May 13, 2006

Abuse Scandal Has Changed View of Priests

San Francisco Chronicle

By JOHN SEEWER, Associated Press Writer

Saturday, May 13, 2006

(05-13) 10:51 PDT Toledo, Ohio (AP) --

Few people dared to say anything bad about priests in 1980, when Sister Margaret Ann Pahl was found stabbed to death in a hospital chapel. Even when the hospital's chaplain emerged as the only suspect, witnesses were reluctant to implicate the priest.

But the sex abuse scandal that has since swept through the Roman Catholic Church has changed the way people view clergy.

"Times are very different in many ways," Lucas County Prosecutor Julia Bates said after the Rev. Gerald Robinson was convicted last week of murdering the nun 26 years after her death.

Prosecutors reminded jurors of that in their final arguments, telling them it would have been difficult right after Pahl's death to convince a jury that a priest was capable of murder.

"All the scandals that have occurred have certainly changed the climate," Chris Anderson, an assistant prosecutor, said after the verdict. "People still hold priests in high reverence, but this may change things."

Posted by kshaw at May 13, 2006 01:53 PM