Abuse Lawsuit Dismissed against Priest Convicted of Killing Nun

By Neil Relyea
January 17, 2007

Toledo, Ohio (AP) -- A judge on Wednesday dismissed a civil lawsuit in which a woman accused a Roman Catholic priest -- convicted in a separate case last year of killing a nun -- of taking part in ritual abuse ceremonies nearly 40 years ago.

Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Ruth Ann Franks granted a motion to dismiss the case filed on behalf of the Rev. Gerald Robinson, the Catholic Diocese of Toledo and others named in the suit, WNWO-TV reported on its Web site.

In the lawsuit, the woman, who was not identified, claimed that Robinson and other clergy members tortured and raped her as a young girl in a church basement.

Robinson's attorneys have denied the woman's claims.

In a separate criminal case, Robinson, 68, was found guilty on May 11 of choking and stabbing Sister Margaret Ann Pahl in 1980.

He was sentenced to a mandatory term of 15 years to life in prison.

Robinson's attorney, John Thebes, told WNWO that the motion to dismiss the civil lawsuit was based on the statute of limitations that a suit must be filed within a specified number of years.

At the time the suit was filed in 2005, the statute of limitations was two years after an alleged victim turned 18.

The Legislature has since extended the statute to 12 years after the victim turns 18.

"Too much time elapsed and, essentially, barred the ... case because of time," Thebes said. "So the court, at least in this case, really had no choice but to follow the law, which clearly said this case should be dismissed."

Thebes did not return a message from The Associated Press.

A message seeking comment also was left late Wednesday for diocese spokeswoman Sally Oberski.

In the lawsuit, the woman 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.

She said the molestation took place from 1968 to 1975.

In a court motion against the dismissal, the woman said she did not know the Rev. Gerald Robinson's name until she saw him on television in 2004 after he was charged in the nun's killing.

The motion argued that the time period for when she could file the lawsuit did not begin until she knew her abuser's identity.

Other defendants in the lawsuit were St. Adalbert Parish and School, the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales and Gerald Mazuchowski, a former lay minister.

The woman said she identified Mazuchowski after seeing his photograph in the newspaper. Mazuchowski, a retired schoolteacher, denied the allegations.


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