The Rev. Bernard T. Pagano was cleared yesterday of the last charges pending against him in the celebrated "Gentleman Bandit." case, while the man who cleared him surrendered to be charged with robbery in a third state.
Pagano, a Roman Catholic priest, was set free last month in a dramatic courtroom scene in Delaware after another man confessed to the robbery charges for which Pagano was on trial.
Yesterday, in Media, Pa., Judge R. Barclay Surrick dropped robbery and weapons charges against the priest after the same man, Ronald Clouser, 39, of Brookhaven, Pa., surrendered in that case, too.
Clouser's lawyer, Saul Segan, said he then accompanied his client to Salem County, N.J., where Clouser was charged with the March 7 holdup of a children's clothing store in which $180 was taken at gunpoint from a woman employe.
Clouser had been a suspect in the New Jersey case even before he confessed to the "Gentleman Bandit" robberies in Delaware. Pagano had never been charged in New Jersey.
In the Pennsylvania case, Pagano was accused of the attempted robbery of a Glenn Mills dress shop last Feb. 22. But prosecutors decided, after interviewing the priest's alibi witnesses and subjecting Clouser to lie detector tests, to charge Clouser with the crime.
Clouser, who has been suspended from his job with the U.S. Postal Service, remains free on his own recognizance pending disposition of the various charges against him.