Sr. Mary Juanita Barto – Diocese of Brooklyn

Sister Mary Juanita Barto 

Diocese of Brooklyn

Joined: 1952

Died: 2014

Assigned as follows:

  • 1954-1956      Holy Rosary School (Bedford Stuyvesant, NY) 
  • 1956-1957      St. Thomas Aquinas, (Flatlands, NY) 
  • 1957-1960      Sacred Heart (Adelphi Street, Fort Greene, NY) 
  • 1960-1961      St. Agatha (Sunset Park, NY) 
  • 1961-1963      Queen of Angels (Sunnyside, NY) 
  • 1963-1966      St. Mary’s (Roslyn, L.I., NY) 
  • 1966-1968      Mater Christi H.S. (Astoria, NY) 
  • 1968-1988      Holy Trinity H.S. (Hicksville, L.I., NY)

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Sister Mary Juanita Barto:

Sister Mary Juanita Barto was a Religious Sister of Mercy (R.S.M.). She joined the order in 1952, and professed her final vows in 1957. According to media reports, in the 2000s, a woman publicly accused Sister Barto of sexually abusing her throughout high school, beginning she was age 15, in the late 1960s. 

After graduating high school in 1969, she tried to tell her story, but her efforts fell on deaf ears. The accuser, now in her late 60s, said “Nobody wanted to hear about the Vestal Virgins back then.”

The woman said that when Sister Barto repeatedly raped her she told her, “God is Love.” The abuse allegedly occurred in classrooms at Mater Christi High School in Queens, on school buses to sporting events, at retreats in upstate NY, at the girl’s home in Woodside and at a Long Island Convent.

“Sexual abuse leaves scars that last for life,” she wrote on her “Abuse by nuns” blog. “Dealing with those wounds and scars, and surviving through daily life is a challenge for many of us. Silence sometimes is a kind of defense which allows victims to hide from the pain (for a while).”

Some of the woman’s therapy was paid for by the Sisters of Mercy.

“More than 14 percent of nuns have been sexually abused themselves,” she said. “It’s this unattended rage they live with. It’s going to come out as physical abuse of children and sexual abuse.”

Sister Barto died in May 2014.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Brooklyn.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Brooklyn, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Brooklyn now have legal options to recover damages due to a compensation fund created for victims.  Call us at (888) 283-9922 or send an email to to discuss your options today.