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.

That's why Sorensen, according to Walsh, told the detective, "You're killing my case," Bergstrom said. Because she knew if Walsh was right, that Danny Gallagher was a liar, "my case is over," Bergstrom told the judges.

Judge Eugene Strassburger interrupted to ask if Sorensen's alleged statement "could simply be hyperbole."

No way, Bergstrom said. "She doesn't care," Bergstrom said about Sorensen. "She knows he's lying," he said about Gallagher, but she "put him on the stand" any way. "The Commonwealth had every reason to believe he's lying."

In rebuttal, Assistant District Attorney Anthony Pomerantz replied that it didn't matter what Walsh's opinion was of Danny Gallagher; nor did it matter what Sorensen believed. The only thing that mattered for Lynn to be guilty of endangering the welfare of a child, Pomerantz said, was for him to "knowingly violate" his duty to protect children from a known abusive priest. The monsignor did that, Pomerantz said, by allowing a known abusive priest to be put back in active ministry, where he could potentially harm more kids.

If Danny Gallagher is a liar, Pomerantz asked the judges, then why did that abusive former priest, Edward Avery, plead guilty back in 2012 to conspiracy to endanger the welfare of a child and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse?

Pomerantz didn't mention Avery's explanation under oath -- that the former priest, then 69, was looking at a prison sentence of 13 1/2 to 27 years in jail, and was facing a hostile judge, M. Teresa Sarmina, when he pleaded guilty to two crimes he testified he didn't commit.

"I didn't want to die in prison," the former priest testified, explaining why he took a sweetheart plea bargain on the eve of the Lynn trial, and got only 2 1/2 to 5 years in jail. He wound up serving the full sentence and was released from prison last year.

At his trial in 2012, Msgr. Lynn was convicted on one count of endangering the welfare of a child, and sentenced to 3 to 6 years in jail. He served 33 months of his minimum 36 month sentence before his conviction was overturned for a second time by the state Superior Court in 2016. The court had previously overturned Lynn's conviction back in 2013. This is the third time the never-ending Lynn case, now eight years old, has gone up on appeal before the Superior Court.

Today's hearing, under chandeliers and sconces in an ornate courtroom, began with Assistant District Attorney Pomerantz arguing that the panel of judges should overrule Judge Gwendolyn Bright's decision to limit the D.A.'s office to introducing as supplemental evidence, just three additional cases of sex abuse in the archdiocese.

Since the beginning of the case, the strategy of the D.A.'s office has been to put the Catholic Church on trial. They did that at the original Lynn trial by introducing as evidence 21 supplemental cases of sex abuse dating back to the 1940s, before Lynn was born. The supplemental cases were introduced as evidence to show a pattern in the archdiocese of covering up sex abuse.

But the state Superior Court overturned Lynn's conviction in 2016, by arguing that the prejudicial effect of the 21 supplemental cases, which took up 25 days of the 32-day trial, far outweighed their value as evidence.

In response, the D.A.'s office proposed introducing only nine supplemental cases at a retrial of the monsignor, but the trial judge, Judge Bright, approved only three cases. The D.A.'s office then appealed to the state Superior Court, asking the judges to overturn Judge Bright's decision because it allegedly was an abuse of her discretion.

Superior Court Judge Anne Lazarus asked Assistant District Attorney Pomerantz how it could be an abuse of the trial judge's discretion if Judge Bright was willing to allow the prosecution to present three supplemental cases of sex abuse to show a pattern of cover ups in the archdiocese.

Pomerantz's response was that the D.A.'s office had carefully reviewed all 21 supplemental cases, and narrowed the list down to only nine cases that Lynn was involved in. The D.A.'s argument was that Lynn was attempting to protect the church from scandal and abuser priests from jail "at the expense of those children," and that's why he should be convicted again of endangering the welfare of a child.

In response to the D.A.'s appeal over the supplemental cases, Bergstrom appealed another ruling of Judge Bright's, by arguing that the retrial of Msgr. Lynn should be thrown out on the grounds of double jeopardy, because of intentional prosecutorial misconduct.

Judge Bright found there had been prosecutorial misconduct at the original Lynn trial. The misconduct, the judge said, was that the prosecution never told the defense that Detective Walsh had questioned Danny Gallagher before the Lynn trial about several key discrepancies in his allegations of abuse. And that Gallagher had responded by either saying nothing, claiming he was high on drugs, or telling a new story.

But Judge Bright stopped short of throwing the retrial out on the grounds of prosecutorial misconduct, by ruling that the misconduct wasn't intentional. In his appeal, Bergstrom countered that the misconduct surely was intentional.

Judging by the tepid response both appeal motions got from the panel of judges, however, a knowledgable observer predicted that this time around, the state Superior Court will deny both the defense motion, as well as the prosecution motion. And that the appeals court will send the Lynn case back to Judge Bright for a retrial.

At today's hearing, Bergstrom didn't mention the recent discovery of Assistant District Attorney Sorensen's long lost notes from her original 2010 interview with Danny Gallagher, after he had just been bailed out of jail by the D.A.'s office, so he could testify against the church.

Sorensen and other prosecutors in the case had previously told three different judges that those notes didn't exist. Then, after a gap of eight years, those notes suddenly reappeared last month.

Bergstrom couldn't bring up those notes because they weren't previously introduced on the record in Judge Bright's courtroom. But when the case goes back to Judge Bright for a retrial, he's free to make plenty of noise about those notes.


  1. Nothing stops Archbishop Chaput from announcing that he and his lawyers have reviewed all the new evidence and find Msgr Lynn, Bernard Shero, and especially, Fr. Charles Engelhardt, INNOCENT.

    We can not expect the District Attorney's office to provide moral leadership, but there is still some hope that the Catholic Church leadership will champion the innocent.

    Hopefully, moral leadership from Archbishop Chaput will have a solubrious effect on the District Attorney

    1. Good idea, maybe a little pressure and some exposure from the Archdioceses is what is needed in this case. The prosecution is not going to help exonerate these men. The Inky will print what Chaput has to say on the matter, or the clergy need to speak at each and every mass to get something moving. Reprints of Ralph's columns should do it.

  2. Hi Ralph, great and timely reporting, as usual. I wonder how long (yawn!) it will take for the Superior Court to announce their ruling.

    If Monsignor Lynn once again has to testify in court, I would hope that Danny Gallagher would also be present as he was the supposed 'victim' of an imaginary three pronged attack.

    Maybe the only way to set the record straight and provide justice to Avery, Shero and Engelhardt's family is to have the trial with all the participants present.

    But I can't believe that Krasner will go through with this extremely embarrassing charade.

    Maybe he'll ask Lynn to cop a plea for time served.

    Let's see.

    1. They could have stopped the trial and let Lynn be a free man, but their egos will not permit it. Right now, in this charade, Lynn will almost certainly be convicted and the most they can get is to put Lynn in jail three more months before releasing him on parole.

      If anyone must answer for their behavior, it will have to be both Judges Sarmina and Ceisler and jailed former DA Seth Williams. Sarmina and Ceisler need to be removed from the bench and formally disbarred from the practice of law.ADA Blessington needs to be directed disbarred from practicing law. Kramer is no better

      what grants to do is to release hardened criminals to prey upon good people.

    2. James - - - in the event that there is a re-trial, I doubt that Lynn will be convicted if Danny Gallagher and Mariana Sorensen are subpoenaed to attend and if Walsh, Avery and Shero have the opportunity to testify.

      Have to watch Gallagher - though - as subpoenas seem to disappear at his house (joke).

      Lynn was convicted on the EWOC charge based upon Gallagher's testimony and Avery's plea.

      It seems extremely likely that Gallagher will be crucified when cross-examined. Lynn has the right to confront his accuser.

  3. Don't leave out the criminal Ed McCann. He was the 1st assistant to Rufus Seth Williams while all of this went on. If I remember correctly in one of Ralph's articles, it was Ed McCann who originally brought Welsh on board to work this case. I'm sure McCann played a part in trying to shut Walsh down as well. While Rufus Williams was running around selling the DA's Office, Ed McCann was running the show and orchestrating this criminal action by all those DA's in question along with several other crimes he committed utilizing that office and the DA's under him. Ed McCann is as much to blame, if not more than Rufus Seth Williams for the destructing of the integrity of that office. Hey Ed, I ask you again, have you had the conversations with Steele about all of your crimes? Does he know all the things you are guilty of you filthy piece of garbage.

  4. It was McCann who brought back Walsh. McCann has refused to comment.

  5. How is it that we now live in a city where murderers get treated better than the victims?
    I know Sorensen is gone, but why havent she, Blessington, and McCann been held accountable for their actions.
    Fr Englehardt died handcuffed to a bed and Mr Shero was publicly defamed because of those 3 and the other judges listed above
    How does this happen, when murderers get treated better?

  6. I blame the city's paper of record for completely and willfully ignoring this case, starting with the total lack of credibility of Danny Gallagher, and ending with the continuing misconduct of the prosecutors. In between, Detective Walsh came forward and filed a 12-page affidavit in court that completely torched this prosecution, and they ignored that as well.

    But you have to give them points for consistency.

  7. Since we know that prosecutors coerce witnesses to say what they want them to say and use terroristic threats again witnesses and their families,as well as using the threat of the loss of their liberty and financial loss to get them to testify to produce a guilty verdict.

    My theory is that Sorensen and company guaranteed Gallagher's freedom, also allowed his brother the lawyer to not have to testify against him and maybe spared the parents in some way, all to get his cooperation.

    He still is a lying ,scheming alter boy, but was he forced to lie for the prosecution ?

  8. Well they certainly cleaned up his arrest record; made six arrests, for retail theft and drugs, disappear. One of those cases was continued something like nine times with the permission of the DA's office while Danny Gallagher was testifying at two criminal trials.

    Then, after he was done as a witness, the DA's office let Gallagher into a program for first-time offenders that he did not even remotely qualify for, to make that last arrest disappear. So yes, it does look like there was some kind of deal struck between the prosecutors and Gallagher.

  9. Today, Danny Gallagher has a clean record and $5 million from the Catholic Church. So making up a pack of lies does pay.

  10. He would be considered a jailhouse witness, testifying for a reduced sentence.

    This is info the new jury needs to make an informed decision.

  11. Well the Inquirer has the Archdiocese on the front page again today. This time its Msgr McLoone who replaced Msgr Lynn at St Josephs in Downingtown. Charged with missing money and inappropriate adult realtionships. How the Inquirer like to skewer their own as Msgr McLoone's brother is a Sports Editor for them.
    Sent an email to David Gambacorta and Stan Wischnowski again that since they like to put Archdiocese news on the front page, maybe they would like to cover the Sorensen notes or Det Walsh stories.
    No reply yet

  12. Mr. McLoone asked or hoped that his brother Msgr.McLoone will be treated fairly, well that's a laugh, maybe he will feel differently about his employer and coworkers now that its a member of his own family who will be feeling the wrath of the media and the Justice Department.

    I have been hoping for this day, lets see if the editor stays silent or shares his thoughts on the treatment of his brother and Msgr. Lynn.

  13. Pomerantz must have thought he was in front of a jury of people that still believe prosecutors lies, or maybe it was for the benefit of the Inky reporters in the room.

  14. Why is there only like two or three stories a month on this site and this same story for the last 5 years ???????

    1. Well if the Inky does not feel the need to inform the public about the truth in matters involving the prosecution, check back in 20 years we will still be talking about this case.

      When it comes to atrocities against the civil rights of defendants the Inky turns a blind eye. We are horrified when we read about injustices in foreign lands, yet its rampant in our own country.

      If and when the main stream media decides to hold the prosecution liable for their actions,we must continue to discuss the civil rights violations against innocents.

      Ralph has recently had a book published on Senator Fumo, also has had articles picked up by Newsweek and other news outlets, as the local media in Philadelphia is not interested in the truth.

      One truthful article written in a lifetime is worth more than multiple articles everyday that do nothing to promote truth or bring justice to the unjustly accused.

    2. This blog was created seven years ago to track the archdiocese sex abuse trials, as well as an ongoing mob trial.

      We lost our sponsor two years ago, but have hung in there for one reason only: we are the only journalistic outlet in town chronicling the truth of the Billy Doe case. So we will persist in our mission until the job is done.

  15. Ralph - thank you once again for maintaining this blog. It is our only source of information concerning this miscarriage of justice against Mr Shero and Fr Englehardt. In this era of transparency, it is unbelievable that Sorensen, Blessington, Ceisler, and Sarmina havent been held accountable. How the public rag known as the Phila Inquirer has multiple articles today about Meek Mill - yet has run nothing about the DA charades against Mr Shero and Fr Englehardt. No helicopters for them - only handcuffs to a hospital bed. Pathetic
    Ralph - can I ask, whats next with the case?

  16. The state Superior Court has to rule on appeals from both the DA and the defense lawyers in the retrial of Msgr. Lynn. It's expected that the Superior Court will deny both appeals. Then, the case would be sent back to Judge Bright's courtroom for retrial.


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