Robinson's Accuser Appeals Dismissal of Her Civil Lawsuit
March 13, 2007
A Lucas County Common Pleas Court judge's ruling to dismiss the civil lawsuit filed against Gerald Robinson accusing him and others of repeatedly torturing and raping a young girl in ritual abuse ceremonies was appealed yesterday.
Mark Davis, the attorney representing the woman who filed the suit anonymously with her husband as Survivor Doe and Spouse Doe, filed an appeal in the Ohio 6th District Court of Appeals, saying that Judge Ruth Ann Franks erred when she dismissed the case Jan. 18.
Judge Franks dismissed the case because she claimed it was filed after the five-year statute of limitations.
Specifically, he said that the judge failed to consider that his client was not able to identify her alleged abusers at the time of the assaults, but was able to identify them years later.
"Our case, Survivor Doe's case, is fundamentally different than any other because our client didn't know who the abusers were," he said yesterday.
"She recognized the eyes of Father Robinson when he was arrested," he added. "For that reason, she filed within a year of the incident that triggered memory of the event."
In the original civil complaint filed in April, 2005, the woman alleged that she was the victim of sexual abuse and torture during ritualistic ceremonies in the basement of a North Toledo Catholic church in the 1960s and 1970s.
She said she recognized Robinson as one of the abusers after he was arrested in March, 2004, for the 1980 slaying of Sister Margaret Ann Pahl in a chapel at the former Mercy Hospital.
Robinson, 68, was convicted of murder May 11 in Common Pleas Court and is serving a 15-years-to-life sentence in the Hocking Correctional Institution in southeast Ohio.
The woman, who is in her 40s, also claimed in the civil suit that Robinson, Gerald Mazuchowski, and other adults wearing nun's clothing cut her with a knife, drew an upside-down cross on her stomach, and forced her to drink the blood of a rabbit they had killed.
Her suit claimed the abuse began in 1968, when she was 5 years old, and continued until 1975, and that her own mother was close with Robinson and Mr. Mazuchowski, participated in the rituals, and was becoming a "high priestess of Satan."
In the appeal filed yesterday, Mr. Davis argued that the statute of limitations does not set in until the identity of the attacker is known.
He added that the plaintiff did not know the identity of her abusers until April 24, 2004.
The appeal also states that Judge Frank's decision disregarded the plaintiff's "repressed memories" and that the judge erred when she found that the plaintiff should have known her abusers through "reasonable diligence."
"Quite simply, if the prosecutors and the police, with all the powers of the state, could not catch Robinson for more than 20 years, a private citizen should not be expected to have conducted better 'reasonable diligence,'•" the appeal states.
Attorney Tom Pletz, who represents the Diocese of Toledo and St. Adalbert's Church, both defendants, had not yet seen the appeal. Mr. Pletz noted that he does not represent Robinson.
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