Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Billy Goes Viral

The new media superstar
By Ralph Cipriano
for Bigtrial.net

The improbable story of "Billy Doe," the former Philadelphia altar boy who claimed he was raped by a couple of priests and a Catholic school teacher, has gone viral.

Rolling Stone opened the door by apologizing for the improbable story it ran about "Jackie," the University of Virginia freshman who claimed she was raped by seven guys at a fraternity party.

Big Trial's contribution to the unfolding scandal was to point out that before they fell for Jackie's story, reporter Sabrina Rubin Erdely and Rolling Stone bought Billy's bogus tale. In a classic case of the media turning on itself, the Big Trial post about Billy and Rolling Stone attracted 50,000 hits to this website in two days.

The local scandal about Billy, ignored by the hometown press, was suddenly hot news to The Daily Caller, and a bunch of websites such as jimromenesko.com, hotair.com, and fark.com, Even The Daily Mail, the British national newspaper, weighed in with a story about Billy.

And we're not done yet. The Washington Post and Newsweek are hot on the trail as well. Over at the District Attorney's office, our stonewalling D.A. Seth Williams is probably hoping he gets through this news cycle unscathed. Seth, however, does have a distant but curious link to Rolling Stone's Billy story that has attracted the curiosity of the national media.

The reporter

One of the issues the Post and Newsweek are exploring: why Sabrina Rubin Erdely didn't disclose to readers that while she was reporting the Billy Doe story her lawyer husband, Peter Erdely, worked as an assistant district attorney under Seth Williams in the Philly D.A.'s office. According to his online biography, Erdely was an ADA for eight years until July 2011, two months before his wife's Billy story ran on Sept. 15, 2011 in Rolling Stone.

Erdely, who proudly refers to his "lovely wife" on his Twitter account as Lois Lane and Wonder Woman, is now in private practice. It's great that Erdely is a supportive spouse, but as far as the reporter is concerned, holy undisclosed conflict of interest!

The conflict was first spotted by media reporter Paul Farhi of The Washington Post. Maybe Erdely's status as as the wife of a Philly ADA explains  the overwhelmingly pro-prosecution slant on her piece. And why she only quoted a couple of former prosecutors, a former victim, a couple of dissident ex-priests, and a former seminarian who got kicked out, all of whom had axes to grind against the church.

Erdely has not responded to requests for comment from this blog as well as many other journalistic outlets, including The Washington Post. Meanwhile, the managing editor of Rolling Stone released an apology to readers that said the magazine's trust in Jackie had been "misplaced." Then the magazine backtracked again, saying the fault for not fact-checking Jackie's story belonged to the staffers at Rolling Stone, not Jackie.

On Friday, a spokesman for Rolling Stone told Farhi that Peter Erdely's work in the D.A.'s office didn't pose a conflict of interest because he wasn't part of the unit trying the defendants in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia sex abuse case.

They sure have a loosy-goosey outfit over there at Rolling Stone, the home of gonzo journalism. When they write a story about an alleged gang-rape victim, for example, they don't have to talk to any of the accused rapists. So I guess being married to an assistant district attorney [and not telling readers about it] while you're prosecuting the case in the pages of Rolling Stone is no big deal.

In the wake of the Rolling Stone scandal, Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, has to feel vindicated. At the time the Rolling Stone story on Billy was published in 2011, Donohue condemned it as yellow journalism.

"Catholic bashers have gotten a lot of mileage out of the sexual abuse scandal," Donohue wrote at the time, "but for sheer maliciousness, it is hard to top the piece in Rolling Stone. The factual errors, the stereotypes, the grand omissions, and the melodramatic language make for an incredible read."

In the absence of comment from Erdely the website gotnews.com posted a 2006 video of the reporter giving a talk at the University of Pennsylvania, her alma mater, where she says, "My tendency is to believe people."

Although she claims to her audience that she possesses a healthy dose of skepticism, Erdely says on the video, "My default mode is you are probably telling the truth."

That's why she pays attention to red flags. "I have a finely tuned bullshit detecter," she says. "And when it goes off I pay close attention because it doesn't go off without a reason."

Newsbusters also ran a story about Mediabuzz host Howie Kurtz raising questions about a third story Erely wrote for Rolling Stone, with this headline: "One Town's War on Gay Teens: In Michele Bachman's home district, evangelicals have created an extreme anti-gay climate. After a rash of suicides, the kids are fighting back."

"Bachman doesn't even live in the school district any more, and whatever her views on gays, linking her name to these tragic deaths seems more political than factual," Kurtz wrote.

Now that the Billy Doe story has gone viral, maybe D.A. Seth Williams will finally have to answer some questions he's been stonewalling for two years.

Man up, Seth. Rolling Stone has already apologized for the factual "discrepancies" in Jackie's story.

Isn't it time the D.A. in this town came clean about all the factual problems with Billy's story?

And why the D.A.'s office ran with Billy's story without doing any fact-checking of their own, in the form of an investigation that came two years later? An investigation, when it was finally done, where all the witnesses and all the documents gathered by the D.A.'s own detectives completely contradicted Billy's cockamamie stories?

Memo to Seth: you might want to start talking before the people from your office have to show up as witnesses in the civil case Billy Doe has filed against the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. A civl case where those current and former employee of the D.A.'s office will have to answer those same questions under oath.

Even if some people admit their mistakes, however, the damage meter seems all out of whack.

Rolling Stone can always run a correction, or even retract their story about Jackie. After all, in Charlottesville, they shut down all the fraternities and sororities, but nobody's mug shot got splashed across the media. And nobody's good name was dragged through the mud in any bogus grand jury report.

But here in Philadelphia, our D.A. published an intellectually dishonest and mistake-filled grand jury report that smeared many people.

What can Seth do now about the four defendants he sent to jail for a crime wave that in all probability never happened, except in the imagination of the alleged junkie criminal "victim" scheming to bust out of jail?

What can Seth say to the family of Father Charles Engelhardt, the defendant priest who just died in jail?

Seth Williams, a former altar boy himself, may need a confessional for that one.

Ralph Cipriano can be reached at ralph@bigtrial.net.

36 comments:

  1. Why such a hot nut for Billy and the media ? There has to be more to it then a false victim or innocent men going to prison or main stream media not reporting on the story. It happens a lot. Recently a man was released from prison after serving I think it was almost 30 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. I don't see any mention of that it here.

    I truly don't think survivors of clergy abuse really care about these men in prison. They are concerned about the justice they will receive because of their own abuse. These men in prison do not set some type of example that survivors are looking for. They know you can send a whole parish of priests to prison and you will still have the clergy who will think its o.k. to watch child porn or grab some strangers genitals at a gym. I could go on and on.

    You have many readers who believe that Billy is a liar and the city of Philadelphia is corrupt but you have readers and non-readers who believe the opposite. The priests and the school teacher are guilty as sin. Then you have the remaining members of society who just done give a damn.

    I say preach all you want but people will get tired of hearing the same sermon over and over again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why are we still referring to him as Billy?

      His name is Daniel Gallagher.

      Why does he get to hide behind billy doe when all the victims in this case have had their names in the spotlight for the last three years?

      He was an adult when he brought these accusations and lies to the DA. An adult who needed his mother and father to sit in with him during his fist interview with the DAs office.

      Delete
    2. guilty as sin. based on what, your eyewitness account dating back to 1998 in the sacristy (the one with 4 different entrances by the way) and Shero's car...physical evidence, are you exclusively privy to some additional medical records for Danny Galagher that haven't been discovered as of this date that totally corroborate his stories of the alleged abuse at the hands of those men that were convicted January 2013...were you the altar boy that helped Danny lift those choir bells in 5th grade that only an 8th grader were permitted to lift? that makes2 of you that defy what was one of several logical defenses to danny's various stories...

      there was a great deal of reasonable doubt but the jury chose to believe danny's tales of abuse but perhaps the Superior court will have their say as to the conduct of the DA's office and trial judge in the very near future....

      your ignorant comments about priests in general being molesters etc just means you've accepted the decade long portrayal by the Philadelphia media, esp the frequently bankrupt INKY and Daily News that there's not one decent priest or religious in existence.....

      I'll be in court for the civil trial next year, will you? can't wait for the day that Danny Gallagher will have to show his face in court again.....the picture above is an excellent picture of that scumbag....Jim and Sheila must really be proud....
      .

      Delete
    3. But... but, don't you understand that these two convicted pedophile priests are "just like Jesus!" "Guilty as sin" based on the jury's deliberations, that's what. Yeah... the "Philadelphia media" just fabricated all of the evidence on Cardinal Bevelacqua, Msr. Lynn... for decades! The nerve of them (the media), portraying these sainted "Men of God" in this manner... and using the "Church's" own documents to do it! Shame, shame, shame!

      Delete
  2. I've lost this argument so many times in so many places that I don't even make it anymore. The media is extremely reluctant to out so-called victims. If you get arrested for embezzling $1 million from your employer it might help to immediately say you were molested by somebody. It's even more fool-proof if you pick a frat or a Catholic priest.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The media is not reluctant to inform the public about a sexual abuse victims identity. They do so as respect to the possible sexual abuse victim from being re-victimized. The court system also shows the same respect. Although argued by many defense attorney's the system is in place. Now there are those scrupulous reporters (look in the mirror Ralph) who will learn a possible victims identity and with no heart or conscience feel that it is their right to print the names of a victim or even print a photograph of a victim.

      Delete
    2. Re-victimized? The piece of shit you see in the photo above is a con artist. He is only in it for the money. The DA should have seen that from day one when they referred to him a civil attorney.

      Delete
    3. Awwww... the evil old media strikes again! Two pedophile Catholic priests were convicted by a jury of their peers. There was no grand, wide-ranging conspiracy involving hundreds of people... just a jury of 12 peers who listened to ALL of the evidence presented, weighed that evidence during deliberation, and returned a verdict, as instructed. Perhaps the reason you have "lost this argument so many times in so many places" is because it is specious.

      Delete
    4. is this the only statement you can write. You have no knowledge of what happened in the courtrooms do you? Did you attend either of the trials?

      Delete
    5. Yes, I have "knowledge of what happened in the courtrooms." The same "knowledge" that you have. Two pedophile "Men of God" were convicted by a jury of their peers for the crime of sexually abusing a child. The difference being that I accept the decision of the jury who listened to all of the evidence and reached a verdict and you do not. I did not attend either of the trials, but two juries did... and both juries heard ALL of the evidence presented and came to the unanimous verdict of guilty as charged in both cases.

      Delete
    6. Dennis ecker is that you?

      Or do we have an offspring of ecker's guilty until proven innocent school of thought

      Delete
    7. Speaking of Ecker, check out some of his posts on this blog: http://catholics4change.com/2014/06/12/has-your-faith-experience-been-harmed/#comments

      Delete
    8. First, don't confuse those very true words said by anonymous 8:34PM as being mine. If I post a comment on this blog or any other blog I will use my name.

      To anonymous 8:45pm I guess my thought was correct even though it maybe wrong to have the idea of guilty before innocence because they have been found guilty and now must prove their innocence.

      ...and to anonymous 12:11 I welcome everyone to read what I posted on Catholics4Change maybe just maybe you and others will understand what animals like Hermley can do to an individual even decades later. I also welcome you and others to keep checking back for an update on my progress.

      Dennis Ecker

      Delete
    9. Dennis, you sometimes remind me of Hyman Roth from Godfather 2 whom Michael Corleone said was dying from the same heart attack for the last 20 years. Don't you think it's finally time to put whatever Harold Hermley may have done to you far behind you and get on with your life???

      Delete
  3. Even better would be for the State Supreme Court to give Lynn his freedom by dismissing the DA's frivolous appeal.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks to your excellent work, Ralph, this miscarriage of justice is becoming known to the world. As is the face of a liar. This whole charade is beginning to unravel. Those complicit need to start feeling really uncomfortable round about now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agree & God bless! Finally!

      Delete
  5. The title should say virus.
    This Billy Doe and others like him are a burden to society and the only cure is one pokw of the needle and a overdose that my friends is the only cure for people like him

    ReplyDelete
  6. Anonymous @ 1:46 I am sure we will learn your identity once you blow up the abortion clinic or shoot up a school full of kids.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No im just the guy who helps the Billy Does of the world get there mind right. Usually goes down as a unsolved mystery something like that. And i believe in right to choose and anybody who messes with kids should be torchered slowly and those who make up storys like the Billy Does should really have them things happen. U have a nice day.@ 1.46. Good work Ralph maybe someday will get the Racist Catholic Seth don.t tell the truth Williams and the courts will knock that chip right off his shoulder

      Delete
  7. cannot wait to see Billy lighting a cigar with a hundred dollar bill courtesy of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Leo - is that you?

      Delete
    2. How do you think he paid for his wedding?

      Drug addict with a step son. How do you think that is going to turn out?

      Delete
    3. 8:26 PM: Such a comment demonstrates that you neither are interested in the truth nor care if innocent people are railroaded by the likes of the Danny Gallaghers of this world. The vindictiveness of some of the commentators on this blog is frightening. Such people have forgotten the words of Christ who said: "The measure by which you measure will be measured back to you."

      Delete
  8. "Vindictiveness" Are you talking about anonymous @ 1:46 who wishes another person dead ? I have never picked sides but I have never read from the side of Daniel Gallagher wishing death upon any priest or any convicted person. I know that idiot does not speak for every Catholic or everyone who comments here but it makes you think about how many more like him/her are out there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Billy Doe may not have explicitly 'wished' death upon any priest. However, he certainly didn't give a rat's ass for any of the defendants when he spun his web of lies that resulted in the incarceration of 4 innocent men and the death of one priest.
      Scumbag!

      Delete
    2. Anonymous 9.13 since u feel sorry for people like Billy Doe and feel my wishing his death or incarceration is wrong i hope somebody in ur family brings a Billy Doe home for the holidays hopefully its a daughterer or niece let me know how u feel then.

      Delete
    3. I can see the headlines now. Nut shoots innocent people. Angered over the uphold of convictions of two priests and a school teacher. Kills self with own weapon.

      I'm sure you don't think this headline is wrong about you.

      Delete
    4. See u just don.t get it the guy lied his ass off and got people convicted of a crime he made up period and the junkie will get his some day and for me killing my self that woild never happen but bitch slapping ur slap dick ass around for sticking up for this Junkie prick pretending to be acomputer tough guy would be a pleasure and lol.

      Delete
    5. The hostility ! I will also guess there is a neighbor or two you wish to behead. Dude scratch that beard if it itches.

      Delete
    6. What is it with priests and those who defend them and their fetish with the buttocks. I am sure anonymous @ 6:46 would not like my ass because I'm not a little kid. LOL

      Delete
  9. Billy is now responsible for Engelhardts death ? Last thing I read on this blog was his death was being blamed on a lack of concern by hospital and prison staff.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Just heard from a reliable source that Billy's wife may have left him and that he is currently unemployed...down in Florida....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At 1:09 in the morning you "just heard from a reliable source that Billy's wife may have left him and that he is currently unemployed." Who is this reliable source you speak of who contacts you at 1:00 in the morning.

      I bet we will never get an answer.

      Delete
  11. If true can u imagine that even happening to this guy . He just such a unlucky guy. I guess he just cant carry a ralationship with all his past coming back to haunt him wonder who he.ll blame this time. May be he can reach out to slap dick anonymous 9.54 to help him out throw him a little money for a fix so he doesnt have to trick his sorry ass out. Lol

    ReplyDelete

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