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.


Anonymous said...

Interesting conflicts there. In his opening argument, Konop did say there would be differences in the stories we'd be hearing, from back then versus now.

About the woman who saw the man getting off the elevator. I've been wondering why she isn't on the witness list.

Also (I think I'm remembering this correctly, but I'm not 100% positive): wasn't there a composite sketch of the elevator man and wasn't it published in the Blade shortly after the murder?

If so, have you see it -- and is there any way you can lead me to a place where I can see it?

Lisa Renee said...

I don't have it, I like you remember seeing one but I haven't found a source for it yet. Only thing I can suggest is if you are in this area is to go to the downtown branch of the Toledo Library and see if they have it on file. It would have had to have been later in the week after the murder since Karen Raszka went to the police two days after the murder. I am planning on making another trip down there, if you do before I can? Let me know.

It states in the May 13 2004 article about this:

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.

The stranger was well-dressed, she said, remembering his beige, camel's hair sport coat.

She said she never saw the man before or since.

"I didn't know him, I was not familiar with him from either the school or the hospital," Mrs. Raszka said.

"The only thing I know for sure is that Father Robinson is not the man I saw that morning," she said.

She knew Father Robinson, the hospital's chaplain, from attending services in Mercy's chapel and from seeing the priest around the building.

The door the stranger walked through was either a rest room for the nuns or the office of the nun who at the time was the hospital's director of public relations, according to police.

After Mrs. Raszka walked further down the hall, she said she turned and saw that the man was still watching her.

A police artist drew a sketch of the man based on her description, she said.

Anonymous said...

Still watching her? Brrrrr....

Did you see wtol.com has a report saying the trial won't resume Wednesday? Something about witness scheduling problems. It'll be back on track come Thursday.

Anonymous said...

Isn't Chet Warren to be called as a witness? That indeed should be interesting! If you want to see some really tragic results of his behaviour just Google Chet Warren and read the avalanche, which the Oblates do not own up to!!!

Pat O'Brien said...

TV commentators on this case frequently mention that Robinson stated that he had heard the confession of the real murderer but that he then retracted that claim. Those raising this point usually do it to support their opinion that Robinson was lying. I think that this episode could be evidence that he may be telling the truth. He may indeed have heard the confession of the real killer and under pressure of the police interview blurted out that fact. He may have then and subsequently realized that he had broken the "seal of the confession" and retracted the story and no longer claimed it even to save himself from prison. I have no idea if he is guilty or not but the story about the claim and retraction could be viewed as suppporting his fealty to the priesthood.

Of all the murder trials of which I am aware, this conviction has been obtained with the flimiest evidence. I think that it demonstrates how deeply the priesthood has been hurt by the sexual abuse revelations and the Church's complicity in covering up these abuses.

Lisa Renee said...

Pat, that is an interesting point and does make more sense than what some of us have discussed as it being possible it happened because of the stress of the hours upon hours of questioning.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for pointing out that there is a difference between witchcraft and Satanism. It would be ridiculous to bring Lady Circe's name into this crime. She had nothing to do with Christians. To quote her (as best I can remember): "One must be a Christian to be a Satanist. Wiccans are not Christian and therefore do not believe in Satan."