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May 11, 2006 12:53 PM   Subscribe

Priest convicted in 1980 nun-slaying. The 71-year-old nun was found on Good Saturday 1980 strangled to death, stabbed 27-32 times, wrapped in an altar cloth with her under-garments around her ankle. Abuse victim Jane Doe re-opens 1980 case with account of childhood Satanic ritual abuse. Was there a cover up by the diocese?
posted by Marnie (40 comments total)

 
In her testimony, she described being subjected to Satanic ceremonies in which priests placed her in a coffin filled with cockroaches, forced her to eat what she thought was a human eyeball, and penetrated her with a snake “to consecrate these orifices to Satan.”

She also alleged that the group of clerics killed an infant and a 3-year-old child, performed an abortion on her, and chopped up dogs during the rituals.


I will bet anyone a million dollars this did not happen.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:42 PM on May 11, 2006


yeah, everybody knows PETAfiles wouldn't harm animals...
posted by troybob at 1:46 PM on May 11, 2006


PETAfiles? huh? I believe OC is referring to the highly-suspect nature of most claims of ritual satanic abuse.
posted by MrMoonPie at 1:51 PM on May 11, 2006


Oh come on Optimus Chyme! How can you doubt that? Didn't you ever see that one episode of Geraldo like 20 years ago all about Satanic rituals and devil-worshipping rock musicians? Didn't you read this part of the article:

The Rev. Bob Larson, an evangelist who travels the world performing exorcisms and dealing with cults, said such allegations are “very, very common. I’ve personally heard of such stories from hundreds of people.”

I mean, how can you not trust the word of a travelling snake oil salesman evangelist?
posted by papakwanz at 1:55 PM on May 11, 2006




Jesus Christ, reading this is horrific and I'm pretty sure a corruption of justice. Was there any physical evidence or was it all based on the say-so of a clearly mentally disturbed woman claiming these literally in-credible stories of Satanic abuse?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 2:03 PM on May 11, 2006


Bob Larson? He wrote the FarSide cartoon, right? Man, that was a great cartoon. Bob Larson is ok in my book, no matter what he's doing now.
posted by Crash at 2:10 PM on May 11, 2006


Optimus Chyme writes "Jesus Christ, reading this is horrific and I'm pretty sure a corruption of justice. Was there any physical evidence or was it all based on the say-so of a clearly mentally disturbed woman claiming these literally in-credible stories of Satanic abuse?"

I don't think that the abuse allegations had anything to do with the murder itself; they simply prompted police to reopen the investigation. Apparently, Robinson was a prime suspect back when the case was originally investigated, but they couldn't collect enough evidence for a prosecution. It's not clear to me what new evidence made a prosecution possible now (one of the articles mentions a letter opener...), but I don't think Jane Doe even testified in this trial; her accusations were merely a trigger for a new investigation.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:13 PM on May 11, 2006


There was other forensic evidence, but its accuracy is disputed. From the 4th link:

One of the technical tools that cold-case investigators Steve Forrester and Tom Ross said was pivotal for reopening the case is blood-pattern transfer analysis.

That forensic tool analyzes patterns imprinted in blood when a weapon is laid down.

They said a police officer noticed a unique bloodstain pattern in the altar cloth that the killer had wrapped around Sister Margaret Ann’s body. Investigators said the pattern proves conclusively that a letter opener belonging to Father Robinson was at the scene of the crime and was used in Sister Margaret Ann’s murder.

But John Philpin, a forensic psychologist from Vermont who has been following the case closely, said blood-transfer pattern analysis, by itself, would not be strong enough evidence to reopen a high-profile, decades-old murder case.

“I feel it would be terribly imprecise and subjective. … I would hesitate to call it an absolute science,” said Mr. Philpin, who retired after 30 years of helping police departments around the nation profile murderers and analyze evidence.

“If that’s the fulcrum of their prosecution, I can’t see them convicting this man,” he said. “I have to wonder what else they have.”

posted by Marnie at 2:13 PM on May 11, 2006


When that happens, it's like being in the midst of an invisible war with spiritual grenades exploding everywhere in the audience.

was it all based on the say-so of a clearly mentally disturbed woman

perhaps she's merely shell-shocked
posted by pyramid termite at 2:15 PM on May 11, 2006


Was there any physical evidence or was it all based on the say-so of a clearly mentally disturbed woman claiming these literally in-credible stories of Satanic abuse?

Victims should be believed. Always. Like how the prosecution didn't have to produce the biting robot, firing-breathing clowns or giant molesting machine in the Fells Acres case.
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:15 PM on May 11, 2006 [1 favorite]


Check out link 3 about the sequence of events -

In December of 2003, six months after Jane Doe had first come forward, investigators for the county interviewed the woman. Since she came forward, at least two other women have also recounted similar tales of ritual sexual abuse at the hands of priests during the 1960's. And while investigators were not immediately able to substantiate the woman's allegations, they did recognize the name of one of the priests the woman claimed had abused her — Robinson.

Jane Doe's allegations of satanic abuse have not been substantiated to date. She mentioned the name of someone known to have been a murder suspect at the time of the 1980 enquiry and it triggered a detective to have another look at the case - and they got lucky. The comment of the activist who helped her sums it up

As Vercellotti put it, she never had any intention "of reopening the Robinson investigation," but in telling her tale, it was "like she was throwing a dart with her eyes closed and hit a bull's eye."


There most certainly are violent and abusive priests but no case that I know of, has ever substantiated these kind of lurid ritual abuse claims.
posted by Flitcraft at 2:18 PM on May 11, 2006


Yeah, again, I don't think that there were any allegations of satanic ritual abuse at this trial, or that Jane Doe testified (can you even testify as "Jane Doe"?). Those articles sure are unclear though.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:19 PM on May 11, 2006


Nuns v. Priests

sorry, sorry, couldn't resist
posted by thecaddy at 2:19 PM on May 11, 2006


If you step backward through the linked articles at the Toledo Blade, you can get the story of the trial. Jane Doe wasn't a witness. The prosecution seemed to have a pretty shaky case.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 2:54 PM on May 11, 2006


The poor bastard.
posted by LarryC at 3:08 PM on May 11, 2006


dances_with_sneetches writes "The prosecution seemed to have a pretty shaky case."

Wow. Yeah, it does seem awfully thin. Hard to know without having seen the whole trial, though. It seems like he was well represented.
posted by mr_roboto at 3:41 PM on May 11, 2006


It's a scary day when Bob Larson is mentioned in two threads on Metafilter.

Is God powerful enough to make a rock so heavy that Bob Larson can't crawl out from underneath it? And how many angels can dance on that pinhead?
posted by djeo at 4:51 PM on May 11, 2006


She also alleged that the group of clerics killed an infant and a 3-year-old child, performed an abortion on her, and chopped up dogs during the rituals.

I find it really, really hard to believe that anybody finds this kinky.
posted by my homunculus is drowning at 5:13 PM on May 11, 2006


The day before Easter is called Holy Saturday.
posted by Pollomacho at 5:32 PM on May 11, 2006


From the fourth link: "John Connors, a former seminarian who retired after 25 years as a police officer, was hired by the Toledo diocese to investigate the woman’s allegations.

“I think she told the truth,” Mr. Connors said flatly this week. “I interviewed her, almost 20 hours’ worth"

From the Crime Library:
"While authorities have combed the area around Toledo searching for evidence to support the claims, originally made by one woman identified only as Jane Doe, but since echoed by other alleged victims, they have as yet not disclosed any evidence to support those allegations.

But that, that doesn't mean it didn't happen, says Candace DeLong, a former FBI agent and criminal profiler who spent years as a psychiatric nurse. "I'm guessing it probably did happen," DeLong said, "and there may have been some hint of a 'devil-esque" aspect to it."

Some online info regarding the law and 'ritual' or group cultic abuse of children:

An overall database, FactNet.

In Illinois.

A book, Memory, Trauma Treatment,
and the Law By Helen L. McGonigle, Esq.
Attorney, Brookfield, Connecticut

There are examples of other cases with some similar elements, such as this one with religion, animals, a group of abusers. And further details. With an example of some of the things they did:

"Louis Lamonica walked into the sheriff's department in tiny Livingston, La., a few weeks ago and asked to speak with a detective. According to police, for almost the next two hours the middle-aged preacher, dressed casually in a green polo shirt and green slacks, proceeded to tell a story so sickening they could scarcely believe what they were hearing. He explained that he was the former pastor of Hosanna Church, a now defunct house of worship in nearby Ponchatoula. Matter-of-factly and without remorse, Lamonica said that he and other church members had molested children, and taught them to have sex with each other, as well as with a dog. He told the detectives that he drank cat blood, and poured it on the bodies of his young victims, according to Ponchatoula Police Chief David Vitter."
posted by nickyskye at 6:24 PM on May 11, 2006


If you read more about the case, you will see that there was in fact an element of an element of satanism to the case: the nun's stab wounds formed the shape of an inverted cross and apparently some kind of ritual was performed. So I'm not sure why you feel the need to mock this woman's allegation. I do wonder what it is that would make priests satan-worshippers, but I think that in general, one thing in extreme tends to bring out its opposite. Anyway, Catholic priest creep me out.
posted by Astragalus at 7:07 PM on May 11, 2006


Preview? Feh...
posted by Astragalus at 7:09 PM on May 11, 2006


So I'm not sure why you feel the need to mock this woman's allegation.

Because a 3 year-old child and an infant were alleged to have been killed and yet no one seems to be missing them, nor has evidence of those crimes ever been found.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:12 PM on May 11, 2006


OK, so her story was probably exaggerated, but do you think it's just coincidence that she linked Robinson to satanism before he was accused of a ritual satanic murder?
posted by Astragalus at 7:20 PM on May 11, 2006


Convicted, rather
posted by Astragalus at 7:22 PM on May 11, 2006


Is "the nun's stab wounds formed the shape of an inverted cross" the same as "the Virgin Mary appeared in my cheese sandwich"?
posted by papakwanz at 11:21 PM on May 11, 2006


so her story was probably exaggerated

I think "they killed a toddler, an infant, and forced me to have an abortion but haha there's no evidence of that" needs a stronger word than "exaggerated."

do you think it's just coincidence that she linked Robinson to satanism before he was accused of a ritual satanic murder?

Not when it's well-known beforehand that he was a suspect but never officially charged. It's like the people who say "oh my goodness, all these people who claim they were abducted by aliens all give similar descriptions of the aliens!" No shit - preexisting knowledge shapes delusion.

Is Robinson truly guilty of murder? I don't know. But I do know that he and a cabal of Satanists didn't kill an infant and 3 year old, chop up dogs, and all the other total bullshit that Jane Doe claims. I would bet all my assets on it, and I don't even like Catholic priests.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:43 AM on May 12, 2006


The beauty of these ritual abuse cases, for the abusers, is that most people are not prepared to even entertain the possibility that it actually happened. They can do whatever the heck they want, knowing they are fairly insulated by people's inability to consider such tales as anything but fiction. After there was that 'scare' in the '80s about ritual abuse, which pretty much fizzeled out, nobody is prepared to believe in ritual abuse any more.
posted by Sukiari at 5:21 PM on May 12, 2006


Lamonica said that he and other church members had molested children, and taught them to have sex with each other, as well as with a dog. He told the detectives that he drank cat blood, and poured it on the bodies of his young victims...

That also never happened.
posted by LarryC at 6:31 AM on May 13, 2006


It is really scary that we have so many (and by so many, I mean the three or so here) believers in Satanic ritual abuse around these parts.

The beauty of these ritual abuse cases, for the abusers, is that most people are not prepared to even entertain the possibility that it actually happened.

Are you kidding me? Did you even read MrMoonPie's link? The media spent PLENTY of time entertaining the possibility of widespread SRA. So did myriad psychologists and law enforcement agencies. So you're alleging that despite the glut of attention paid to these preposterous claims it's somehow our fault that no one takes SRA seriously? It couldn't be the total paucity of evidence or, perhaps, the fact that we've moved onto other realms of moral panic, like MySpace predators and whatnot.

Please, those of you believe that there are tens of thousands of victims of Satanic ritual abuse out there, will you present a case of this that has gone to trial for which evidence of--say--dead babies and ritual altars and giant stinking pits of animal carcasses was available.

(Note: Saying Catholic priests creep me out is not sufficient.)
posted by veronica sawyer at 9:43 AM on May 13, 2006


The beauty of these ritual abuse cases, for the abusers, is that most people are not prepared to even entertain the possibility that it actually happened.
posted by Sukiari at 5:21 PM PST on May 12


I'd be much more inclined to believe these wild claims if there were any evidence whatsoever. But no - Satanists are apparently the world's greatest criminal masterminds, so brilliant that no one ever reports their children missing, so devious that no one ever finds the bodies, so slick that no one ever blabs to the wrong person, as is the case in every other horrifying crime.

If you leave no evidence, no clues, no parents of victims, no videotape, no crime scene, then yes: you can do "whatever the heck you want," because we don't convict people of murder based solely on tall fucking tales. Jesus Christ.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:58 AM on May 13, 2006


Where is the Occam's razor on this one? A temporary homicidal rage over a disagreement in service length?

This story nags at me, because on the one hand the Satanic cult thing is so bizarre that I cannot conceive of a reality in which it actually happens, and on the other hand, who would kill a nun like that and why? Stab wounds in an upside down cross and a "last rites" anointment with her own blood? Is this some kind of prosecutorial hyperbole or are you kidding me?

It would almost be more plausible to me that someone insane has taken over the Toledo Blade and is making up supernatural melodramas between the forces of good and evil in order to sell papers and/or confuse me about reality. Or that a rival denomination is committing subterfuge within the Catholic church through some elaborate decades-long scheme.

For the love of God: where is Robert Stack?
posted by Marnie at 10:47 AM on May 13, 2006


Well, then WHO'S FUCKING DNA WAS IT THEN?????? Unbe-fucking-leivable. She has male DNA under her fingernails (classic defense sign, like forearm bruising/cuts) that happens to NOT belong to this priest. So, what? He had an accomplice do the dirty work? They just leave it at that? Conflicting witness reports? This whole thing stinks, it raises more questions than it answers, beyond a reasonable doubt my ass.

(Comments based wholly on evidence presented in short newspaper article and have no other basis in fact or reality. Any resemblance between these comments and actual reasonable though are entirely accidental.)
posted by IronLizard at 12:02 PM on May 13, 2006


we don't convict people of murder based solely on tall fucking tales. Jesus Christ.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:58 AM PST on May 13


Well, um, we do - but we shouldn't.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 12:14 PM on May 13, 2006


So, Optimus, are you asserting that there never has been a case of ritual abuse? What about all the Catholic priests who have admitted to it?

I'm not speaking about this person's claims in particular, but there have been cases of ritual abuse. The beauty of their crime is that, as explained above, people like you aren't prepared to even entertain the possibility.
posted by Sukiari at 3:56 PM on May 13, 2006


So, Optimus, are you asserting that there never has been a case of ritual abuse?

What kind? Satanic or just regular old abuse? What makes it ritual? Do you have to have the baby's blood and the forced abortions or what is required here?

The beauty of their crime is that, as explained above, people like you aren't prepared to even entertain the possibility.

I'm not going to believe shit without evidence, genius. I've heard too many people say too much dumb shit that turned out to be false to believe unsubstaniated allegations of baby-murder and blood-drinking and forced abortions and whatever fucking retarded I-Love-the-80's Kool-Aid you've been drinking.

I would be very interested in cases of Satanic ritual abuse which have been verified, in which there is physical evidence, and which was not found to be simply mass hysteria after the fact. I'm sure that you will find me dozens of cases, right? Let's hear them.

Alternately, you could just go here and save yourself the embarrassment.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:15 PM on May 13, 2006


No need to be rude. It is a great way to get away from the question I asked you, though. Are you asserting that there has been no ritual abuse recorded?

Just because it sounds fantastic doesn't mean that there's no way it could have happened. If you want to read about ritual abuse, read about the Inquisition, Jonestown (speaking of Kool-Aid), the recent recreational activities of Catholic priests, etc.

The ritual abuse of mainly young boys, by priests, some of whom have abused more than a dozen youngsters, is on the recording for you to see. There are other well documented cases of ritual abuse, by Tibetan monks, boot camp sergeants, schoolteachers, doctors, etc. Ritual abuse doesn't automatically mean 'satanic ritual abuse involving dead cats, sex with children, etc', you fucking stuck up one dimensional cunt nugget.
posted by Sukiari at 11:23 PM on May 13, 2006


Ritual abuse doesn't automatically mean 'satanic ritual abuse involving dead cats, sex with children, etc', you fucking stuck up one dimensional cunt nugget.

That's fantastic, ace, but the story in question involves Satanic ritual abuse, which is what we're discussing, and which the priest in question was accused of. If you want to talk about regular old ritual abuse, without infanticide and dog's blood, make a post to the front page.

There is no evidence that anyone in this case placed her in a coffin filled with cockroaches, forced her to eat what she thought was a human eyeball, and penetrated her with a snake “to consecrate these orifices to Satan.”

Nor is there evidence that anyone killed an infant and a 3-year-old child, performed an abortion on her, and chopped up dogs during the rituals. This is fearmongering. This is bullshit. And you keep screaming BUT IT COULD'VE HAPPENED! IT COULD'VE HAPPENED!

And I don't buy it for one fucking second unless you show me the evidence.

The beauty of their crime is that, as explained above, people like you aren't prepared to even entertain the possibility.

Sure I am. But there's never any evidence because the global cabal of Satan is soooo skilled and soooo devious. Look: I am an atheist. I think Catholic priests are mostly weirdo creeps who couldn't hack it in the real world. But I am not about to believe that anyone engaged in these acts without corroborating evidence. Accusations mean nothing without it.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 11:51 PM on May 13, 2006


even ONE good, documented example of RSA would be kinda cool. But I haven't heard it. Seriously.
posted by my homunculus is drowning at 9:28 AM on May 14, 2006


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