An attorney for a Toledo woman who claims she was sexually and ritually abused as a child by members of a satanic cult - including Gerald Robinson, the Toledo priest convicted of murdering a nun - is asking the Ohio 6th District Court of Appeals to reinstate her case a second time.
Attorney Mark Davis, representing the woman suing anonymously as Survivor Doe, claims that Judge Ruth Ann Franks of Lucas County Common Pleas Court misinterpreted Ohio's statute of limitations laws.
He also asserts that the judge unfairly denied him access to diocesan files and witnesses needed to prove his case, while granting attorneys for Robinson and the diocese "exhaustive and unlimited" access to Survivor Doe's "entire life, searching through every medical record, every school record, and every page of her personal journal" and allowing them to interview "as many witnesses as they wanted."
Attorneys for the diocese argued that the statutes of limitations had expired long before Survivor Doe filed her suit in 2005.
Mr. Davis also claims that another defendant, Gerald Mazuchowski of Toledo, blackmailed the diocese into keeping the satanic cult secret. It said Mr. Mazuchowski founded a "cult" called Sisters of Assumed Mary in which men dressed as nuns, used fake names such as "Mary Jerry" and "Carrie Jerry," and abused Survivor Doe and others in satanic rituals.
The suit alleges that Mr. Mazuchowski went before the
Toledo diocese's Court of Equity and "made some statements that shook them to their very foundations," after which church officials "buried the Sisters of Assumed Mary in the secret files to protect the priests who were homosexuals."
Tom Pletz, an attorney representing the diocese, said yesterday he had not received a copy of the appeal and could not comment on the filing. He did say that the diocese provided more than 300 pages of documents to Mr. Davis. He also cited an opinion by Judge Franks that focused discovery requests in the case to information related to statutes of limitations.
Mr. Mazuchowski, 58, yesterday denied all of Survivor Doe's allegations and said Mr. Davis "is determined to make something out of nothing."
He said the Sisters of Assumed Mary was nothing but an informal, harmless organization - "just a group of friends who were into nuns and their culture" - that never abused anyone.
He said he does not know who Survivor Doe is because of her protected identity "although she said she sees me everywhere, including driving by her house - and I don't even have a car."
The appeal filed yesterday gives grisly details of abuses alleged to have occurred starting in 1968.
It said Survivor Doe, now in her mid-40s, was sexually abused as a child by a brother, an uncle, and male and female friends of her mother, and that her mother "gave Doe to the satanic cult to abuse."
The suit said the cult "raped" the child with a snake, made her drink blood, and forced her to watch animals being beheaded.
It said the abuse by Robinson "caused the worst psychological wounds" because of "his primary relationship to God."
In Survivor Doe's initial suit, filed in Lucas County Common Pleas Court in April, 2005, she claimed that she had not known the identity of the abusers because they wore nun disguises and used fake names, and that she had repressed many memories because they were so painful.
She said she began recalling bits and pieces of the abuse during 15 years of therapy, and was prescribed Vicodin to ease the physical pain associated with recalling the memories.
Survivor Doe said that when she saw Gerald Robinson on television after his arrest for murder in April, 2004, "that put all the pieces together." She also said she recognized Mr. Mazuchowski after seeing his photo in The Blade.
The suit was dismissed by Judge Ruth Ann Franks in January, 2007, on statutes of limitations grounds. Survivor Doe then petitioned the Ohio 6th District Court of Appeals, which sent her case back to common pleas court in October, 2007.
Judge Franks dismissed the suit a second time on Jan. 12, going into greater detail on statutes of limitations and saying that Ohio law required Survivor Doe to have used "reasonable diligence" to try to identify her abusers before the statutes expired.
Mr. Davis said in yesterday's appeal that Survivor Doe tried as best she could, but was limited because of her partial memories and because she was "scared to death" of the perpetrators, who threatened to kill her if she talked.
The suit was filed within a year after Survivor Doe claims to have recognized Robinson as her abuser, which is the moment the statutes of limitations should have begun ticking, according to Mr. Davis.
Robinson, 71, was convicted by a Lucas County Common Pleas Court jury in May, 2006, in the 1980 murder of Sister Margaret Ann Pahl. He is serving a 15-years-to-life prison sentence. He remains a Catholic priest although he retired in 2005 and has been barred from ministry.
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