New version of Toledo Talk

    May 18, 2006

Should Prosecutor Bates Investigate Toledo Catholic Diocese for Obstruction in Murder Investigation -

It seems that everyone I know is wondering if Julia Bates will pursue the Toledo diocese for their 1980s alleged obstruction of the investigation into the murder of Sr. Margaret Ann Pahl.

Two retired Toledo Police officers testified under oath that they were pressured into stopping the 1980 investigation by then Chief Deputy Ray Vetter and Msgr. Jerome Schmidt.

The obstruction seems to also have happened recently with the diocese failing to report to the Lucas County Prosecutor a 2003 sexual abuse allegation that named Robinson, as well as the diocesan offices being raided by cold case detectives when the diocese did not comply with their request for any pertinent information on Robinson.

Do you think that Julia Bates should investigate the diocese?

posted by corky to religion at 9:15 P.M. EST     (30 Comments)

Comments ...

August 2005 posting about the Blade's investigative story titled "Authorities abetted diocese in hiding sexual-abuse cases."
posted by jr at 09:46 P.M. EST on Thu May 18, 2006     #

Absolutely she should investigate. I also think that any Toledo Policeman who had a hand in burying this case at that time, should be investigated. It's common knowledge about the 'go to' cop, the Blade even mentioned his name I believe (now retired). If this was about anybody other than a priest and the Catholic Church, you bet your bippy they'd investigate it.
posted by starling02 at 09:48 P.M. EST on Thu May 18, 2006     #

Yes they should.

What the hell is a bippy?

posted by jdmsbyrd at 10:27 P.M. EST on Thu May 18, 2006     #

Absolutely. In fact, if Julia Bates doesn't investigate I think she's derelict in performance of her duties as prosecutor.
posted by madjack at 08:29 A.M. EST on Fri May 19, 2006     #

There is a conflict here. The police investigation needs to be investigated. They had a duty to solve this murder. Now Julia Bates would be THEIR attorney basically, to my understanding.

In cases like this a special prosecutor is called for that isn't associated with the agencies that need to be investigated.

But she doesn't seem to know that somehow? Or maybe there is a law in Lucas County or the city code that prevents her from doing this?

posted by katie82640 at 08:30 A.M. EST on Fri May 19, 2006     #

That would end up with the police and prosecutors being charged. The reality is that we have a system where it ok for police and prosecutors to withhold information, or lie, but if the common person does it, they get charged with obstruction of justice.
posted by mike2004 at 10:09 A.M. EST on Fri May 19, 2006     #

Katie - this is the only definition I could find for bippy:

BIPPY - A jocular euphemism for ass, as in "bet your (sweet) bippy) by Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, an NBC-TV comedy series. It was discussed, this reference tells us, in "Comments on Ety.", in Jan. 1982, but none of the discussion is included. From "Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, Volume 1, A-G" by J.E. Lighter, Random House, New York, 1994.

Also, there is apparently a breed of dog called a Maltese Bippy. Don't think I've ever seen one. :)

posted by DoknowDocare at 10:36 A.M. EST on Fri May 19, 2006     #

I hear ya - here's a link to a Michigan case where the prosecutor investigated - I'm not interested in the merits rather the mechanics of how an investigation is setup. In this case the Prosecutor requested a special Prosecutor.


and yikes - talk about a blast from the past - here's a story

posted by katie82640 at 10:41 A.M. EST on Fri May 19, 2006     #

Yes, there should be an INVESTIGATION...NO QUESTION about it...

What is SCAREY how often are CRIMES covered as it is within the Church or Police Force...


posted by MARIELORA at 10:43 A.M. EST on Fri May 19, 2006     #

And yes - that's what a bippy is :-)


posted by katie82640 at 10:44 A.M. EST on Fri May 19, 2006     #

Clarification - the county prosecutor is not the attorney for local police agencies. She's the attorney for the Sheriff and other county-wide elected officials, but the jurisdiction's law director would be the attorney for the jurisdiction's police force.
posted by MaggieThurber at 11:18 A.M. EST on Fri May 19, 2006     #

that'd be Toledo's law director? Thank you Maggie.
posted by katie82640 at 11:49 A.M. EST on Fri May 19, 2006     #

You damn betcha she should investigate. They witheld information in a murder case, not to even mention how they did their best to cover up the sex scandals.

When the cops asked for all info on Robinson, they got like 3 pages of stuff. So they drop in unexpepcted with a search warrant and low and behold, they come away with 145 more pages of stuff on him. If thats not witholding evidence I don't know what is.

posted by JeepMaker at 04:22 P.M. EST on Fri May 19, 2006     #

It looks really bad in print like that jeep. Maybe someone needs to request an answer from Ms. Bates' office on whether she intends to investigate?
posted by katie82640 at 07:16 P.M. EST on Fri May 19, 2006     #

My cousin was on the jury, and from what his mom said, there was quite a bit of evidence that never was brought out, perhaps because they knew they had enough to find him guilty, perhaps because they knew this civil suit was comeing up where it would come out, don't know. I agree it's horrible how the police covered up anything ugly with the Catholic Church (I don't think they go to extremes like this for other faiths, do they? Somehow, I cannot see cops shielding the Jehovah's Witnesses like they do the Catholics.) However, in all fairness to the police, they had orders to send anything related to the church to the specified 'go to' person with the police dept. They interviewed this 'go to' guy in the Blade (now retired), and he has a handy sense of "I don't recall if, or why I asked for the police report be turned over to me", and "I have no idea where the 3 copies of that report disappeared to".

There were several letters to the editor in the Blade recently from supporters of the priest, who do not believe he is guilty, who do not believe it was a ritual killing. But they were not on the jury, did not see what was found in the priest's apartment. They had so many experts look at and comment on the findings of a ritual nature, and everyone of them is convinced it was absolutely a ritual, too many things combined that cannot be considered coincidence. I'm sure in the civil suit a lot of that will come out.

I sure do miss Rowan and Martin's Laugh In.

posted by starling02 at 08:17 P.M. EST on Fri May 19, 2006     #

Do you think that Julia Bates should investigate the diocese?


August 2005 posting about the Blade's investigative story titled "Authorities abetted diocese in hiding sexual-abuse cases."

Here's a better question: Should Julia Bates investigate the abbetting authorities AND the diocese?

If one is actually seeking an end to sexual abuse, then one should investigate and prosecute all parties, regardless of race, creed, sexual orientation, religion, employment, ...


Is sexual abuse by a teacher less egregious? How about by a religious leader of some faith which is non-Catholic? If the abuser is of the Buddhist faith, is the victim somehow less...abused???

Focus on the victim, not the abuser.

posted by AirTrainer at 09:03 P.M. EST on Fri May 19, 2006     #

I think it's time for a complete inspection of the facts in evidence. By a remote and unbiased party.

Whatever's going on - it surely hasn't been addressed in an acceptable manner to our community.

And we do have a right to expect that our needs and questions will be answered by the public officials that we pay.

posted by katie82640 at 09:46 P.M. EST on Fri May 19, 2006     #

As spineless as Ms. Bates is, I think someone with more authority and gumption should pursuit this.

A murder has no statutes of limitations, and seeing that an alleged police coverup is out there, I truly feel a conspiracy charge to murder is there on the table. It enabled the convicted to "get away with murder" for 25 years.

And to just walk away from that and ignore it is another insult to the judicial process in Toledo.

posted by BrianInFlorida at 06:17 A.M. EST on Sat May 20, 2006     #

I think that AirTrainer is right and someone should investigate both the police officer (Ret. Chief Deputy Vetter) and the diocese. I think that there are two areas that are problematic.

One is what happened in the 1980 investigation.

The second is what happened with the 2004 search warrants that produced 143 pages of documents after the diocese had previously turned over "all they had" in the ammount of 3 pages.

posted by corky at 07:48 A.M. EST on Sat May 20, 2006     #

If Lucas County Prosecutor Julia Bates fails to go after every diocesan offical who hindered the murder investigation into the horrible death of Sr. Margaret Ann Pahl, in lieu of "getting along" with the Toledo Catholic Diocese, is she really any better than former Deputy Chief Ray Vetter, who seemingly did the same, in deferance to Monsignor Schmidt and the diocese 26 years ago?

Wouldn't Julia, actually be worse? Because she knows better, and she knows the ramifications?

If you obstruct a murder investigation into a religious sister, is there anything you wouldn't do?

If Prosecutor Julia Bates, can't stand the heat, is their another canidate out there, who should replace her? If the prosecutor is going soft, is it time for change?

Does she give this kind of deferance to other high profile crimes that she's prosecuted? What's her track record for going after those who have hindered the investigations?

Can you really play 'let's get along' and 'nicey-nice' after you've executed 2 - no knock search warrants?

Is Prosecutor Bates afraid of upsetting the Bishop? Hasn't that ship sailed when her office prosecuted Fr. Robinson for the murder of Sr. Margaret Ann Pahl?

What good could come from holding back now?

Didn't the diocese fail to go to law enforcement in 2003, with Jane Doe's letter, delaying the investigation for 6 months? Didn't Jane come forward in June but the investigation not open until Dec? Didn't Julia in '05, concede that the diocese should have brought over that information, under their "special agreement signed in 2002?"

Am I mistaken? Didn't Julia Bates' office have to obtain 2 no knock search warrants to get 154 pages of documents from the diocese, once the investigation had commenced?

Why is the Diocese of Toledo being given special treatment? If this were say, "Corner Stone" church, would they be given such deferance?

posted by anotherblogger at 09:02 A.M. EST on Sat May 20, 2006     #

All good questions...but what are the mechanics of it? Is there someone who has the authority to question Ms. Bates about her offices' activity?

I'd like some answers. I read the letter that the local Bishop had his Priests' read to their congregations following the verdict.

It's a clear indictment of the local church's conduct in this murder and a very clear offer to co-operate with an investigation into the history of the case.

Then nothing....why?

posted by katie82640 at 10:21 A.M. EST on Sat May 20, 2006     #

The Diocese of Toledo is given "special treatment" for the same reason many, many dioceses around the country are...the scope and depth of the priest/child abuse scandal covers generations of Catholics and is systemic within the Church. For decades, priests who were known or at the very least highly-suspected abusers of children within their local dioceses were transferred, sent away, their acts swept under the rug. In many cities like Toledo, some police officals were complicit, to be sure. But local dioceses carry a lot of political weight within their community. This system has been rotten for a long, long, time.
posted by McCaskey at 10:25 A.M. EST on Sat May 20, 2006     #

well there has certainly been a change with the public trials etc of the child molesters. I think I am seeing a culture of change within the Catholic Church - but this seems to me - the Bishop's letter to indicate a man who's digusted with the past culture of secrecy and an invitation for the matter of a question of a coverup with regard to the Sisters' murder.

I just wonder why a gesture like this would be ignored?

posted by katie82640 at 10:53 A.M. EST on Sat May 20, 2006     #

I'd like to hear the 'go to' cop in charge of church cases explain why they never go to these extremes with other churches/faiths. Not good enough that the Catholic Church has been under fire big time recently, exposing a long history of abuse, and sweeping it under the rug. I'm sure child molesters are to be found in every faith/school/youth group, etc. It's not just the Catholic Church. If Pastor Pitts was accused of murder, would the cops hide that away as well? Hell no, they'd have a field day with it. And did when he was arrested for exposing himself. The Catholic Church has too much power. I personally believe that churches/organized religion is the worst thing to happen to people's faith/religion. Look at the expensive cars so many pastors drive. And the Catholic Church has so many skeletons in their history. Don't they own millions of dollars in Nazi gold? And millions of dollars in art collections? And the Little Sisters of the Poor still sends it's old nuns out to beg, even now; but the property value on the Little Sister's of the Poor is about 8 million if I recall. Makes me think of Tony Soprano's comment to his shrink "But I am a good Catholic".
posted by starling02 at 05:57 P.M. EST on Sat May 20, 2006     #

katie -- I had a lot of hope for Bishop Blair, but the truth is that he is surrounded by the same lawyers and Billian who were responsible for the terrible mishandling of these cases.

If he were to dismiss these people then I might consider this differently.

posted by corky at 08:18 P.M. EST on Sat May 20, 2006     #

I am sad to hear this corky.
posted by katie82640 at 11:50 P.M. EST on Sat May 20, 2006     #

The reason that Bishop Blair has any power, is because of the silent people who are faith filled, who do not join together and make him accountable.

Every dollar and every day that no one but a few, speak up, the Bishop and Billian etc.... are emboldened.

There is no reason for them to change. Why fix what so clearly works for them. Was it ignorance or arrogance that made the Bishop think it was a good idea to send out that ridiculous letter post verdict, like he's
Oz, hiding behind a curtain.

Anyone else notice the notable name missing from his silly letter?

JANE DOE -- the reason the case even got another look see. It was a victim with an expired claim, who tried to jump through the hoops of the diocese, but to no avail. When she had no one to turn to, she went to Snap, who took her letter to the Attorney General. But not, for Jane doe, the only person the Bishop didn't pray for (besides SNAP, I think we all know how he feels about them), in his letter. Why?

This scandal will end when those who are filled with faith rise up and re-claim the church, by demanding accountability and accepting nothing less.

And, I only heard of 1 priest, from Holgate, Fr. Stanbury - who refused to read the letter aloud. Why did they all follow the order of the Bishop, even if it was wrong and in poor taste? Why didn't the priests in each parish, assume responsiblity and stand down?

Same goes for Julia Bates, only when registered voters clog her phone lines, her email and her mailbox, demanding accountability and not 'preferential treatment' again, for the Catholic diocese, will this have a chance to end.

I gave her a lot of credit for allowing the investigation and trial to move forward. But, if she doesn't go after this, I'm afraid she'll loose credibility as a prosecutor.

posted by anotherblogger at 12:14 A.M. EST on Sun May 21, 2006     #

liberaldemocrat who has posted at Toledotalk previously has this to say . . .

posted by corky at 11:08 P.M. EST on Sun May 21, 2006     #

Oh absolutely. If she ignores the situation (I am sure there has to be an investigation that we are not aware of going on now) it would be gross misconduct. And an abuse of the public trust.
posted by katie82640 at 08:03 A.M. EST on Mon May 22, 2006     #

Has there been any news? If not, I think enough time has passed to appeal to an outside authority.
posted by katie82640 at 09:37 P.M. EST on Tue May 30, 2006     #

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