Grand Jury Indicts Priest on Murder Charge

TOLEDO -- A Lucas County grand jury has indicted a Roman Catholic priest on an aggravated murder charge in the slaying of a nun 24 years ago.

The grand jury met Friday to consider the charge posed by prosecutors against the Rev. Gerald Robinson, but its decision was not announced until Monday.

Robinson also posted bond Monday. He had been in jail since his arrest on April 23 in the strangling and stabbing of Sister Margaret Ann Pahl during Easter weekend in 1980.

Her body was discovered in a chapel at Mercy Hospital, covered by an altar cloth. Investigators have described it as a "ritualistic" slaying.

Robinson was being held on $200,000 bond. He'll now be arraigned in Lucas County Common Pleas court. Robinson's attorney, Alan Konop, said his client will plead innocent. Robinson can't face the death penalty because it was not in effect at the time of the killing.

Supporters say they have had the funds needed to get Robinson out of jail, but his attorneys decided to wait on seeking his release until the grand jury's decision was announced.

He was arrested after investigators analyzed blood patterns and concluded the murder weapon was "in the control of the suspect," police have said. They won't say what the murder weapon was or who owned it. Robinson was always a suspect in Sister Pahl's death.

Police say a woman who alleges she had been physically and sexually abused as a child by several priests, including Robinson, spurred them to take another look at the nun's slaying.

Investigators reopened the murder case in December after the county prosecutor's office received a letter, prosecutors said. They would not say who sent the letter or what it said.

Following Robinson's arrest on April 23, three other people have come forward to claim they too were abused by priests in rituals years ago.

Detectives who investigated the nun's murder said some type of ceremony had taken place and that Robinson acted alone.

Updated 12:55 pm 5/3/04 by