TOLEDO, Ohio -- The Toledo Diocese is taking another look at a woman's previously dismissed allegations of satanic sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests after one of the clergymen has been charged with the ''ritualistic" slaying of a nun 24 years ago.
The Rev. Gerald Robinson was arrested last week on charges of strangling and stabbing Sister Margaret Ann Pahl, 71, about 30 times during Easter weekend 1980. Her body, covered by an altar cloth and surrounded by burning candles, was found in a hospital chapel. Pahl's body was posed to look as though she had been sexually assaulted, but investigators said they found no evidence of sexual activity.
Bishop Leonard Blair said Tuesday that a seven-member Diocesan Review Board will reexamine allegations made by a woman who told the panel in June that when she was a child she was physically and sexually abused by several priests, including Robinson. The woman described satanic ceremonies in which clergy members placed her in a coffin filled with cockroaches, forced her to swallow what she thought to be a human eyeball, and penetrated her with a snake ''to consecrate these orifices to Satan."
The diocese had decided not to forward the woman's allegations to authorities because it could not substantiate them.
The allegations were brought to the attention of prosecutors in a letter received in December, assistant prosecutor Gary Cook said Monday. He would not say who sent the letter.
Three other people have said they also were abused by priests in rituals, said Catherine Hoolahan, an attorney who represents about a dozen people with abuse lawsuits against the Toledo Diocese.
The diocese said it decided to reexamine the allegations because of findings by two of its investigators. Police Captain Mike Murphy would not say whether police were probing the abuse allegations.