The New Orleans district attorney declined to press criminal charges against a nursing home run by nuns where 19 residents died in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Attorney Eddie Jordans decision regarding the Lafon Nursing Home came after a jury acquitted the owners of a similar facility, St. Rita's Nursing Home in St. Bernard Parish.
St. Rita's owners Sal and Mabel Mangano had been charged with negligent homicide and cruelty for not evacuating the home as the storm approached. Flooding from the Aug. 29, 2005, storm killed 35 people inside.
Like St. Rita's, the nuns at Lafon decided that keeping their frail residents at the home was safer than trying to move them. However, two days before Katrina made landfall, the Sisters of the Holy Family evacuated elderly nuns living on the second floor of the nursing home but not the lay residents on the first floor. All 60 nuns living in the motherhouse across the street also were evacuated.
Jordan said he determined that, after a thorough review, no criminal conduct had occurred.
Administrators with the Sisters of the Holy Family, an African-American congregation founded in 1842 by a free woman of African descent, have declined interviews citing the unresolved criminal investigation and wrongful-death lawsuits filed by relatives of the victims. -- by the Associated Press
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