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Published: Thursday, 4/21/2005

Priest named in lawsuit that alleges ritual abuse

BY MARK REITER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A Toledo Roman Catholic diocesan priest charged in the 1980 slaying of a nun was accused yesterday in a civil lawsuit of repeatedly torturing and raping a young girl in ritual abuse ceremonies at a north-side church.

An unidentified woman claims she was the victim of bizarre demonizing ceremonies conducted by the Rev. Gerald Robinson and other clergy nearly 40 years ago in the basement of St. Adalbert Parish on Warsaw Street.

The woman and her husband, who are listed as Survivor Doe and Spouse Doe, respectively, filed the lawsuit in Lucas County Common Pleas Court.

Father Robinson, who is scheduled to go on trial in October for the aggravated murder of Sister Margaret Ann Pahl; Gerald Mazuchowski, a former lay minister; the diocese; St. Adalbert Parish; the Oblates of St. Francis De Sales, Inc., and fifteen "John Does" were named as defendants.

Sister Margaret Ann, 71, was strangled, then stabbed up to 32 times April 5, 1980, in what has been described as a ritualistic slaying in the sacristy of a chapel in the former Mercy Hospital. Father Robinson is free on a $400,000 property bond.

The civil lawsuit filed yesterday was assigned to Judge Ruth Ann Franks.

The couple who filed the suit is seeking in excess of $25,000 in compensatory damages.

The woman said she recognized Father Robinson as being among the men who allegedly molested her from 1968 to 1975 upon the priest's arrest in April, 2004, for the murder of the nun, and the subsequent media attention that was generated by the case, specifically a television broadcast on the investigation that aired April 23, 2004.

"Until that time, she didn't know that one of the abusers was Father Robinson," said Mark A. Davis, a Toledo attorney who filed the lawsuit.

She also claims that she identified Mr. Mazuchowski as an alleged abuser after seeing his photograph as part of an article that was published in The Blade on Feb. 20 that reported on the murder investigation and ritual abuse ceremonies involving church clergy.

Mr. Davis said the newspaper report in which Mr. Mazuchowski's admitted his involvement with the group know as Sisters of Assumed Mary, or SAM, stirred memories of conversations in which she recalled her abusers using names of women.

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.

In addition to being raped and molested, the woman also alleges that she was forced to perform sexual acts on the men.

She said the abuse escalated dramatically as the sessions continued ,to the point of including putting lighted matches to her feet and the corner of her eyes.

She said the abuse took place in the basement of the church until 1972 when it was moved to an undisclosed wooded area.

The lawsuit contends that Father 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."

Mr. Mazuchowski, a retired Toledo Public Schools teacher, denied the allegations made by the woman and claimed in an interview last night he never was intimate with a woman. "That is what makes it so amusing to me. I have never been in any shape or form involved with a woman," he said, adding that he would testify to that if the case would proceed to trial.

Toledo attorney Alan Konop, speaking on behalf of Father Robinson's criminal defense team, read a statement: "We do not believe that the allegations deserve the dignity of a reply."

Thomas Pletz, an attorney representing the diocese, said he was not aware of the lawsuit, and could not offer a comment.

Contact Mark Reiter at:

markreiter@theblade.com

or 419-213-2134.



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