TOLEDO (AP) — A woman says in a lawsuit that a Roman Catholic priest accused of killing a nun in 1980 took part in ritual abuse ceremonies with other clergy members. The woman, who was not identified, said in the lawsuit filed Wednesday that she was tortured and raped as a young girl in a church basement nearly 40 years ago.
She said the Rev. Gerald Robinson was among those who abused her. Robinson was charged a year ago in the killing of Sister Margaret Ann Pahl during Easter weekend in 1980 in what police said appeared to be a ritualistic slaying. He is scheduled to go on trial in October.
Robinson’s attorney, Alan Konop, said the woman’s lawsuit and her allegations did not “deserve the dignity of a reply.” Police detectives investigating the nun’s slaying already have looked into claims that children were abused by priests in ritual services decades ago, but found no evidence that it happened. Police also were not been able to link any ritual abuse to Robinson.
Four women told detectives about being abused between the late 1960s and 1986 during cult-like ceremonies involving altars and men dressed in robes, according to the newspaper. Mark A. Davis, the attorney for the woman who filed the lawsuit, said Thursday that she has had brief contact with police. He does not think they have investigated her claims.
He said his client does not have any additional evidence. “At this point, it’s her accusations and her memories,” Davis said. “She’s worked with therapists and has some very vivid and powerful recollections.”
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Davis said the woman was timid about coming forward. “She feels it’s her duty and perhaps it will be helpful to others,” he said. He said she has not had any contact with Toledo Diocese. In the lawsuit, she said the group cut her with a knife as part of a sacrifice, drew an upside-down cross on her stomach and held lit matches to her feet and her eyes. The woman said she recognized Robinson as being among the men who allegedly molested her from 1968 to 1975 after the priest’s arrest last year.
Other defendants in the lawsuit filed in Lucas County Common Pleas include Gerald Mazuchowski, a former lay minister, the Toledo Diocese and St. Adalbert Parish. The woman said she identified Mazuchowski after seeing his photograph in the newspaper. Mazuchowski, a retired schoolteacher, denied the allegations.
The Diocese of Toledo released a statement late Thursday. It said:
“A civil lawsuit was filed in the Lucas County Common Pleas Court on April 20, 2005 naming the Diocese of Toledo, Father Gerald Robinson and St. Adalbert Parish among the defendants. It appears to be unrelated to the pending criminal case against Father Robinson. The Diocese will continue to respect the legal interests of all concerned, and pending investigation of the new allegations in this civil case, will have no comment.”
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