The secretive Catholic group People of Praise that once listed Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett as a “handmaid” has hired lawyers to fight claims of emotional torment and at least one sexual-abuse allegation, The Guardian reports. Barrett, who was not asked about her affiliation with the group that scorns same-sex marriage and abortion during her confirmation hearings, has never listed her membership despite documentation that she is a life-long member and that her father was once the leader of the Indiana-based organization. Several members who say they were abused came forward after Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination to succeed the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
The abuse claims do not pertain to Barrett personally, reports The Guardian, which interviewed several complainants. “The basic premise of everything at the People of Praise was that the devil controlled everything outside of the community, and you were ‘walking out from under the umbrella of protection’ if you ever left,” one former member said. “I was OK with it being in a tiny little corner of Indiana, because a lot of weird stuff happens in tiny little corners in this country. But it’s just unfathomable to me—I can’t even explain just how unfathomable it is—that you would have a Supreme Court justice who is a card-carrying member of this community.”