Wednesday, Jun 20, 2018
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Priest's first day behind bars spent in processing, visits

Gerald Robinson was treated like other inmates during his booking at the Lucas County jail: patted down, fingerprinted, and photographed.

There were even catcalls from other inmates near the booking desk. Nothing nasty, jail officials said, just people recognizing who he was and asking, "Did you do it?"

Robinson is in cell No. 9 on the second-floor medical area. As a precaution, he is under a "strict code 1," which is for suicidal inmates or those who may cause physical harm to themselves or others. Jail authorities check on him within every 10 minutes, and he is not allowed linens, towels, or shoestrings.

"We do that for a lot of people who are sentenced and are new to the criminal justice system," said Jim O'Neal, corrections administrator.

Robinson, 68, was found guilty by a jury Thursday in the 1980 Holy Saturday slaying of Sister Margaret Ann Pahl, who was choked and stabbed 31 times in the Mercy Hospital sacristy.

In his first day in jail as a convicted felon, Robinson was assessed and had a noncontact visit with his brother. He is not eligible for another family visit until Tuesday. He put seven people, including his brother, sister-in-law, nephew, and aunt, on his visitor list.

Mr. O'Neal said the Rev. Bernard Boff and one of Robinson's defense attorneys, John Callahan, visited with the priest yesterday. Another defense attorney, Alan Konop, said he also visited with Robinson.

"He's doing as well as can be expected, but it's a very, very difficult situation," Mr. Konop said. He added that he is concerned about Robinson's health but declined to elaborate. Robinson had not left his cell for the day-use area, where there is a television, by midafternoon.

His cell is similar to the others in the jail: five or six feet by eight feet, concrete walls, built-in cot, toilet, and sink. There's a steel door with a window and food slot and a window with slats on the back wall, jail officials said.

Robinson has a notepad, writing tools, a hygiene kit with hotel-size toiletries, and is believed to have a paperback Bible, said Aaron Nolan, forensic counselor. Robinson is not allowed to have a Rosary. "Today he's been subdued and very respectful," Mr. Nolan said yesterday.

Robinson will stay in the jail until he is taken by bus to the state's Correctional Reception Center in Orient, southwest of Columbus.

There he will undergo multiple screenings, reviews, and assessments, including medical, mental health, family history, and the type of programming that will be focused on during incarceration, said Andrea Dean, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

She said the process can take four to five weeks. Until it is done, it will not be known which prison will house Robinson.

Ms. Dean said an inmate is sent to a particular prison not because of the crime of which he has been convicted but rather based on the assessment.

Ms. Dean said Robinson's age and where his relatives reside could play a role in where he's sent; several prisons are geared toward older inmates.

Blade religion editor David Yonke contributed to this report.

Contact Christina Hall at:

or 419-724-6007.

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