Nuns spared prosecution in Katrina deaths at nursing home

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It didn't take long for prosecutors to determine that no criminal charges would be filed against nuns who ran a nursing home where 19 residents died in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Once the high-profile trial of Sal and Mabel Mangano was settled, that is.

The Manganos were acquitted on all 35 counts of negligent homicide and 24 counts of cruelty to the infirm Friday night. On Monday, District Attorney Eddie Jordan announced that the nuns who run the Lafon Nursing home in suburban New Orleans would not be charged. Jordan was given the option of pressing charges about a year ago by Louisiana Attorney General Charles Foti, who has come under criticism for prosecuting the Manganos, and unsuccessfully trying to bring criminal charges against a physician connected with Katrina deaths.

As at St. Rita's, the leaders at Lafon decided to keep their residents at the facility throughout the storm. One wrinkle, however, was that managers at Lafon decided to evacuate healthy nuns living upstairs and at a facility across the street while leaving about 100 lay residents to shelter in place. Numerous civil lawsuits against the operators of both St. Rita's and the Lafon facility are still pending.