Sin, Shame & Secrets

  • by David Yonke
  • Narrated by Dave Clark
  • 9 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In this unique and compelling true-crime story, journalist and author David Yonke presents and analyzes the only case in US history in which a Roman Catholic priest was arrested for the murder of a nun. Father Gerald Robinson of Toledo, whom friends and associates described as a timid and mild-mannered man, was arrested by cold-case detectives in April, 2004, and charged in the brutal slaying of Sister Margaret Ann Pahl 24 years earlier. The 71-year-old nun had been choked to the edge of death, covered with an altar cloth, and stabbed 31 times in the face, neck, and chest. Her body was found in the sacristy of a Catholic hospital, her habit pulled up to her chest and her undergarments around her ankles. It was Holy Saturday morning, 1980, the day before Easter and the day before the victim's 72nd birthday. Cold-case investigators said the first nine stab wounds, made over the nun's heart, were in the shape of an upside down cross, one of many signs that Sister Margaret Ann was the victim of a ritual killing. "Sin, Shame & Secrets" unveils how cold-case investigators decided to reopen the case in 2003 after a Toledo nun testified that Father Robinson abused her in satanic rituals when she was a child. The nun's testimony before the Toledo Catholic Diocese's Review Board also alleged that a number of children had been killed by the cult. A lengthy police investigation followed, resulting in Robinson's arrest at age 66 on April 23, 2004. After a three-week trial, covered gavel-to-gavel by Court TV (now truTV), the priest was convicted of murder on May 11, 2006, and sentenced to 15 years to life in prison. Yonke, the award-winning former Religion Editor and reporter at The Toledo Blade, reviewed hundreds of police files, interviewed dozens of principles, and covered every minute of the trial to give listeners a thorough and examined look at events as they unfolded, as well as providing background information for the story and the people

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Very disturbing but an excellent read.

What did you love best about Sin, Shame & Secrets?

I am a Practicing Catholic and was mortified by the perversions that were being covered up by the Church, but this story was simply horrific I thought. Priests are just men and should be treated like the rest of us when they've committed a crime. Very enlightening, though disturbing. I couldn't put it down. Narrator was very good.


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- Kathy J. Garrett

Comprehensive True Crime

Would you consider the audio edition of Sin, Shame & Secrets to be better than the print version?

I would consider it as such despite never having read the print version simply because the inclusion of a narrator whose vocal style goes right along with the true crime nature increased my interest in the story.


Who was your favorite character and why?

I didn't really have a favorite character simply because they went through so many and there were so many different problems that arose during the investigation and the second investigation that I got more familiarized with the crime than the characters.


Which character – as performed by Dave Clark – was your favorite?

Again as I mentioned in the previous question it wasn't really a portrayal of characters as much as a portrayal of a story in a first 48 story kind of way and if I make the connection to the crime as being similar as being the people then it's the non-character parts I enjoyed the most.


If you could give Sin, Shame & Secrets a new subtitle, what would it be?

I wouldn't because the subtitle it currently has does a pretty good job of wrapping everything all up already.


Any additional comments?

I received the code for this story for free in exchange for an honest review. I found it an interesting tale of conspiracy and murder, but when I mention the thoroughness of the narrative I started losing steam as it got closer to the end. Of course a real true crime fan would probably enjoy that scholarly nature so it might be more attractive to other people than unattractive to myself personally. Still recommend highly.

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- Kindle Customer

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-01-2015
  • Publisher: David Yonke