The civil lawsuit filed against Gerald Robinson that accused him and others of repeatedly torturing and raping a young girl in ritual abuse ceremonies at a North Toledo church was dismissed yesterday.
Judge Ruth Ann Franks of Lucas County Common Pleas Court granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss the suit and ordered the plaintiffs, listed as Survivor Doe and Spouse Doe, to pay court costs, according to court records.
The defendants listed in the suit, which was filed in April, 2005, included Robinson, a Toledo priest who was convicted last year of murdering a Roman Catholic nun on April 5, 1980; Gerald Mazuchowski, a former lay minister; the Catholic Diocese of Toledo; St. Adalbert Parish; the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales Inc., and 15 “John Does.”
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The motion to dismiss the lawsuit was written by Tom Pletz, attorney for the diocese, and was based on an Ohio Supreme Court decision that said “these types of cases are just too old, essentially,” said John Thebes, who represented Robinson in the civil case.
The Supreme Court case “tied the hands of the court,” Mr. Thebes said. “[Judge Franks] almost had to grant the motion.
“I’m not surprised, given the case law,” Mr. Thebes said.
The unidentified woman said she was the victim of bizarre demonizing ceremonies conducted by Robinson and other clergy nearly 40 years ago in the basement of St. Adalbert on Warsaw Street.
The couple who filed the suit sought in excess of $25,000 in compensatory damages.
The woman said she recognized Robinson following his arrest in April, 2004, for the murder of Sister Margaret Ann Pahl as being among the men whom Survivor Doe accused of molesting her from 1968 to 1975.
The woman said the abuse included chanting of Satanic verses, cutting her with a knife as a sacrifice to Satan, drawing an upside-down cross on her abdomen, and forcing her to drink the blood of sacrificed animals, such as a rabbit.
She said the men dressed in nun’s clothing and performed the rituals while she was on a table. They restrained her if she tried to leave, she said.
In addition to being allegedly raped and molested, the woman contended she was forced to perform sexual acts on the men.
She said the abuse took place in the church’s basement until 1972, when it was moved to an undisclosed wooded area.
The lawsuit contended that Robinson and Mr. Mazuchowski “had a close relationship with Survivor Doe’s mother, who also participated in the ceremonies in the woods and was becoming high priestess of Satan.”
Robinson was convicted in May by a county Common Pleas Court jury for the stabbing and strangulation murder of Sister Margaret Ann the day before Easter in 1980.
Robinson was sentenced by Judge Thomas Osowik to 15 years to life in prison and is serving that time at the Hocking Correctional Institution in Nelsonville, Ohio.
“I think it now allows Father [Robinson] and his family and the fellow lawyers to focus on what is important – the appeal” of his murder conviction, Mr. Thebes said.