Tuesday, April 10, 2018

'She Knew He Was Gonna Lie'

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

A lawyer for Msgr. William J. Lynn told a panel of state appeal court judges today that former Assistant District Attorney Mariana Sorensen knowingly put a witness on the stand that the lead detective in the case had repeatedly warned her was not truthful.

"She knew he was gonna lie," Thomas A. Bergstrom said about Sorensen and her star witness, Danny Gallagher, the lying, scheming altar boy.

Bergstrom accused the D.A.'s office of taking an "Alice in Wonderland" approach to the archdiocese sex abuse case. First, back in 2011, they indicted Msgr. Lynn, three priests, and a Catholic schoolteacher. Then, they asked Joe Walsh, their "hand-picked detective," to investigate the case, to see if Gallagher's allegations were true, Bergstrom told a panel of three state Superior Court judges. And what did the detective discover? That their "one and only witness is lying," Bergstrom said, referring again to Gallagher.

Friday, April 6, 2018

A Prosecutor's 'Lost' Notes And The Trail Of Deception Behind It

Former Assistant District Attorney Mariana Sorensen [right]
By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

As Desi Arnaz used to say on the old I Love Lucy show, "Luuucyyy, you got some 'splainin to do!"

Now reprising the role of Lucy: former Assistant District Attorney Mariana Sorensen.

Court records show that defense lawyers in the "Billy Doe" sex abuse case had repeatedly sought Sorensen's long-lost notes from her initial interview eight years ago with the lying, scheming altar boy whose real name is Danny Gallagher. In three different courtrooms, in front of three different judges, three different prosecutors from the D.A.'s office, including Sorensen, have repeatedly stated that those notes didn't exist. But then, after a gap of eight years, those notes mysteriously reappeared last month, and somebody was kind enough to drop a copy on BigTrial.net.

The notes, a glaring example of prosecutorial misconduct, are relevant again. That's because the D.A.'s office, under the reform leadership of Progressive Larry Krasner, is proceeding with a planned retrial of Msgr. William J. Lynn. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia's former secretary for clergy is accused of endangering the welfare of a child, Gallagher, by allegedly placing him in harm's way of a predator priest. But today we know that Gallagher previously admitted to Detective Joe Walsh, the lead detective on the case who filed a 12-page sworn affidavit, that Gallagher made up his stories of abuse about supposedly being raped by two priests and a Catholic schoolteacher.

But the legal show grinds on. Lawyers on both sides of the Msgr. Lynn case are scheduled to appear in state Superior Court on Tuesday morning, to argue appeal motions filed over the planned retrial of the monsignor. The Superior Court has twice already overturned the Lynn verdict; the monsignor's lawyers on Tuesday will be going for the trifecta. At the hearing, expect Lynn's lawyers to brandish Sorensen's long-lost notes, and tell the appeal judges about a continuing pattern of gross prosecutorial misconduct in the case originally championed by former D.A. Rufus Seth Williams, now wearing a jumpsuit in a federal prison in Oklahoma.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Progressive Larry Krasner Legalizes Prostitution In Philadelphia

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

In Philadelphia, under our new D.A., Progressive Larry Krasner, it's now basically legal to be a prostitute, providing you're just getting started.

Under new policies announced on Feb. 15th by Krasner, his assistant D.A.s are being told "do not charge prostitution cases against sex workers where a person who has been arrested has two, one, or no prostitution convictions." In the case of a novice hooker, ADAs are instructed to "withdraw all pending cases in these categories that would be declined for charging under this policy."

But if a person has "three or more prostitution convictions," then an individual can be "charged with prostitution and immediately referred to DAWN Court," the new rules state. It's enough to make you wonder what Larry Krasner has against old hookers.

Other offenses that ADAs are being told to decline charging include possession of marijuana "regardless of weight," and paraphernalia offenses "where the drug involved is marijuana."

A former prosecutor who read the new policies described them as "agenda driven," adding, "He [Krasner] is very naive and obviously he's someone who has zero experience dealing with crime victims and the effects of crime." Another former prosecutor was even more blunt: "He doesn't give a fuck about victims."

Friday, March 9, 2018

A Prosecutor's 'Lost' Notes And The Pack Of Lies She Wrote

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

On Jan. 28, 2010, Assistant District Attorney Mariana Sorensen and Detective Drew Snyder met behind closed doors at the D.A.'s office with Danny Gallagher, to hear for the first time his tearful tales of abuse.

Snyder had just bailed Gallagher out of Graterford Prison, where he was being held on a probation violation. Gallagher, AKA "Billy Doe," the lying, scheming altar boy, was a third-rate con man with a rap sheet that included a half-dozen arrests for retail theft and drugs, including one bust for possession with intent to distribute 56 bags of heroin. He was just a junkie hustler trying to figure out a way to stay out of jail, and maybe score some easy cash.

So Gallagher told his stories to the prosecutor and the detective. Eight years later, we know those stories were all lies. But eight years ago, the facts didn't matter because prosecutor Sorensen was an ideologue on a mission, out to get the Catholic Church at any cost. And Detective Snyder, who usually investigated insurance fraud, apparently was in over his head.

Behind closed doors, the third-rate conman peddled an improbable story about a helpless altar boy being passed around by three brazen rapists, who were all conspiring with each other. And a couple of chumps named Sorensen and Snyder bought one lie after another, without doing any investigating. When they got finished, Sorensen wrote eleven of Danny Gallagher's outright lies, and a dozen of her own, into the 2011 grand jury report that indicted three priests and a school teacher for rape, as well as a monsignor, for endangering the welfare of children.

As Sorensen noted in that grand jury report, "These are sordid, shocking acts." She could have been talking about the crimes she committed against truth.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Prosecutor's Missing Notes About "Billy Doe" Mysteriously Reappear

Former ADA Mariana "You're Killing My Case" Sorensen
By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

Eight years ago, former Assistant District Attorney Mariana Sorensen conducted the first interview with Danny Gallagher, AKA "Billy Doe," right after a detective bailed the former  altar boy out of jail, so he could assume the staring role in a witch hunt about to be staged against the Catholic Church.

But according to the D.A.'s office, Sorensen took no notes on Jan. 28, 2010, when she and Detective Drew Snyder interviewed Gallagher, along with his parents, at the D.A.'s office. According to what the D.A.'s office represented at two criminal trials, in front of at least three different judges, the only notes that existed from that initial interview with Gallagher were three pages of notes typed up by Detective Snyder.

Eight years later, seven pages of typed notes by Sorensen from that initial interview with Gallagher have mysteriously reappeared, a copy of which was sent to BigTrial. Defense lawyers in the case say those notes should have been turned over at two criminal trials, where three priests and a former schoolteacher were sent to jail for the alleged repeated rapes of Danny Gallagher. It's the latest episode of prosecutorial misconduct in a case replete with it, a case that's headed for a final chapter later this year when a new D.A., Progressive Larry Krasner, plans to retry Msgr. William J. Lynn, the lead defendant, on a charge of endangering the welfare of a child.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Skinny Joey Vs. The Feds: Headed For A Rematch

In the latest episode of Mob Talk Sitdown, veteran crime reporters George Anastasia and Dave Schratwieser do some forecasting on whether reputed Philadelphia mob boss "Skinny Joey" Merlino faces a rematch with the feds, in the aftermath of his mistrial in Manhattan.

The odds are that he does, Anastasia says.

That's because the numbers both reporters are hearing from the secret jury deliberations in the big East Coast mob trial in federal court strongly favor the government.

So let's get ready to do it again. In the meantime, tune in to the latest episode of Mob Talk Sitdown.


Thomas Capano and the Murder of Anne Marie Fahey

By George Anastasia
For Bigtrial.net

He was a wealthy and politically connected lawyer, an arrogant and self-assured mover and shaker in Wilmington and throughout the state of Delaware.

She was a young, attractive appointment secretary to the governor.

At one time they were lovers.

She broke it off. He wanted her back.

When she balked, he killed her.

In many ways Tom Capano was more despicable than any mobster I have ever written about.

The Summer Wind is the story of that tragic love affair and senseless murder.

Now available as an ebook.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Billy In Philly -- Recalling Billy Graham's 1992 Philadelphia Crusade

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

America's most famous preacher was tall, 6-foot-3, with a regal mane of silver hair and bright blue eyes. And he seemed frail and unsteady as he walked across the spongy Astroturf at old Veterans Stadium.

Twenty-six years ago, I was standing in line to meet Billy Graham, who was about to launch a historic five-day crusade at the Vet.

I was a 38-year-old reporter  for The Philadelphia Inquirer who had wound up on the religion beat as a fluke. And I was not all that thrilled about meeting Richard Nixon's favorite preacher. But in person, the 73 year-old evangelist disarmed me by how gracious he was.

When it was my turn to greet him, Billy grabbed my hand, held it, and thanked me for all the wonderful stories I had written about him. I wondered if he was kidding, but he seemed so sincere about it, and went out of his way to be kind.

“Why I never knew you were so young and so handsome,” Billy gushed. Ok, he may have been a bit corny, but one on one, this world-famous celebrity would much rather talk about you than himself. I was struck by his humility. He made me wish I’d been kinder to him in print.

 

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