The community of Aliquippa in Pennsylvania is still in shock amid reports that an 18-year-old teen raped an elderly nun from the Sisters of St Joseph in Baden. Reports are conflicting regarding her age. 7 News said she is 85, while Daily Mail said she is 70.
Reuters Catholic nuns are in the high risk category of different types cancer because of their celibate life.
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Police have arrested the suspect, Andrew Clarence Bullock. 7 News said he denied the assault, while Daily Mail said he admitted to the crime.
The nun was brought to the Allegheny General Hospital where she was treated for a broken jaw. She could not speak because of shock when police arrived, so she wrote on a piece of paper that she was assaulted.
Aliquippa Police Chief Andre Davis said, "This is not acceptable on any level ... This is unacceptable to the whole community."
According to detective Sgt Steven Roberts, Mr Bullock approached the nun at the parking lot of the St Titus Church on Friday morning and asked if she needed any assistance. Quoting the elderly nun, Mr Roberts said the alleged rapist even had a very nice smile.
He then reportedly exposed himself, grabbed her neck, choked and raped her.
Sister Mary Pellegrino, congregational moderator for the Sisters of St Joseph, said the local community of Aliquippa and communities around the U.S. are praying for both the nun and even her assailant.
"As Sisters of St Joseph, we live and work to bring all people into union with God, and Sister manifests that spirit every day. Sister is a passionate advocate of nonviolence, peace and justice, and each month she conducts a prayer vigil for peace in the chapel of our Motherhouse ... As we offer continued prayers of healing for our Sister, we also pray for the young man who has been arrested in the assault."