May 11, 2006

Father Robinson Verdict - "GUILTY"

Left: Father Gerald Robinson, courtesy of

(Toledo, OH) The jury has announced that it has reached a verdict in the trial of Father Gerald Robinson, who is accused of murdering Sister Margaret Ann Pahl in 1980.


Judge Thomas Osowik immediately imposed a sentence of 15 years to life on the priest.

Court TV reported that Claudia Vercellotti, a leader in SNAP (Survivor's Network of those Abused by Priests), told Father Gerald Robinson as he was led away: "I hope you rot in Hell."

Jurors in the case deliberated for about four hours Wednesday after nine days of testimony, and returned for another two hours of deliberation today. They informed Judge Osowik that they preferred not to talk with the media.

For those looking for good coverage and analysis of the tial, I recommend Toledo blogger Lisa Renee Ward's new site. She has been following the case closely for some time now, and has collected one of the best resource sites around.

Addendum, 5:23 pm: Bill Frogameni, a local freelance writer covering the story for Reuters, has a different version of the "rot in Hell" comment than what was quoted on Court TV:

After the verdict was read, one of Robinson's supporters left the court in tears. She turned to Claudia Vercellotti, a local leader of the Survivors Network for Those Abused by Priests, who had helped reopen the case, and told her, "I hope you rot in hell!"

Bill has been covering this case for years, and was in the courtroom today, so I trust what he writes far more than the comments of the Court TV pundits in New York.


Anonymous said...

Good. Maybe we can get back to reality here in Toledo now.

Anonymous said...

How could a man of cloth kill someone, especially an old nun? What a sick, sick piece of scum.

historymike said...

Agreed, anonymous #1.

Anonymous #2 - Only two people REALLY know what happened in that chapel, and one of them is dead.

I just trust that the jury system has worked in this case.

Anonymous said...

Are you kidding me? How can you sit back and watch an innocent man go to jail????

Lisa Renee said...

I'm glad I didn't hear that comment, wishing someone to rot in hell isn't appropriate. I thought the cheering was questionable behavior.

That's the downside to part of this case though is the resulting extra things people have tried to drag into it that have nothing to do with the murder of Sister Margaret Ann Pahl. Father Robinson was not being charged or tried for any suspected sexual abuse.

historymike said...

Agreed, Lisa. The prosecutors made the right call in keeping the focus on the murder case, and not dragging in speculation about satanic ritual abuse (SRA), which has largely been debunked by experts in criminal justice, psychology, religion, sociology, and just about everyone with two feet firmly planted in reality.

Have there been pedophiles in the priesthood who carried out terrible crimes against children?


Are there covens of satanists hiding in the Catholic Church practicing ritual abuse and sacrifice?

I highly doubt it.

I also find ludicrous the whole premise of an underground network of Satan worshippers who abduct, abuse, and kill sacrificial victims.

Then again, I could be a well-placed mouthpiece for the Satanist conspiracy who is just spreading disinformation.


Lisa Renee said...

Then I guess that would make me Satan's helper too since I have an issue with quite a bit of what has been claimed in regard to the whole Satanic ritual scenario as well.


historymike said...

(gives Lisa a virtual secret Satan handshake)

Anonymous said...

Court TV has Robinson's sister-in-law making the remark to Vercilloti?

Calico Jack said...

I was inclined to believe Robinson was guilty, mainly due to his association with Sparagowski. As Mike points out, we’ll never know for sure unless the murderer confesses to the crime, and that’s about as likely as the Mike and Lisa Satanic Cult kidnapping me for a virgin sacrifice.

I didn’t witness the trial first hand, but the evidence against Robinson had to be pretty good to get a conviction, especially after all this time. I wonder what other associated crimes are going unnoticed in this case.

The only cult that I ever heard of that actually abducted and transported people around the country was the Jehovah’s Witness cult or religion. The case that was discovered involved a divorce, where the non-member got custody of the kids and the member kidnapped them. The Jehovah’s Witnesses provided support across the country and hid the kids from the non-member. The kids finally turned up in Colorado somewhere, and a bunch of Jehovah’s Witnesses got thrown in the hoosegow on RICO charges. Nice group, huh?

Calico Jack said...

Then again, I could be a well-placed mouthpiece for the Satanist conspiracy who is just spreading disinformation.

I doubt it. For one thing, they don't pay that well.

Lisa Renee said...

It's been announced that they will file an appeal.

Lisa Renee said...

(Lisa smacks Mike for admitting there is a secret handshake)


Anonymous said...

For those who are interested in documenting the growing magnitude of this case, the New York Times Online( is now running the AP's verdict article on their front page. As a former Toledoan, this sort of national publicity is rare for the Glass City; it's a shame that it isn't for something less harrowing.

historymike said...

Agreed, anonymous, and thanks for the link.

Between the Robinson, Tom Noe, Muslim terrorists, and Bob McCloskey court cases, the only news coming out of Toledo lately has been high-profile criminal cases.

Name withheld to protect the guilty said...

Oh, come on now, there's TomKat's baby. Oh wait, it wasn't born here. Never mind. It's only the local TV treating that as if it's local news...

Anonymous said...

I hope that the next chapter in this story focuses on how over 20 years ago a suspect in a murder investigation was released with a Deputy Chief Vetter's approval to a monsignor. When the police questioned him the interrogation was cut short and the suspect was released to his priest? He wasn't released to his lawyer. He was released to his priest. Amazing!

I'm also thinking that they should investigate the current church officials for only releasing 3 pages of Robinson documents and then having to get 2 search warrants to get almost 150 more pages.

liberal_dem said...

I understand that there were 3 disclosures about Robinson after the verdict which were announced on Court TV. These were not made public before the trial:

1.) in 2003 a NUN claimed she had been assaulted in a Satanic ritual with Robinson;

2.) police discovered 500 photographs in his apartment of corpses in coffins;

3.) they confiscated a Satanic ritual book.


Anonymous said...

On CNN last night they said it was a pamphlet and not a book. They also mentioned the photos.They made no mention of another accusation by a nun, although like mentioned Fr. Robinson's name has been linked to sexual assult cases. After all, thats why they started to reinvestigate him in the first place.

Hooda Thunkit said...

Don't you just love the "accuracy," or maybe I should say the LACK of it, from some of the reporting sources?

That discrepancy is appalling!


I'm sure though, that a clarification/correction will soon be forthcoming...