April 12, 2006

An Ohio Community Hopes for Closure in Nun's Brutal Slaying

Los Angeles Times

By P.J. Huffstutter, Times Staff Writer
April 12, 2006

TOLEDO, Ohio Surrounded by shade trees at the convent at Our Lady of the Pines, the grave of Sister Margaret Ann Pahl is marked by a small granite tombstone inscribed with the simple message, "May She Rest in Peace."

There is no indication of the turmoil and angst that have surrounded Pahl's gruesome 1980 slaying. It led to the 2004 arrest of Father Gerald Robinson, 67, a popular Roman Catholic priest who helped preside over Pahl's funeral Mass, on charges of strangling and stabbing her to death.

As jury selection begins Monday in Robinson's murder trial, residents say they will spend their Easter weekend bracing for a courtroom drama that has been 26 years in the making.

Some hope for closure in a saga that has long pained this community, where one out of every four people is Catholic and neighborhoods are often referred to by the name of the local parish.

The case has been pulled into the ongoing controversy surrounding the Catholic Church's handling of sex abuse allegations against its priests. Questions also have been raised about whether the Toledo Police Department helped the church cover up old crimes or intentionally looked the other way.

Posted by kshaw at April 12, 2006 08:17 AM