The Reverend Bernard Pagano (portrayed by Ralph Waite) was a Roman Catholic priest wrongly suspected of committing nine robberies in which an otherwise polite man held a gun on store clerks and demanded money. A woman who claimed to have been Pagano's lover gave his name to the police.
During the trial in 1979, several witnesses testified that Pagano was the robber. Then, in a dramatic turn, Ronald Clouser came forward with a lawyer and admitted he was the Gentleman Bandit. He pleaded guilty and went to prison. The charges against Pagano were dropped.
After the trial, Pagano became an advocate for people wrongly accused of crimes. At the time of his death, he was living in a mobile home in Pennsylvania. He died on August 1, 2006 at the age of 81 after suffering a stroke.