Thursday, May 11, 2006

The case will be appealed...

Linked article above, also worth pointing out as was earlier by one commenter who wrote as to what Father Robinson said that the Prosecution did not enhance, that he heard on Court Tv is written in this article:

Mr. Thebes said that what Robinson said was that Sister Margaret Ann knew the priest “didn’t do this. Sister won’t you please come through for me?”

The article contains alot more detail so perhaps this is far from being over.

And CNN takes the inaudible comments and gets them wrong.

A quick thank you...

Since the trial is now over, after the next few days of coverage there will probably not be any new posts/discussion. Yet I will leave the blog up for anyone who later wants to read the information that has been accumulated here.

I want to thank all of you who have commented, who have emailed me and have stopped by to visit this blog.

I'd also like to thank Mike who has another excellent local blog, History Mike's Musing for promoting what I was trying to do here as well as 13ABC for linking my blog as a information resource and also thank Merle Dech for reading here as well as commenting. As he stated in the comments he will be featured on Fox 36 at both 4:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.

If there is an appeal and it ends up being successful? Then we will of course have more to talk about in the future. I know many of you have waited to discuss your feelings/speculation until the trial was over and you are most welcome to do so.

I know this is not the verdict many of you hoped for as well as I also know this is the verdict many others did want. I also thank all of you for discussing these differences of opinion in an admirable manner. I still hope we do eventually get all of the answers that many of us still want to know. For those of you who do pray, I'd suggest not just praying for Father Robinson but that it be done for our whole community, that not only will there be truth but healing.

Father Robinson found guilty

The jury did not take much time in deliberating - however that is their verdict.

Cheering and applause broke out when this was announced outside of the courtroom.


Earlier than expected, but that is the verdict.

Jury Watch begins

I don't think anyone expected the Jury to make a decision last night, we also knew that Judge Thomas Osowik had previously made it clear that he does not allow juries to go past 8:00 p.m. while in deliberation.

So far we know the Jury has requested the witness list and a DVD player, it is assumed so that they can watch Father Robinson's two hour interrogation session with Toledo police. The Jury has been reported as consisting of 7 women and 4 men.

David Yonke has his impressions of yesterday from the Toledo Blade.

13ABC has their report on yesterday; WTOL has theirs; NBC24 has a short report and Fox 36 also has a brief summary. Merle was on last night at ten but that video is not yet on their website.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Closing Arguments...

Court is on a short recess, I know there will be several links that will be out there that will have these closing arguments on video so they can be either viewed if you missed them or reviewed.

I've been asked via email and in older comments if there is an email alert system for a jury verdict.

Not that I am aware of, however WTOL has a notification system for breaking news. As does 13ABC. NBC24 also has a breaking news email/desktop service.

UPDATE: The case is now in the hands of the jury and according to what the Judge said yesterday, he will only allow them to deliberate until 8:00 p.m. each day. Most legal experts are predicting the jury will deliberate several days.

Closing arguments today

Several of the local media is streaming this live thru their websites. I'll still suggest 13ABC or Court Tv Extra, they've both so far provided the best video coverage of this trial.

Thank you to 13ABC for linking my blog, I didn't see that until this morning.

As reported there could be possibly one rebuttal witness then closing arguments.

I'll open up a thread after closing arguments to discuss those and how you think the trial went.

So far the "unoffical" Lisa Renee poll of people here, thru emails and discussion off the blog, the majority of people are predicting a hung jury as the outcome.

David Yonke's article from this morning's Blade, he was also on NBC24 last evening.

WTOL Also plans to carry the live stream of closing arguments as stated above.

Fox 36 has some new video since my last visit which includes a legal analysis by a favorite of the readers of this blog, Merle Dech.

Court TV also has a written article on Monday's testimony.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Monday's notes...

Some notes I made in watching this morning's testimony:

It appears the Prosecution is trying to imply that the former Chief Detective on the case helped to protect Father Robinson from being charged because of his being Catholic and his relationship with the diocese at the time of the murder.

A blonde pubic hair found at the crime scene which I do not believe the prosecution mentioned before was discussed. Testing showed that Father Robinson could not be the person that the public hair came from.

More on the fingernail clippings, the Prosecution has suggested the DNA evidence could have come from anyone who had contact with Sister on the day of the murder. Yet that does and did raise the possibility that it was also from the murderer. Either way, the testing shows it was from a male and the items tested that had a large enough sample ruled out Father Robinson or any biological relatives of him.

Valid questions to remain as to how the fingernail clippings were collected, it's important to remember at the time of the murder DNA was not available. Considering though when the tests were ordered later, the decision to use all of the nails rather than trying to do individual testing and consuming all of the sample does raise some interesting questions.

As an additional update: WTOL just reported that Dr. Kathy Reichs is expected to testify this afternoon. Court resumes at 1:00 p.m.

Second update 1:55 p.m.:

Dr. Reichs testified, notes from that testimony:

Dr. Reich's testified that there is photographic evidence that the penetration wound in the jaw wound was changed possibly after the letter opener was put in which to her suggests that it was not a fit prior. She showed the jury blown up photos of before the letter opener was inserted and after the letter opener was inserted.

There is also some question as to differences in how that particular wound was created. This stems from written reports from the initial time of the murder versus the experts called to testify for the prosecution.

It appears the main focus of having her present is to point out that this evidence was potentially compromised. The prosecution focused on why she did not physically examine the mandible. She stated under testimony and under cross that after the letter opener and the casting had been done that there would have been no way for her to determine details on the original "defect" (bone trauma/wound).

Third update; 3:26:

13ABC is reporting:

The defense has rested in the Robinson case. There will not be any testimony tomorrow. Closing arguments are scheduled for Wednesday.

However, what I heard the Judge say was there could be possibly one more witness on Wednesday then closing statements.

NBC24 has their report on today's testimony.

WTOL has theirs.

David Yonke of the Toledo Blade provides his report on today.

Fox 36 did not have an update yet, will add the link to them later.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Start of Defense

13abc's video is not working, it appears that the first witness called by the Defense was Steve Forrester who was a witness for the Prosecution. If that is correct and not some wicked trick by Court TV, it doesn't appear that was a good decision.

More later...

Update: It did later appear that some of the many inconsistencies were pointed out. Especially when the focus was made what was said/written at the time of the murder versus today.

David Yonke's reporting on yesterday.

I think Art Marx's testimony had impact as well as the comparision done with scissors to the wounds:

Mr. Konop asked retired Toledo police Detective David Weinbrecht about a 1980 report he filed that said a pair of scissors was missing from the chapel. The report said informal tests of the scissors showed that they could have been used in the nun’s slaying.

But Detective Weinbrecht pointed to another sentence in the report that said Lucas County’s deputy coroner concluded that “the wounds on the victim’s face were made by a weapon sharper than scissors.”

It's been pointed out by several witnesses that the letter opener is not sharp.

13abc did not do their daily write up as to what happened in the trial.

NBC24 gives us this

Both 13 and 11 news reports have started to speculate if Father Robinson is going to testify.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Prosecution rests...

13ABC covers the details that even those of us who normally watch missed because two of the witnesses did not want to be audio or video recorded.

David Yonke of the Toledo Blade provides his views on how testimony today went.

I'm not sure how today's testimony will be taken by the jury. I think it might have been more believable had Richard Kerner been told at the time that his now ex-wife saw Father Robinson. It would also be a bit more credible if there were statements from that time period that stated what was said but? Now it is up to the Defense and then the jury.

Morning update...

So far it appears several witnesses did not want to be audio or video taped. A witness that was not on the Prosecution's list that did agree to audio/video was the ex-husband of Leslie (Kerr) Kernes who is on the prosecution's witness list.

Brief notes on his testimony (he flew in from Texas to testify)

He stated that Leslie talked to him that night
after the murder had taken place.

Her office was next to the chapel - He stated she
stated she saw a priest near the chapel.

They are divorced - when asked why he felt he needed to come
here to testify this he responded he felt it was his civic duty.
He was not officially suponeoned

Defense - she never mentioned a name?

No - it was around 7:30 a.m. down the hall from
where she worked in the Technology Office.

Prosecuter's office contacted him a year ago.
Tom Ross called him. He knew Father Robinson
had been arrested.

Trial resumes today after two day delay

More information listed at the above link. Updates later in the day and it is being suggested by local media that the prosecution could rest their case against Father Gerald Robinson by the end of the day.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Questions from looking at what has been reported.

Going back to articles written immediately after the murder of Sister Margaret Ann and even several articles from 2004/2005 things that have been reported in the media have not yet been a part of the trial.

Starting with the older articles, and continuing into 2004 when Father Robinson was charged with the murder it was stated that there had been a sexual assault or an attempted sexual assault. It also was stated at the time of the murder that it was done with a "small knife" and that not only had the body been moved but blood had been cleaned up and it was felt that any physical evidence was destroyed by the presence of those who discovered her body and medical staff called in when Sister Margaret Ann was found. That would mean photos taken were not an accurate representation of the time of the murder and that the altar cloths also could have picked up blood that would not be an accurate representation. Blood that ended up on either one of the altar cloths tested could have come from the floor, from being stepped on, etc.

Moving into 2004, this reaction as printed in the Toledo Blade on April 24, 2004:

"I'll be damned," said Ray Vetter, a retired deputy Toledo police chief who was in charge of the detective bureau, after hearing about the arrest.

He said he has mixed feelings about Father Robinson's arrest, partially because he is Catholic.

"I'm happy an arrest was made. If he's the right man, I hope they get a conviction," he said. "I hope they have more evidence than we had."

Do they have more evidence? Everything seems to hinge on the blood transfer evidence linked to the letter opener which we already know as clearly stated shortly after the murder was not what you could call a "secured" crime scene.

Then the witness report as stated in May of 2004 in the Toledo Blade:

A resident nursing student at Mercy, Mrs. Raszka had worked a double shift from 3 p.m. Good Friday until about 7:30 a.m. Holy Saturday, at which time she took an elevator to the hospital basement to punch her time card, then rode the elevator back to the first floor and headed for the chapel.

As she walked down the hallway, an office door popped open and a man she did not recognize stepped out.

Two days later, Mrs. Raszka described him to police, saying he was a good-looking, clean-shaven, slim white male, about 5-foot-8 or 5-foot-9, between 24 and 30 years old, with collar-length blond hair.

Who was this mystery man and who did police interview and perform a search warrant on in 1981 as a suspect for this murder?

We know the reason this case was reopened was the claim of a woman seeking compensation for counseling expenses. A Toledo Blade report done on April 21, 2005 concerns the filing of a civil lawsuit which names:

Father Robinson, who is scheduled to go on trial in October for the aggravated murder of Sister Margaret Ann Pahl; Gerald Mazuchowski, a former lay minister; the diocese; St. Adalbert Parish; the Oblates of St. Francis De Sales, Inc., and fifteen "John Does" were named as defendants. We also know that Bill Frogameni's earlier article also lists former priest Chet Warren as one of the fifteen "John Does".

For those of us who have followed the "ritual" portion of some of this case; we know the additional claim of Satanic ritual is based on rumors surrounding two things, the victim claiming that her mother was a close friend of Father Robinson and Mr. Mazuchowski and that her mother at the time was becoming a High Priestess of Satan. Others who follow local Witchcraft lore have made an attempt to connect this to Lady Circe, who claimed to be a Witch and was the founder of the Sisterhood & Brotherhood of the Old Religion. There is a difference between Witchcraft and Satanism, however most people seem to have the Hollywood image of both that keeps some of these rumors alive this many years later.

We don't know if anything has come of the criminal investigation into the claims made that resulted in the civil suit and Father Robinson being charged. That has never been revealed, logic would dictate if there was evidence that Father Robinson or any of the other men known or unknown had participated in this activity it would have resulted in additional criminal charges.

Will the differences in what was reported in the past and what is being presented today be reconciled? That remains to be seen as this trial progresses. While there are those who believe Father Robinson is guilty and those who believe he is innocent, given the basis of this case so far I think even if there is a conviction there will still be doubt. Like most circumstancial murder cases, unless someone comes forward with a confession. We may never know, regardless of the outcome.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Today's trial updates

David Yonke's update that I have to take issue with a part of it.

In reporting the testimony of Father Grob:

He also testified that the seal of confession is held so sacred by the Roman Catholic Church that a priest who reveals anything told to him by a penitent is automatically excommunicated.

I do not feel that is not an accurate representation of the testimony or Canon Law. Father Robinson did not directly name an individual or give identifying information. What he did was a violation of Canon Law and could have made him liable for punishment but not automatic excommunication. Father Grob even made this clarification when asked by the Defense.

It was interesting to see what portions of the almost two hour video of Father Robinson was selected by the various news channels. The "smirking" accusation seemed to be the top played as well as the point where it appears Father Robinson was praying when he was left alone in the interrogation room while the video continued to be taped. I don't know how that tape will affect the jury but I found it to probably be more beneficial to the defense. Note to anyone questioned by the police, smarter move seems to be to ask for an attorney.

I'm not sure if Mr. Konop's brusque almost rude questioning of the Toledo police detectives is going to win him points with the jury. Sometimes I think he goes a bit too far but then I'm not a legal expert. Anyone who agrees/disagrees I'd be interested on your take on that.

News articles from the time of the murder

If you are interested in reading the articles from the Toledo Blade during that time period, they have been scanned and uploaded to photobucket. You are welcome to save the images for your own use but please don't link them elsewhere.

The online archives for articles from the Toledo Blade only goes back to 1997 which is why it's not possible to link directly to these articles.

Sunday April 6 part one

Sunday April 6 part two

Monday April 7 part one

Monday April 7 part two

What is different from the articles written in April of 1980, and the trial information is it was claimed by the corner Dr. Harry Mignerey, on April 7, 1980 that Sister Margaret Ann Pahl had been sexually molested. It also is stated the reason police felt there was no physical evidence was the number of people who were at the crime scene before the police arrived had "probably obliterated physical evidence".

Update...additional articles:

Tuesday April 8 part one

Tuesday April 8 part two

Wed April 9

As a parent...

I have to interject a personal comment here, while the lawyers are in chambers the Court TV extra video is showing what appears to be three high school age students, two boys in white shirts and one girl with short dark hair and glasses wearing a dark blue sweater. This is a murder trial, not a place to chew gum, mess around and place bare feet up against the railing. If I had the ability to do a screen capture of the video? I'd place the picture of the three of them, including the numerous times she placed her bare feet up against the railing up so that perhaps a parent could be able to id their child.

While I'd love to be able to attend, I'm not sure if I would let one of mine attend and if so I would at least make sure they behaved with the proper courtroom decorum.

I have to wonder where the Court room Bailiff is...

Expert suggests "just google it"

The expert for the prosecution on rituals suggested that people just "google inverted cross" as a part of his testimony. There was an objection made by the defense that was sustained by the judge, yet I found it pretty ironic given the jury probably isn't supposed to google anything related to the trial.

But we aren't jury members, so let's take a quick look at what happens when you do as suggested:

Number one: Antichrist SlideshowThis inverted cross image comes from, BloodWulfs Book : ChaosLord . ... INVERTED CROSS: Represents Satanism and its mockery of Christ

Number two: Satanism Minor TopicsDiscrimination and Prejudice; Shemhamphorash; The Inverted Cross. The Inverted Cross. The inverted cross was not invented or first used by Satanists.

Number three: John Paul II and His Inverted CrossThe claim has been made that the inverted cross is a Roman Catholic symbol which ... Editor: Steve Van Nattan-- The inverted cross is NOT Christian at all.

Number four: What can you tell me of the inverted cross?It's commonly believed that an inverted Cross is the symbol of Satan, ... When someone wears the inverted Cross, they're making a statement as being humble

Number five: JP2 & the "Inverted Cross" ChairThere is another meaning for the Inverted Cross, one that is thoroughly Christian. ... (Note the "inverted cross" of keys at the upper left of their page.

Unless I'm misunderstanding the testimony, which I will re-watch when it's made available, I don't think google makes clear what was stated. Regardless, that is how google listed the top five search results for "inverted cross" as of ten minutes ago.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Weekend update...hints of a motive...

Friday's testimony was short and as happened on Thursday witnesses did not want to be video taped, one agreed to be audio taped but not video taped.

As was hinted during Kina's testimony, Sister Margaret Ann Pahl was upset over Good Friday Mass being shortened, this was confirmed by one of the witnesses on Friday.

I'm not sure how that will play out, for anyone who is a Catholic or was a Catholic, disagreements between Nuns and Priests are not that uncommon. It's kind of hard to imagine a Priest getting upset over a Nun taking issue with that, even if it turns out to be Father Robinson who shortened the Mass.

The testimony about the blood in the sink seems strange given there was no photographic evidence. It would be interesting to find out who told that particular housekeeper to 'keep her mouth shut'on the blood in the sink.

Lots of questions still remain and despite 13's coverage on Friday giving the impression that Father Robinson is guilty or that this case has anything to do with sexual abuse cases... I'm going to keep the speculation to a minimum and promote the basics. Everyone is innocent until proven guilty and hope that Sister Margaret Ann Pahl's murder is solved and if the real killer turns out to be Father Robinson that he is punished to the full extent of the law.

I probably won't watch 13's interviews on this case anymore though, especially if they are not even going to attempt to be unbiased. I'll stick with WTOL or NBC24 or Fox36

It's been reported that the prosecution will end the presentation of this case earlier than expected, so perhaps the trial won't take the 30 days initially stated.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Updates from yesterday

David Yonke of the Toledo Blade provides an update of testimony from yesterday.

An interesting article about Forensic Serology. It really gives a lot of information for anyone who is interested in reading more about some of the details we've heard during this trial as far as blood evidence.

WTVG 13 also provides a daily written account of highlights of the trial. All of the local television stations listed on the sidebar also have video highlights available.

While this trial is of course to determine the innocence or guilt of Father Gerald Robinson, regardless of the outcome Sister Margaret Ann Pahl was murdered.

This website has a link to a 2004 Blade article called "A Family Remembers Its Sister, Slain Nun's Piety Obscured in Details of Bizarre Death.

And if there was any question as to the international attention this trial has gotten, The Guardian in England has an Associated Press report.

Since local rumors are again swelling about ritual murders happening near Swanton back in 1985. This might be helpful as far as refreshing fiction from fact:

Five years after the Mercy Hospital nun was strangled and stabbed, tips, surveillance, and an infrared aerial sweep of Spencer Township prompted Lucas County Sheriff James Telb and investigators to spend two days excavating a woody area in western Lucas County. They were looking for the bodies of 50 to 60 babies and children who reportedly had been sacrificed over several years during cult rituals.

"We hear these things for 4 1/2 months, we had to act on it," the sheriff told The Blade yesterday.

Investigators found nothing of substance, and the dig was abandoned.

Sheriff Telb said yesterday he was not contacted by investigators reviewing the 1980 murder case, and he's unsure if there are any links between it and the 1985 tips about satanic rituals that his department pursued.

In fact, he acknowledged, children most likely never were sacrificed in the area they searched. A missing child who reportedly had been sacrificed, Charity Freeman, turned up years later in California. She had been abducted by her grandfather.

"If there were [human] bodies there, we would have found them," Sheriff Telb said.

Still, Sheriff Telb noted, surveillance reports on the area preceding the digs indicated some sort of ritual, and investigators found animal bones, knives, and a cache of children's clothing.

If there was an award for one of the most biased headlines...this far it would go to New York Post 'SATAN CULT' PRIEST ON TRIAL IN '80 NUN SLAY - CHILLING EVIDENCE IN UNHOLY CRIME AS DECADES-OLD MYSTERY UNRAVELS

I guess that's a good reminder that while I may not agree with our local media at times, at least they have handled this more professionally than the New York Post.

A bad thing about speculation

It's easy for us to play arm chair prosecutors or the defense and local television has had it's share of experts.

Yet, until the trial is completed and it's in the hands of the jury all we are doing is speculating. Even I couldn't help thinking today that if there is reasonable doubt created about the use of the letter opener, since a pair of scissors was missing and never recovered that doesn't automatically mean that Father Robinson is innocent. All that could mean is he used a pair of scissors. It is strange that none of his DNA was discovered but it could also mean that they didn't test enough samples. That issue would probably lead more to a finding of not guilty than debating the letter opener versus scissors.

That's why I have been providing updates but not interjecting alot of personal opinion into these posts. I don't think that's helpful.

I think it is valid for the media to point out that blood transfer is a new methodology but even if an expert is stating he doesn't think the prosecution did a good job or feels they did do a good job these experts are not on the jury.

As a reminder, Court TV is not only carrying the trial live but they are offering a 30 day free trial for Court Tv extra where you can view the trial thru streaming video or taped video of most of the testimony.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Yesterday's testimony

WTVG has part of the summary. So far no one has the video of former detective William Kina which is strange. Not even Court TV has that as a saved video. They have the testimony and the cross examination of the two sisters and the Prosecution with William Kina.

WTOL 11 doesn't have it either despite their claim that they will have full video they have very little on that either.

Despite earlier critiques of the Blade coverage, this developing news report does mention this.

David Yonke's article gives his opinion of yesterday's testimony.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Testimony begins

One of the nuns who was at Mercy Hospital the morning of the murder is on the stand. It's obviously hard for her to go back thru that day as well as parts that she doesn't remember clearly after this time period.

Sister Margaret Ann Pahl's cross and watch were stated as missing after her murder. At this point it doesn't appear that they were ever found.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Opening Statements

You can't tell a lot about the outcome of a trial by the opening statements, but if you have watched them WTOL has the complete video of both, it does give you an idea as to how the prosecution and the defense is looking at this trial.

I'll say it for those of you who watched it, while I think Mr. Konop did a good job, I couldn't help thinking of the "if it does not fit you must acquit" statement as he made the comparison of the puzzle pieces. Which was a good analogy, it was just a thought that hit me as I heard him repeat the not fitting statement.

This is a circumstantial evidence trial, yet people are found guilty based on circumstantial evidence. The next few weeks will determine that no matter how well either side did on opening arguments.

More Coverage begins

WTOL has streaming video of portions of the trial.

If you have Buckeye, they are covering the trial on channel 111

Toledo Blade's update of today

Blade update on final jury selection from yesterday

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Don't mess with Judge Osowik

From the Toledo Blade:

One woman said she feels the Catholic Church "has gotten off too easy" in the crisis involving clerical sexual abuse of children, but that she could be impartial because this is a murder case, not a molestation case.

When Father Robinson's defense attorneys asked for her to be dismissed, Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Thomas Osowik agreed and ordered her removed. That sparked a brief, but heated exchange with assistant Lucas County prosecutor Dean Mandros.

Mr. Mandros cited the woman's statements that she could be objective in reviewing the facts of the case, but the judge slammed his hand on the bench and said, "I've had it! That's my ruling."

WTOL reports some additional information:

Later, things heated up again when prosecutors wanted the jury order to be re-shuffled. They believed there were too many Catholics scheduled to be in the first batch of jurors that will be questioned Thursday. The state fears that could create a bias.

Prosecutor Larry Kiroff said, "Equally troubling is the fact that we feel that, based upon the current makeup of the jurors -- especially jurors 1 through 20 -- that the idea of going forward with the jurors as they are numbered is a strategic defense on the part of the defense counsel."

"This is the shuffle," said defense attorney Alan Konop. "This is the way it was shuffled. It's sufficient, and to infer in any way whatsoever that our position is that we want a deck to be stacked -- something about the fact, about those Catholics -- I think that's preposterous. I think that's insulting."

Judge Osowik decided the matter. "It's still a random assignment," he said. "The defendant, having no objection, I'm going to keep it in the order that it was assigned."

NBC24 has the re-dacted list of the Prosecution's witnesses.

Interestingly enough Chet Warren who has been named as one of the other priests involved in abuse by the unidentified woman who sent the four page letter that started the re-opening of this case. Also noted is several of the nuns that are listed as witnesses are either deceased or health reasons will not allow them to testify.

NBC 24 has jumped on the create a banner image for the trial bandwagon.

Fox 36 reports that Court TV is ready to start broadcasting the trial.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Media updates on Murder Trial

Updates on jury selection continuing today.

Highlights from yesterday's jury selection.

CNN their coverage of yesterday.

WTOL has several video pieces to select from including one about the scene of the crime.

WTVG also has several video pieces

NBC24 several pieces including one on what the lawyers are looking for in a jury.

Fox 36 has a short update on yesterday's jury selection.

That's about it at this stage of the trial, which is expected to wrap up Jury selection and begin on Thursday.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Jury Selection begins

A pool of 99 prospective jurors was divided into four groups and each of the jurors was undergoing invidual questioning that lasted between 10 and 20 minutes each.

The judge and attorneys for the Lucas County prosecutor's office and a
team of four defense attorneys asked a number of questions about the
prospective jurors' religious backgrounds and whether they could be
impartial in a case that involves a priest accused of killing a nun.

Three of the first four prospective jurors were Roman Catholics who said
their faith would not prevent them from reaching an impartial decision,
although one woman said she would find it difficult to believe that a
priest could commit a cardinal sin.

I'm assuming the one woman who stated she would find it difficult to believe a priest would commit a cardinal sin will not make it into the final jury pool. While I agree it is troubling that someone who is a priest would not find it necessary to confess (if he is guilty) Priests are still human and they are capable of sin.

According to WTOL one woman has been excused because she stated she would put God's law above man's law. Not sure if that is the same woman as above.

Another priest was named by "Jane Doe"

The Toledo Blade has not mentioned this but Bill Frogameni's article names one of the other priests accused of being involved in the ritual abuse:

This “Jane Doe” letter also names former priest Chet Warren, Barbara Blaine’s abuser. (Blaine is the founder and president of SNAP) On behalf of Warren, the diocese and the Oblates of St. Francis DeSales have paid Blaine and others monetary settlements. Blaine said she can’t recall any ritualistic abuse from Warren, but both she and Vercellotti claim to know at least five alleged victims of Warren who identify such abuse.

Jury Selection begins...Blade's Yonke predicts drama

While I am interested in this case and I am following it as closely as I can, I'm more interested in seeing that the truth is discovered rather than being "entertained":

Thanks to the popular CSI television programs, today's juries expect a show in the courtroom - and prosecutors in the murder trial of the Rev. Gerald Robinson don't plan to let them down.

The prosecution is expected to augment its case with plenty of visuals, including the use of charts, videotapes, and high-tech "smart boards" that integrate the display functions of a laptop computer and an erasable whiteboard.

I can't help wondering how honest people will admit as to the question of bias for or against the Roman Catholic Church. If some of the recent polls in this area are an indication, as well as some of the previous discussion on message boards it's clear there are quite a few people in this area that are anti-Catholic, more than that are vocal about being pro-Catholic. That's one of the downsides to a jury trial for something like this. You have to hope that the jurors will be honest. Given the behavior of several past juries when it comes to cases that are known are going to be high profile I hope this jury is focusing more on the case rather than what type of interview deals they can make after it is over.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

More information on the Father Robinson Murder Trial

The Toledo Blade has an article this morning that outlines the statements of a woman who approached the Church wanting reimbursement for costs related to her therapy necessary because she claims she was abused by several priests several decades ago.

While the Blade article doesn't warn you that her claims are somewhat disturbing, I will warn you...Some of what is below might disturb you:

In the fall of 2003, the victim, now in her mid-40s, delivered a four-page typewritten letter to the Toledo diocese detailing her allegations in hopes that church officials would pay for her therapy bills.

In her testimony, she described being subjected to Satanic ceremonies in which priests placed her in a coffin filled with cockroaches, forced her to eat what she thought was a human eyeball, and penetrated her with a snake “to consecrate these orifices to Satan.”

She also alleged that the group of clerics killed an infant and a 3-year-old child, performed an abortion on her, and chopped up dogs during the rituals.

This was what opened up the cold case investigation into the death of Sister Margaret Ann Pahl because the woman claimed that Father Robinson was one of the priests involved in this. Father Robinson has not been convicted as being a part of that nor charged. Nor have any of the other priests that were claimed to have been involved identified.

John Connors, a former seminarian who retired after 25 years as a police officer, was hired by the Toledo diocese to investigate the woman’s allegations.

“I think she told the truth,” Mr. Connors said flatly this week. “I interviewed her, almost 20 hours’ worth, and I got a pretty good feel for it.”

No one has stated anything about a missing person's report on the three year old or the infant that was claimed to have been killed, nor has much more of John Connor's statement's been covered so I'm not exactly sure how or why he feels she was telling the truth. You would think if two children had also truly been murdered there would have been an attempt to resolve that situation rather than just a claim for monetary damages to reimburse someone for counseling. Even if a person had gone thru something that traumatic why would they focus just on money rather than trying to get some type of justice for a young child and a baby being murdered? That part of I'll never understand, as well as why no other priests were publicly identified.

Not to be graphic, but the whole concept of being penetrated by a snake is a common myth yet logically anyone who has handled a snake knows how difficult that is to even imagine as a possible event. I'm not going to present myself as an expert on Satanic rituals, however, a coffin full of cockroaches is not something you would normally expect, it is more along the lines of the television show Fear Factor which did do that back on March of 2002.

I'm not the only one that finds part of this statement as to be questionable. Religion News Blog has a post on this as well. People do take this seriously, most people do not probably remember that back in 1999 the Government of Kenya took such claims of ritual abuse seriously to the point of establishing a Presidential Commission on Devil Worship.

While slightly off topic, this brings up one of my main issues with the Catholic Church, their willingness to pay off people who claim to be victims which creates the assumption of guilt. While I'm sure in some cases some of these people really have been abused, I am just as certain that some have not been or not to the degree described. Even if every person who claims to have been abused was, you don't make it go away by paying people off, and if there are claims made like this one where children were murdered, something more should have been done. With that amount of killings and bloodshed involving babies, children, dogs, etc., surely even after all of these years some forensic evidence could be located.

This article by New House News contains some information the Blade article does not, including this:

The allegations of dark rituals have aroused interest, and antagonism as well.

"That's just a ... smokescreen," said Dave Davison, a retired Toledo police officer who was the first to see the body.

It is one of the few points of agreement between Davison and retired Deputy Chief Ray Vetter, who was in charge of detectives at the time.

Davison accuses the city's heavily Roman Catholic police department of colluding with the diocese.

Robinson was a suspect from the beginning -- probably the only other point on which the two former cops agree.

"This officer (Davison), he's come up with an awful lot of outlandish stuff," Vetter said in a telephone interview. He agreed there were no signs of any ritual and that Robinson emerged as the main suspect.

The suspect list narrowed down to Robinson "because we didn't have anyone else," and because of his close association with the dead nun, Vetter said. Deception by the priest also heightened suspicion.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Father Robinson Trial starts Monday

Toledo is once again in the headlines for news that isn't necessarily something to be proud of our area for. Most of the local media has already started to focus on the trial with WTOL already taking the lead on capitalizing on this and has a special graphic announcing the trial and have announced that nation wide media including Court TV will be here. A special room for the media has been set up. Gee I wonder if as a blogger I could qualify as media...

There is the Time line for the murder, WTOL has also taken a look at all of the key members of the prosecution and the defense as well as a few of those expected to testify.

If you need further evidence that WTOL is trying to become the "Father Robinson News Source" they even have a poll asking how Toledo residents feel about him wearing his clerical collar to court. Rather ironic given they even refer to him as "Father Robinson" and he is still a priest. I guess the concept that someone is innocent until proven guilty has no bearing on it.

Locally the discussion has been on that topic and the recent escapades of SNAP members Claudia Vercellotti and Jon Schoonmaker who had their attempt to cash in on some publicity almost diminished by a Diocese Staff member ,who refused them entry with the Blade reporter making his bias pretty obvious with this statement:

Ms. Stein stood patiently but impassively, reciting her statements coldly and impersonally.

How dare Ms. Stein try to stop them from their moment in the cameras. Realistically Claudia got more mileage from the "rejection" and one can't help but wondering what is wrong with the postal service or the many other services out there that will deliver letters with proof of delivery. If the real intent was to deliver a letter rather than to be infront of the cameras...

Is Father Robinson guilty? I have no idea, but I am willing to do something really unique these days. Not pre-decide because he is still innocent at this point. Many things don't make sense about this and the harder those out there try to pre-determine his guilt the more I decide there is more to this. Will that come out thru this trial or will it end up being like so many other cases that the truth is never known.

That's what we will find out in the days to come. Yes, I'll continue to post about the trial, and update as more happens. I guess the one "detective" who was posting all over the local blogs earlier this year claiming that this case would never make it to trial because they would make some kind of a deal that allowed Father Robinson to walk was wrong. Let's hope the rest of the trial is based on more reliable information than what he claimed was a certainty.

As a full disclosure...I am Catholic and I don't have a lot of admiration for those who have tried to destroy the Church rather than focus on the victims. Priests who abuse children should be punished, the same as the larger numbers of abusers of children should be. So, if you are one of those that feels that all or a majority of Priests are pedophiles and you "know" Father Robinson is guilty? You probably won't like my blog coverage.


However, even though this site focuses on "Clergy Ritual Abuse" even titling the webpage this information is listed on with "Priests of Darkness". It does contain a lot of the information from the Toledo Blade and other sources for those looking for more background information.

Also worth pointing out the Toledo Blade reporter, David Yonke has an upcoming book on this case. Which is due to be released in September. I'm sure he'd appreciate the publicity.