In 2006, retired Roman Catholic priest Gerald Robinson was convicted of murdering of Sister Margaret Ann Pahl on April 5, 1980 in Toledo, Ohio.

Robinson strangled and stabbed Pahl 31 times-- including nine stab wounds in the shape of an inverted cross-- and presided at her funeral Mass four days after murdering her. Prosecutors said the stab wound shape was deliberate and intended to humiliate Pahl in death. Pahl was found covered in an altar cloth with her clothes and body arranged in a way that suggested she had been raped (but it wasn't clear if she had been).

Father Robinson was arrested in 1980 but not charged after Deputy Police Chief and practicing Catholic Ray Vetter, in violation of police procedure, stopped detectives from questioning Father Robinson and allowed a monsignor to escort him out of Police Headquarters. Vetter also made the detectives turn over their reports on the murder case, some of which vanished and were never seen again.

Robinson remained free for the next 23 years, until in 2003 another woman reported to police that Father Robinson had ritualistically raped her when she was a child. The 1980 murder case was re-opened and this time the investigation of Father Robinson as a murder suspect was allowed to proceed. The cleric was tried, convicted and sentenced to 15 years to life in 2006. (Source)

Now, after remaining free for 23 years and just 8 years into his sentence, Robinson wants to be released from prison. He suffered a heart attack in May and is not expected to live another two months. He asked to die in the home and care of his family. U.S. District Judge James Gwin refused, ruling that a convicted person has no right to be conditionally released before the expiration of a valid sentence. Robinson's only alternative is a request to the governor for clemency. (Source)

It's infuriating to think of this man using the trusted position of the clergy as a cover for murder, and of a high ranking law enforcement official all but becoming an accessory to the crime over what appears to be religious sympathies. Not even the ending of this case-- where Robinson dies behind bars after serving a relatively short stint-- offers much satisfaction. Robinson's best days were behind him long before he ever set foot in prison. Any way you look at this, Father Robinson gets off easy for what he has done.

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This is brings tears to my eyes. Too many people, clergy or not, get away with horendous crimes. It makes me very sad.
The police chief should have been charged with aiding and abetting or with accessory after the fact or at least with destroying evidence. He should be in jail too. As for the priest, let him spend his last days seeing his family, through an inch of plexiglass.


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