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Monday, February 22, 2021


by Karol Nielsen

The nun founded the Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International (TASSC).

The American nun, who was gang raped and tortured in Guatemala, died of cancer in Washington, DC. She had been helping indigenous Guatemalans when she was captured. The government suspected the indigenous of left wing subversion, with the United States backing the Guatemalan military in its civil war. The nun was burned by cigarettes, exposed to dead bodies and rats, and forced to mutilate another captive with a machete. She jumped out of a car as the man with accented Spanish drove her to a new location. She fled to the United States and struggled to remember her life there. She sued a Guatemalan general who was studying at Harvard. A judge ordered him to pay millions but he escaped to Guatemala. She told a reporter that even though she was Catholic she struggled to forgive.

Karol Nielsen is the author of two memoirs and two poetry chapbooks. Her first memoir was shortlisted for the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing. Her poetry collection was a finalist for the Colorado Prize for Poetry.