OH- At funeral, Catholic official insults jurors, judge, police & prosecutors
For immediate release: Friday, July 11, 2014
Today, Toledo's top Catholic official needlessly and callously raised doubts about whether police, prosecutors, jurors and a judge wrongfully convicted a priest of murdering a nun.
Whether Fr. Robinson carried “a burden of guilt or a burden of a miscarriage of justice, I do not know,” said Fr. Charles Ritter.
Fr. Ritter could have said nothing about the unanimous jury verdict. Out of respect for crime victims, and for the family of Sr. Margaret Ann Pahl, he could have avoided speculating about Fr. Robinson's guilt or innocence. But he chose to make hurtful remarks rather than compassionate remarks.
No justice system is flawless. But very few believe that Fr. Robinson was innocent. Remember, from the outset, Fr. Robinson lied: At first claimed that someone else confessed to the murder. Later, he admitted that that was not true. (Did a single Toledo cleric discipline or denounce Fr. Robinson for lying to police? Nope.)
Fr. Robinson was the leading murder suspect from day one. He very likely would have been convicted and imprisoned decades ago - and considerable fear would have been lifted from the shoulders of many - if a top Toledo Catholic official, Msgr. Jerome Schmit, hadn't deliberately interfered with a police investigation. (Did a single Toledo cleric discipline or denounce Msgr. Schmit for obstructing justice? Nope.)
Church officials say Fr. Robinson's appeals had not been exhausted. They don't mention, however, that most of those appeals were based on technicalities, like the fact that years passed between the crime and the conviction. Again, however, that was the direct fault of Toledo Catholic officials who acted improperly.
For a week now, Toledo Catholic officials hurt and insulted crime victims and Sr. Pahl's family. Now, one of them added police, prosecutors, jurors and a judge to the list of those they have been smeared, all because these clerics selfishly wanted to bury one of their own with full honors.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 18,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.