest named “Father Leahy” while the other men he invited watched
- Being sexually abused by Mr. P” among other employees
One of the lawsuits notes that she was even sexually assaulted on her birthday.
All four women reported psychological and physical abuse, including:
- Punching to the face or stomach
- Pulling on your hair
- Verbal and physical reprimand when she spoke or looked at her brothers
- Have to shower under supervision
- They were dragged out of the chapel for making noise during the church and banged their heads against a brick building.
- Forced to take off pants and spanked in front of other kids
- Their mail is hidden from them so they can’t report abuse
- They are made to finish all their food and are force-fed until they vomit if they don’t finish.
- Forced to fight other residents
- When they call you “fat” or “ugly”
- When they call you “gorilla” or “skunk”
- Being thrown to the floor by “Mr. Hayes”, causing her to pass out.
One of the women specifically named “Sister Mira Wasikowski” among other employees as perpetrators of abuse and domestic violence.
It is noted in all lawsuits that Parmadale was established, managed, administered and maintained by a Catholic diocese, as well as hiring employees.
Among the other defendants in the case are the Sisters of Mercy of St. Augustine, who led staffing, the Catholic Charitable Corporation, who oversaw funding, and Bishop Edward Maleshik, who is in charge of the dioceses of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County, in particular family services. who put the women in Parmadele unaware of the abuse.
All four women said they were mistreated for at least two years while living in Parmadele, with no visits from friends and family if they “didn’t follow orders.”
Women resided in Parmadele from 1975 to 1977, from 1961 to 1963, from 2000 to 2004, and from 1998 to 2002 between the ages of 7 and 18.
The facility closed in 2014 after the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse placed Parmadele on probation over allegations that a former shift coordinator had an ongoing sexual relationship with a 13-year-old girl at the center.
In December 2013, a Cuyahoga County grand jury indicted 34-year-old Cassondra Goodson of Cleveland on 29 charges, including sexual battery, unlawful contact with a minor, and interference with custody.
19 News has reached out to the diocese, the Sisters of Mercy and attorney Bruce Taubman for comment, but has yet to receive a response.
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