February 21, 2005

Police investigate alleged cult rituals by Ohio priests

Beacon Journal

Associated Press

TOLEDO - An investigation into a Roman Catholic nun's slaying 24 years ago has broadened with authorities now probing accusations that children were molested and raped by priests in ritual services decades ago, The Blade reported.

Spurred by leads that emerged since the arrest of the Rev. Gerald Robinson in the death of Sister Margaret Ann Pahl, police have searched an abandoned house in Lucas County where people reportedly took part in abuse ceremonies, the newspaper reported.

The newspaper said detectives have been looking for evidence of cult gatherings in church attics and basements and have talked with religious experts on occult groups and church history. They also have interviewed the founder of a secret fraternity whose members dressed in nuns' clothing.

Prosecutors said they will continue to investigate, but trying to substantiate claims from so long ago is difficult. Police have not linked any ritual abuse to the 66-year-old Robinson, prosecutors said.

The Blade reported that its investigation, based on hundreds of police and diocese records and interviews, showed that prosecutors are still studying details of Pahl's slaying, including a pattern of stab wounds resembling a cross.

The nun was found April 5, 1980, in the sacristy of Mercy Hospital in 1980. She had been strangled and repeatedly stabbed, her body posed to look like she was sexually assaulted.

Posted by kshaw at February 21, 2005 06:21 AM