Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Jury Convicts Priest, Teacher On Nine Of Ten Counts

By Ralph Cipriano
The Happy DA

Even the district attorney was surprised.

"I'm overjoyed; I did not expect it," District Attorney Seth Williams told reporters today after a jury convicted Father Charles Engelhardt and former Catholic lay teacher Bernard Shero on nine of ten counts in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia sex abuse case.

Given the way "the victim in this case" was "vilified" and subjected to lengthy cross-examination, Williams said, he would have understood if the jury had reached another conclusion, say an acquittal or a hung jury, and not the verdict that had the district attorney beaming.

Williams talked about the suffering of the victim, "Billy Doe," the former 10-year-old altar boy who was "passed from priest to priest to teacher" for alleged sex sessions in a church sacristy, a supply closet, and the back seat of Shero's car. Engelhardt faces a maximum sentence of 37 years in prison, Shero, a maximum of 57 years, when both men are sentenced on April 18.

As far as the DA was concerned, however, the judge can't give the two defendants enough time. The district attorney at today's press conference also castigated the archdiocese for its official response to the triple rape of Billy Doe. "They protect them," Williams said of the convicted rapists, "and then they "cover up. It's disgusting."

At 2:38 p.m. today in Courtroom 901, the jury foreman told Judge Ellen Ceisler that after three days of deliberations, the jury had reached a partial verdict. The panel of eight men and four women had come back with unanimous decisions on nine counts, but the jury was deadlocked on a tenth count.

The judge, noting the expense of another trial to the Commonwealth, asked the jury to go back and take another crack at trying to reach a verdict on that last count. By 3:30 p.m., the jury returned, saying they were still hopelessly deadlocked on the last count.

The jury foreman stood to read the verdict on nine other counts. Juror No. 3 was a white-haired Catholic woman who had told the judge during jury selection that she had gone to St. Jerome's in Northeast Philadelphia, the scene of the alleged crimes, and that she even knew one of Billy's alleged rapists.

"I do know Ed Avery, he was the priest at St. Dominic's," Juror No. 3 told the judge during jury selection. Despite that statement, both the prosecution and the defense approved of Juror No.3. Maybe the "smiling padre," as Ed Avery was formerly known, did not make a good impression on her.

The court crier asked Bernard Shero, the 49-year-old former Catholic school teacher from St. Jerome's to stand.

The jury foreman then read the verdict: guilty on rape of a child, guilty on involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child, guilty on endangering the welfare of a child, guilty on corruption of a minor, and guilty on indecent assault.

Next it was the 66-year-old Engelhardt's turn. The jury foreman announced that the jury had reached no verdict on a count of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child. But the jury's verdict on the other four counts was guilty on endangering the welfare of a child, guilty on corruption of a minor, guilty on indecent assault on a person less than 13 years old, and guilty on conspiring with Father Ed Avery to commit sexual assault on Billy Doe.

Neither Shero nor Engelhardt showed any emotion to the reading of the verdicts. Their families, however, were devastated. Shero's mother, who had testified about Bernard's 23 eye surgeries as a child, and his sister, a Bucks County EMT who worked nights, but attended every day of the three-week trial, were both crying. Engelhardt's sister and niece sobbed; Engelhardt's fellow oblates from the order of Francis DeSales, just sat there looking stunned.

Billy Doe was not in the courtroom, but his parents were. They left, however, without saying anything to reporters.

The judge revoked bail, and both defendants were placed under arrest. The judge announced that she would have both men kept in protective custody until sentencing.

The post-verdict scene outside CJC
Most courtroom observers were stunned by the verdicts. One reporter for a prominent news organization had predicted the jury would come back with a pair of acquittals last Friday, after the jury first got the case, and had deliberated for only two hours.

The lawyers who visited the courtroom during the trial had left predicting either outright acquittals, or at best, a hung jury. Nobody, not even Billy's partisans, expected a conviction. Even the former victims of sex abuse who visited the courtroom to show support for Billy Doe thought the two defendants would beat the rap.

The case was plagued with problems that began with the lone accuser. Billy Doe, as he was dubbed in the 2011 grand jury report, was a 24-year-old former daily marijuana smoker, magic mushroom eater, LSD tripper and heroin addict. He'd been in and out jail, and in and out of 23 different drug rehabs; among his recent arrests was a bust for possessing 56 bags of heroin.

Billy Doe told wildly differing accounts of the alleged attacks on him.

He told a social worker from the archdiocese that Engelhardt had attacked him after a 6:30 a.m. Mass when he was a 10-year-old fifth-grader at St. Jerome's during the 1998-99 school year. Billy said the priest locked four doors of the sacristy at St. Jerome, took off all his clothes and forced the boy to have oral sex. Then, Billy told the social worker, the priest flipped the boy over and pounded away at him with brutal anal sex from 7 a.m. until noon.

It was the only time he had sex with Engelhardt, Billy told the social worker. But Billy Doe told a detective from the district attorney's office that he had two sex sessions with Engelhardt, both involving masturbation. Billy told the jury in this case that he had one sex encounter with Engelhardt, involving oral sex.

Maybe that's why the jury deadlocked on the one count of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a minor; they couldn't agree on which version of Billy's story to go with.

During jury deliberations, the jury had asked the judge for Billy's direct testimony, but she said no, and that they should rely on their collective recollections.

Maybe the only thing the jury remembered was Billy's fifth grade picture, when he was a smiling 10-year-old in his parochial school uniform. That picture was displayed on courtroom TVs during the prosecutor's entire 82-minute closing statement.

There were plenty of other inconsistencies in Billy's stories.

Billy told an archdiocese social worker that Father Avery had "punched him in the head," and when he woke up, Billy was naked and tied up in altar sashes. Then, Avery anally raped Billy so brutally that he "bled for a week," Billy told the social worker.

When Billy testified before this jury, the punch in the head and the altar sashes were no longer part of the narrative.

The prosecution had another problem when they brought Edward Avery to court in a prison suit, and the defrocked priest shocked Assistant District Attorney Mark Cipolletti by telling the jury he had never touched Billy.

Avery told the jury he had pleaded guilty because he was facing 20 years in prison, and the prosecutors offered him 2 1/2 to five years. At the hearing last year when he pleaded guilty, Avery testified, nobody had ever bothered to ask if he did it.

Billy Doe told the archdiocese social worker that Bernard Shero had punched him in the face, and wrapped a seat belt around his neck before raping him in the back seat of a car. At the time, Billy was an 11-year-old sixth grader during the 1999-2000 school year.

Billy told the archdiocese social worker he had been raped in the classroom. Then he changed his story to say that the rape had taken place in the back of Shero's car while it was parked near a dumpster. Billy told this jury that the rape by Shero took place in Pennypack Park. But when Billy testified before this jury, the punch in the face and the seat belt wrapped around his neck were details dropped from the story.

There was no physical evidence in the case, and no corroborating witnesses. Just Billy and his stories about how he had been brutally raped by three men in two years, while his mother, a nurse, and his father, a Philadelphia police officer, and his doctor, who testified in the case, never noticed a thing. Not even a pair of bloody underwear. Are you kidding me?

Defense lawyers in the case were devastated by the verdicts. Michael J. McGovern, who represented Engelhardt, said of his client, "He will find a way to deal with this. He's a man of God."

McGovern, however, seemed to be a different story.

"There will not be a night that goes by, for many nights, that I don't ponder how I let him down," McGovern told reporters before he left the Criminal Justice Center.

Burton A. Rose said his client, Bernard Shero, was "very upset, very distraught." Rose talked in disbelief about all the inconsistencies in the case, and how a "soft, mild-mannered man" was upstairs in handcuffs, and on his way to jail.

Rose said that Shero would definitely file an appeal because his client didn't get a fair trial.

Meanwhile, the archdiocese sex trials are not over, District Attorney Williams warned. On March 6th, the district attorney will retry Father James J. Brennan, whose case last year ended in a hung jury.

Brennan's case seems pretty amazing when viewed in the light of what's happened to the other four defendants in the Philadelphia priest abuse trials.

Avery is doing 2 1/2 to 5 years; Msgr. William J. Lynn, 3 to 6 years.

Engelhardt and Shero face a combined total of 94 years in jail.

All four men continue to maintain their innocence; even Avery, who copped a plea.

And then there's Father James J. Brennan, the only defendant to admit to criminal conduct, namely showing porn to a 14-year-old boy, and then getting in bed with him.

And he's the only defendant out walking the streets.

Somewhere tonight, Father Brennan's lawyer, William J. Brennan [no relation], is sitting in a Center City bar, smiling and ordering another "Father Brennan," his nickname for one of his favorite drinks, a scotch and soda.


  1. Rose said that Shero would definitely file an appeal because his client didn't get a fair trial.

    The judge is corrupt, the DA is corrupt, the detective is corrupt and so on, and so on, and so on.

    I guess the defense attorney will only feel there was a fair trial unless the verdict is ruled in their favor.

    Engelhardt maybe sentenced to 30 some years in prison, Shero may get 50.

    However,I have already served 40 and counting. If not for me I hope my family can have a goodnight sleep tonight with a smile on their faces after hearing of the verdict.

    1. So are you alleging that Shero and Engelhardt - in concert and consultation with Avery and perhaps 5 other priests - abused you? On the altar, behind the bike shed, round the back of Blockbuster. Whatever. You could do - I'd think you'd have a fair chance of winning your case in the laughing stock that has become Philadelphia.
      Are you in fact Billy the Liar?

    2. How dare you make light of child rape. I grew up with Catholics like you. As it stands, they're just about the only ones left in the pews.

      Dennis should be smiling tonight with his family, not because men are going to prison but because pedophiles have been stopped.

    3. Thank You Sarah for those kind words. Individuals like justone1618 I laugh at. I picture individuals like him sitting in a recliner wearing his wife beater t-shirt drinking his can a beer and calling himself a devout catholic because he goes to church once a week and puts that $5.00 in the collection basket. I let people like him mouth off because it makes them feel better.

      What is sad is if he ever had a relative in his family abused by clergy he would have the same thought as he has here. My other concern is why is this individual wondering where my abuse took place, "bike shed, back of Blockbuster" places that had nothing to do with this case.


    4. Dennis is smiling because he contends (I will get exact words that I read recently) that "money" will make these alleged victims happy(includes himself) Amazing!

    5. When you quote me make sure you get it right, and if you accuse me of something make sure you are able to prove it. I HAVE NEVER BROUGHT SUIT AGAINST THE ARCHDIOCESE OF PHILADELPHIA OR THE OBLATES OF ST. FRANCIS since Fr. Hermley was of that order when he taught at Father Judge H.S.

      Now if you know something I don't or you know of an award PLEASE LET ME KNOW BECAUSE I HAVE NOT RECEIVED A DIME.

      and I believe the statement that I made was no matter what amount of money a victim may receive it will never take away the damage that was done, but the money would be able to make happier memories.

      Now I want to make it clear to you and everyone else who may read my comments. I AM NOT jumping up and down over the verdict, and my world would not come to end if they were found innocent. But as I stated above if my wife wants to open a bottle a wine, scream to the heavens and thank God because she feels they are guilty as hell so be it. She became a victim when she married me,

      You suprised me Josie. I have read your comments and always respected them. When did you become a "victim basher"?

    6. Well stated Mr. Ecker, the apologist's for the catholic church do not understand what it is like to go through life as a Victim , and as George Orwell stated : To tell the truth is a revolutionary act", something the rcc avoids. Dennis hang tough as the sunlight slowly will continue to shine in the dark corners to expose the enablers and abusers ! Where are you and your comments d. pierre ?

    7. Dennis, it amazes me the harshness with which "Catholic" people can treat a victim . Justone making abuse sound like a Clue board game and asking if you are Billy the liar. Josie with her claims of "the money" No matter what their opinions of the verdict in this case, they have to come gunning for you, a victim of abuse. Taking their anger out on someone who suffered as a young person (and adult). I am trying to remember what Commandment, Beatitude, Works of Mercy ,teaches to taunt a victim. There are different camps of Catholics around, some who have left, others who acknowledge the depravity of what has happened to children but want to keep their Faith and then there are those who will attack the most vulnerable because they see you Dennis, as someone who is attacking their Faith,the center of their being. That fear will never allow them to minister to you in the way that their Faith teaches.

    8. If they attack me that's fine. It gives me peace to know if they are attacking or taunting me they are not doing it to another victim who may still be dealing with the abuse and the decision to come forward and report the crime. I have come to understand that these individuals are trying to protect something they believe in, and at the same time not admitting to themselves the crimes the catholic church has committed over decades.

      To these individuals the case is over and the justice system has handed down a verdict. This is something in a few days that all will forget and the conversations will stop until the next court case in March. However, for me and other victims/survivors it continues. The saying that "you can never take memories away" is so true.

      I believe a very large percentage of Philly residents have forgotten the so-called internal investigations the archdiocese is suppose to be doing on suspected clergy of abuse. Findings that Chaput said he would release a year ago, and when I spoke to him via e-mail his response to me was "I should not pressure him to release the findings".

      So, fan of kopride don't be shocked when you read the attacks. Its normal. These individuals, TheMediaReport, and the Catholic League are trying to save a sinking ship.

    9. What I remember growing up Catholic is that we were all taught that if we leave the Catholic Church, we will have mortal sins on our souls and cannot go to heaven. And they really meant it back then. Don't know if they still teach that. But old school Catholics believe that they have to stay in the RCC to get to heaven. They can't believe these thousands of abuse stories and continue to stay in the RCC, so they have to fight victims, call children liars, and deny everything in order to secure their own salvation. That's my understanding of it anyway.

    10. Sarah; I too remember all too clearly the nuns teaching us in elementary school that there was no salvation outside the Catholic Church. And I believed that with my heart and soul. And then in June of 1961 I along with another altar boy was molested by a Catholic priest.He accused us of stealing altar wine and went about punishing us. He had us completely undress and had me first lay across his lap while he spanked me on my bare bottom.I could smell the alcohol reaking from the priest. When I went home and told my mother, she called the rectory and was assured it was my childhood imagination gone to extremes. After talking about it for two days, my mother who was a very devout Catholic told me to forget what had happened. So I did. I attempted suicide several times over the next year.Nobody ever knew because I was not successful. I built walls around me and let nobody in. Finally at the age of forty after years of depression, suicidal thoughts and years of alcohol abuse,the memories came back.The Catholics who attack victims because we dare to tell the truth about many of their priests and the coverup that continues to this day by the hierarchy are unfortunately blind to what is right in front of them.The Church refuses to take responsibility for the monster they have created. As the walls crumble around them, they see themselves as the victims and those of us who only want justice as the "bad guys".

    11. Jim, I read your story with interest. Can you elaborate on what you mean by "the memories came back"?

    12. Sure. Two years after I stopped abusing alcohol, while I was in group therapy, the memories of the abuse came back to me. There was a Catholic priest in my therapy group. That probably helped trigger the memories. Child victims of sex abuse often repress the memories until a time in their life when they can better process those memories.There are some who question the idea that memories can be repressed. I know for a fact they can. As a child, one will do whatever is necessary to get through the trauma. The alcohol also helped to keep the memories buried.

    13. Yes, Jim, that's right, there are an awful lot of people who question that memories can be repressed. In fact, the whole "repressed memory" concept has been exposed as bogus - despite it having been used successfully to bolster false accusations against priests (but we are seeing that the bar for convicting priests has been set very, very low).

      "The notion that traumatic events can be repressed and later recovered is the most pernicious bit of folklore ever to infect psychology and psychiatry. It has provided the theoretical basis for 'recovered memory therapy' - the worst catastrophe to befall the mental health field since the lobotomy era."
      Professor Richard McNally
      Director of Clinical Training, Department of Psychology,
      Harvard University
      Author of Remembering Trauma

      “I do not believe there’s such a thing as repressed memory. I haven’t seen a single instance in which a memory was completely repressed and popped up again....I go on science, not fads. And there’s absolutely no proof that it can happen. Zero. None. Niente. Nada. All my research says that strong emotional experiences leave emotionally strong memories. Being sexually molested would certainly qualify.”
      Dr. James McGaugh, University of California, Irvine (his expertise in the area of memory was once profiled on CBS’ 60 Minutes program).

    14. Justone1618: So I made the whole story up just to get the Pedophile priests and the Catholic Church. I don' t know what axe you have to grind with childhood victims of clergy abuse and frankly I don't care. I do know what I experienced and frankly you and other apologists for the Catholic Church have no effect on me whatsoever.As far as I'm Concerned people like you are equally responsible for the abuse of innocent children as the pedophile priests themselves. Do yourself a favor. Go back through the history of the Catholic Church. The sexual abuse of children has been going on since the beginning of Church History. At one time clergy who abused children were punished, some severely. For some reason the Modern Catholic Church has chosen to protect these men by attacking victims, moving priests from parish to parish and covering up the abuse.

    15. Justone, repressed memory is certainly a controversial topic in law and medicine. It has neither been proven as bogus nor been validated scientifically. There are some recent studies using fMRIs that show some promise as to discerning whether the memories are true or false. What is not particularly controversial is victim's inability to fully process the abuse by a trusted person as abuse, and the use of substances, including alcohol or drugs, to self medicate or further avoid thinking about the trauma. Again, if you look at the experiences of child porn victims, and I am assuming that photographic or video is sufficient proof of abuse even for you, there is significant avoidance and substance abuse in this group. Repressed memory therapy and hypnotic recovery are techniques that have been widely discredited. It sounds like Jim is describing a significant period of avoidance, a period of substance abuse, and then a confrontation of some of the issues that he used substances to avoid after he became sober. I'm not sure that what you are characterizing as "repressed memory" is really an apt description for what Jim describes. For obvious reasons, repressed memory elicited by suggestive therapists or hypnosis has created false allegations and even widespread hysteria. The McMartin case is probably the best example, and there are a number of controversial therapists who have been sanctioned for over suggestive techniques. Courts generally do not permit testimony of "repressed memory" by "experts" under either Daubert or Frye because there is no scientific validation. However, lay witness testimony about why they delayed reporting and efforts they took to "forget" the abuse is pretty mainstream. Again functional MRIs may ultimately provide the answer to this controversy. The theory being that different parts of the MRI light up in response to a true memory, than a fabricated story. They may ultimately prove to be the first valid "lie detectors" which may put me out of a job.

    16. The farcical McMartin Day Care case did serve one purpose: it prompted well over 100 scientific research studies which showed how both children and adults can and do form false memories, often aided and abetted by charlatan therapists.

      The bogus concept of "repressed memory" was a staple of the early years of the clerical abuse circus, better described as the Truth Abuse Scandal. The reality is that it is not a matter of not being able to remember traumatic episodes, but of not being able to forget them.

      Suspending reason for just a moment and indulging this fantasy world, resurfacing of these traumatic memories is, apparently, “triggered” by some event. A remarkable psychological phenomenon occurred in 2002 when, simultaneously, the “repressed memories” of hundreds of men in California suddenly resurfaced. These men had, according to their newly retrieved memories, all been abused by priests in the dim and misty past. Even more remarkably, this all coincided with new "window legislation" passed by the California legislature. The legislation allowed accusers to sue the Catholic Church during the 2003 calendar year no matter how long ago the alleged abuse occurred (notably, this legislation exempted public schools, where most institutional criminal abuse still occurs). Unfortunately, fMRI scans were not conducted – in the interests of advancing neuroscience – to ascertain whether that part of the accuser’s brain marked “piñata” would light up. The empirical evidence would suggest, however, that reading about – or being told about, perhaps - diocesan pay-outs may indeed be assumed to be a not uncommon “trigger” for the resurfacing of “repressed memories.”

    17. Justone, I don't disagree with your assertions about issues surrounding repressed memory. I can't speak for California, but expert testimony about this concept would be excluded in PA and would probably be excluded in CA federal courts. It just hasn't been sufficiently validated. They say that "hard cases" make bad law and the discovery of clergy files documenting the church's systematic cover up of credible or admitted child abuse that could not be prosecuted civilly or criminally created the type of hard cases that set a dangerous precedent. Statutes of limitations exist for valid reasons because it can be difficult to defend these allegations after a long passage of time. I am not in favor of ridiculous periods to bring these claims. The equitable doctrine of fraudulent concealment seems adequate to address the "hard case." And you are right that secondary gain can loom large in delayed claims.

      I still don't think that what Jim is talking about is repressed memory. His mom told him to forget it, and he listened to his mom. He was successful in trying not to think about it, but unsuccessful in getting over it. When he got sober and entered therapy, he confronted his childhood memories. True farcical repressed memory involves very suggestive therapy and memories about events that were never reported in childhood or early adulthood. In Jim's case, there was a contemporaneous report. He was told by adults that it was all in his imagination and that he should forget about it. That's a different kettle of fish.

  2. Wow. wow. wow. It will take a while to process this. I'm not an idiot that thinks that there hasn't been evil in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. I knew so many of the priests in the first Grand Jury Report...and was devastated.

    But, still, wow, wow, wow. I don't think we need to keep making current priests or lay people pay for the sins of the past.


  3. Such a blatant miscarriage of justice is despicable. If there is a silver lining it is that it sheds yet more light on the many wrongful convictions of Catholic clergy that have transpired in the US over the last decade. Many, many innocent men sit behind bars due to the lies, fraud and corruption that have found a safe haven in US courts. I was not born in the US. I would be embarrassed to see the justice system of my country of birth tarnished in this manner. An utter disgrace.

    1. Well, tell us about the justice system of the country of your birth. Have you been held in the United States against your will?

  4. I'm one of Billy's partisans, and I expected convictions. Although Catholics appear to think nothing of suicide, I believed all along the jury would be unable to explain it away. He tried to kill himself on the day he was arrested. And made no assertion of innocence in his suicide note to his parents.

    The trial opened with the defense counsel's threat to bring in the victim's brother to testify against his brother. And then they never mentioned him again. Was the brother ever on the witness list? That was a super bad move.

    And then Avery's wild performance recanting his guilty plea, and making it all look like a big surprise, had to leave the jury stone cold. The man pled guilty to conspiracy among other charges. It was proven before the trial started that a conspiracy had taken place. Avery pled guilty and Lynn was convicted.

    So, as the trial started, a man is trying to kill himself, a conspiracy has been established, desperate attempts are made to scare the victim with his brother's testimony and with the threat of being mercilessly grilled on the witness stand. We hear that children had to drive the pedophile out of the neighborhood by throwing rocks at his house because they were afraid of him. That is a mountain of evidence, compared to what you'd find in most any rape trial.

    End it up with the defense's decision to have neither defendant testify, even though one of them tried to kill himself expressly to avoid trial.

    How did anyone think there wouldn't be at least some convictions? The conspiracy had already proven and one priest already pled guilty to the rape. The defense did a terrible job, thinking that the jury was going to buy all these stunts.

    One bonus here, though, if Lynn keeps protesting he's innocent, he'll be serving his whole sentence like Avery is likely to do. Parole Boards will not release an inmate with no remorse because they're still pretending they didn't do anything.

    All of these men committed these filthy crimes. And the endless cries of Catholic bashing are beginning to fall on deaf ears by the time we see that thousands of these priests raped Catholic children. Stop being so incredulous. Read about Ireland and Australia. Do something about your church or just leave it. Stop supporting this madness against children.

    1. Your first paragraph is arguing from silence. Your fourth paragraph is based on secondhand hearsay.

      There is a rather large precedent for those falsely accused of molestation being suicidal.

      This case would not have even made it to trial in most any other country. The word of one sole claimant combined with heaping doses of speculation, preying on emotions, and secondhand hearsay, and what you have is not a jury trial. What you have is a mob mentality.

    2. Most any other country? You've heard of Australia, Ireland, Canada, and Germany, right? Back here in Philadelphia, there's many rape trials with little evidence. Many last only a day or two.

      Talk about secondhand hearsay, what is that large precedent for those "falsely accused" being suicidal? How many can you actually name? I don't know if Gordon Macrae was actually suicidal, but he wasn't falsely accused. Any others?

      The defense did a terrible job here trying to fake out the jury. It backfired.

    3. Sarah, I don't know where to start. Your anti-Catholic animus shows on every site where you comment. A "mountain of evidence"? Kids committing a crime themselves by vandalizing a man's home is part of that mountain? You really don't believe what you write, do you?

      How about real evidence? If Billy bled for a week, how did his parents not notice any bloody clothing? Billy didn't present one witness who saw him get in a car with Shero. I guess you think a GPA going from 85 to 80 is evidence of guilt. A real critical thinker you are.

      Your obsession with Shero's suicide note and attempt to kill himself would be comical if the legal result wasn't so tragic. Shero was under no obligation to assert his innocence in that note, and not doing so is not an admission of guilt. Hope you are never on a jury given the twisted way you see things.

      What happened here is a miscarriage of justice, a group of jurors looking to punish the Catholic Church for decades of inaction. If I believed Fr. Engelhardt and Bernard Shero were guilty, I'd drive them to jail myself. As it is, two innocent men will be sentenced for crimes that did not occur.

    4. Why are Catholics identifying child abusers by their religion? Who cares what religion is involved? The jobs these people had, Priests brothers,are the only connection to faith here. Catholics Cardinals keep making child rape about a fake attack on the faith; because they want to hide behind the altar. It's safer there for them. Stupid Catholics (a small vocal minority) will see the search for criminals as an attack on religion if the criminal enablers hide behind a cross.
      It's not about the faith . It's about rape.

    5. "Why are Catholics identifying child abusers by their religion? Who cares what religion is involved?"
      Jim Robertson posts on several other sites. He claims to be a victim, and never hides his hatred of the Catholic Church. He is of the same ilk as SarahTX2 and the other bigots who also post their venomous bile on other sites.
      The hypocrisy of the above rhetorical questions is breathtaking. I invite you to read them again.
      I won't insult the intelligence of more enlightened readers, or dignify the questions with a response that is all too obvious. Better to let the hypocrisy hang in the air.
      "Who cares what religion is involved?"

    6. Justone, you insult the intelligence of everyone consistently by getting mad at observers instead of analyzing the unanimous verdicts. Tell us here and now: do you believe that all 12 members of the jury were malicious anti-Catholic bashers?

    7. @Ken "This case would not have even made it to trial in most any other country." You're right about certain countries. In a muslim country, I think you need like 7 male witnesses to a rape. Maybe we should go back to that rule if a priest is accused. There should be a special rule that you need seven actual witnesses to any situation where a priest or catholic school teacher rapes a kid. Every other slob can get convicted on the word of one victim, but we will make a special rule for priests. Because isn't that the real problem--not that the priest didn't get equal treatment, but that he didn't get special treatment.

      I'm sorry for you Ken. Like you, I grew up around priests who were fundamentally decent hard working people who served their community honorably. They sacrificed their lives to their faith and accomplished truly miraculous things with the help, effort and money of the broader catholic community. They built hospitals, schools, churches, charities; and served communities that nobody initially gave two craps about; much of it financed by the weekly contributions of hard working catholics. But as that older generation of priests retired and passed on, I saw more and more pretenders; more clergy that enjoyed the power and money that came with playing politics; fewer builders and teachers and more caretakers and toadies. And in order to hold onto the old structure, they allowed their standards to slip and protected morally bankrupt individuals for the greater good of the clergy and their own reputation. They became more aloof and less concerned about the welfare of their parishioners and more about pleasing the bishops and cardinals.

      I'm sorry, but I can't defend the decision to transfer and protect the Avery's and Brennans; to punish and humiliate the Picards; the decision to elevate the Lynnes as the Cardinal's secret keeper and cloak and dagger corps; the decision to retain Stradley Ronon to play with the lives of victims. I certainly can't defend the narcissism of Bevilacqua or Krol living and decorating their mansions and shore homes while they closed schools and parishes.

    8. To answer SarahTX2's question above, I think the members of the jury made an awful decision which they will live with for the rest of their lives. It is safe to assume there was an anti-Catholic clergy prejudice, which would range from being present in the collective unconscious for some of the jurors to quite explicit and motivating for others.
      As to the verdict, I read comments on last night which were highly skeptical and critical of it - including from one of the alternate jurors from the trial (he was released Friday evening) expressing great surprise at the verdict, given what he had seen and heard during the trial. He and his wife were posting and you were haranguing them for some reason.
      Why would you do that?

    9. They were switching back and forth under the same name. People expressing sincerely felt beliefs don't run a tag team in comments. I felt that she was either mad at her husband or made the story up.

      Thanks for your comments on the jury. You must be wondering how these accomplished defense lawyers could end up with a jury that is unanimously anti-Catholic. Do you think it's possible that the entire jury pool was tainted with anti-Catholic sentiment so that there wasn't much choice?

  5. "I'm one of Billy's partisans". You might want to reconsider laying claim to such status.

    "Although Catholics appear to think nothing of suicide." There you go again. There are over a billion Catholics in the world. You have no idea what was going through Shero's mind. Your claim is absurd.

    "(he) made no assertion of innocence in his suicide note to his parents." Nor of guilt. Remember that old chestnut about innocent until proven guilty? No, I didn't think so.

    "And the endless cries of Catholic bashing are beginning to fall on deaf ears." Actually, having perused comments on a few news websites (particularly Philadelphia ones), quite the opposite is occurring. People are realizing this is little more than a witch hunt.

    "Read about Ireland and Australia." Yes, we know that business for SNAP is drying up in the US with so few cases of Catholic clergy abuse - just 7 "credible" cases involving current minors in 2011. "Beware an anti-Catholic witch hunt in the royal commission," writes Andrew Bolt in the Herald Sun. Instead of trying to prejudice the outcome, SNAP would be well advised to heed his words. In fact, abuse within the aboriginal community is the real issue in Australia, just as it is within families in the US. What is SNAP doing about that?

    "Do something about your church or just leave it." Ah, the desperate plea and the true motive. Not a chance. Catholics have something you lack: a sense of perspective. They know there have been Judas priests in the past. Just as one of the Apostles was a traitor. But eleven were good men. And they know that what took place in the past is dwarfed by what occurs across our society. Today. That SNAP chooses to ignore the latter is to its unending shame.

    1. Well, being that I have zero affiliation with SNAP, your entire argument is moot.

    2. That was so beautifully and eloquently spoken. Thank you!

    3. SNAP is the Church's own counter intelligence creation. Those of us victims in Los Angeles who worked "with" them, know this to be a sad fact.
      Ralph does the Beasley firm have any fiduciary connections to the Catholic church? This is the third time I've asked this, as yet, unanswered question?

  6. Ralph, what do you think? I still can't get my head around this.


    1. We need more reporting on this subject.

    2. Ralph,

      This is a miscarriage of justice. The only crime committed in this case happened yesterday. The jury convicted these men before they walked in the courtroom day 1. They obviously did not listen to his teachers and the other members of the school that confirmed none of this could have happened the way Billy said it did. They obviously did not listen to the three versions of his story and find any doubt. All they did was know a drug addict and criminal was blaming others for his problems and thought it was there duty to crucify these men to make it right. It is not. A grave injustice and innocent men are paying for the sins of others. I hope the pending 56 bag heroin case does not get swept under the rug for this lowlife now by the DA. He should be in jail with the two innocent men in this case.

    3. Ralph, I'm wondering myself if you think all 12 members of the jury were anti-Catholic.

  7. Shocked they were convicted. I am happy Billy has some measure of justice.

    I thought they were going to walk. Still can't wrap my brain around it. .

    I'd love to hear from some jurors about what made them convict. I have to believe Avery yelling he was innocent backfired. Gives a very strong argument for the entire system being a cesspool. Let a jury listen to a priest LIE on the stand under an oath, "so help me God." What was the defense thinking?!?!

  8. The prosecution called Avery and it backfired. Please know your facts. The jury had it in for the catholic church. These guys did not have a chance. It was a waste of time. This kid was never abused. He made this up and had a good coached three years to get ready. I hope he gets a conscience one day and tells the truth. He destroyed families yesterday, that is all he did. Based on lies...

    1. Wow Chippy, you live inside Billy Doe’s head and know it all from that perspective? You’re inside the jury’s heads and know they “had it in” for the Catholic Church? You’re all knowing? Nah, you’re disappointed and upset and want your world back where things were reliable and that made you feel secure. What this case and really, all of these cases have done is announce that the world where priests were beyond suspicion is GONE. And who announces this but the weakest and most vulnerable among us, people whose persons and spirits were violated when they were children and who have survived to tell the tale. The jury didn’t have it in for anyone---they simply found Billy Doe’s testimony more credible.

    2. Molly, What world do you live in? Do you live in a world where you think jurors look at the facts in these cases and decide reasonable doubt, or do you live in a world where jurors take justice into there own hands because they or a small few at least, have an agenda against the church. These men should not be paying for the sins of others if they did not do anything. Look at the articles on this blog, specifically Ralph's recap above. Look at what was produced by the prosecution:
      -Billy tells multiple stories to a social worker, a detective, and the grand jury. THREE DIFFERENT STORIES = Doubt
      -He says he was high when he told the social worker version 1 = That alone is resonable doubt
      -His father was with him the day he spoke with the social worker, which is the same day the diocese took these men out of service - Yet he was high? High at his house? On Heroin? His dad did not testify that he was high, and actually it was said that he was in rehab at the time, over this two day period, coming out to a man at the rehab. Yet he was high on heroin on the one day he spoke to this social worker? = Doubt
      -The rehab worker was not called by the prosecution? = Why not if he was confided in about these heinous crimes first as an adult?
      -The prosecution produces a witness, even though he is a priest, and THEIR witness says he did not know this kid, speak with Engelhardt about the kid, or know anything that happened to him. This is a prosecution witness, not a defense witness!!!! = Doubt
      -And this jury still ruled guilty of conspiracty??? How? They only person who talked about the priests talking to each other was Billy and the DA? All testimony produced serious doubt that these two priests even talked to each other, except for a spaghetti dinner on random wednesday nights, with 5 other people in the rectory. = DOUBT
      -The recollection of the two other alter boys called by the prosecution to talk about Billy changing demeaner - DID NOT REMEMBER FATHER ENGELHARDT. Directly asked by McGovern - Do you remember my client from your 8 years at the school and 4 years as an alter boy: The answer from both was NO = Doubt
      -As Ralph points out above, and as many readers of this blog have stated, "Calling Balls and Strikes" throughout this case.
      "There was no physical evidence in the case, and no corroborating witnesses. Just Billy and his stories about how he had been brutally raped by three men in two years, while his mother, a nurse, and his father, a Philadelphia police officer, and his doctor, who testified in the case, never noticed a thing. Not even a pair of bloody underwear. Are you kidding me?" = DOUBT
      -The friend Leo Hernandez is told about this abuse twice. 1st time when two fifteen year old kids are drinking in Billy's basement and the other when they are in a northeast philly bar. And when a addict is supposed to be recovering from some of the most addictive drugs we know, pills, heroin, cocaine - Are they supposed to be out drinking alcohol? If you knew an addict in recovery, would you think it would be a good thing for him to be in a bar after work? = Doubt
      -The scene of the crime: 4 doors locked in a chruch where anyone can come and go and know one during the two incidents happened to be around? One door led to the school. One led to the bathroom for parishiners at the church. - Yet during these two incidents not one person, parishiner, nun, teacher, other priest was around and noticed that all 4 doors were locked. And the school personnel testified that those doors were never locked. People who, maybe you disagree, don't have an agenda here. = Doubt

      Billy says he was molested by Avery when he was part of the bell choir maintenance in the 5th grade. No 5th, 6th, or 7th graders were ever part of the bell choir maintenance crew at St. Jeromes in the past 25 years. Never, not one kid, especially the scrawny 5th grader portrayed in his picture by the prosecution = Doubt

      I can go on and on and on. And on and on and on.

    3. The problem is that you people have a real argument for abuse in the Church. We all fell bad for what happened to REAL VICTIMS, like Mr Ecker and Robertson, etc. But you and they, should be appalled by the lies in this case. This kid makes the real abuse cases look so unreal, such a scam. And those real victims should not feel elated IN THIS CASE. This kid has taken everyone for a ride. For whatever reason the jury did not listen to any testimony contradicting one kids story. Prosecution witnesses and defense witness both gave testimony causing real doubt. These are facts you can't argue against. REAL DOUBT.

      But a jury took it upon themselves to crucify the church for whatever reason. They did not stay true to the oath they took when they signed on for this case. They had an agenda. Families of this accused men are ruined today and will not heal soon. Dio you have an sympathy for them after reading my statements of dubt above? How would you feel if an innocent relative or friend was convicted in this way, without a fair trial?

    4. Chippy 111, and, as always, innocent men are behind bars and have their pictures and names splashed all over the media, while a drug-addled serial liar enjoys anonymity and the prospect of ill-gotten gains rescuing him - temporarily - from the shipwreck that is his life. I wonder if a name has yet surfaced for this fraudster? Or if any more information, links, photos etc about him have been posted so that people in the neighborhood to where he has retreated can be warned that they have a false accuser in their midst.
      When the judicial system fails so spectacularly, people come to the conclusion that they can only correct injustices via other means.

  9. Frank Talk and others, the verdicts were unanimous. Stop and think about that for a moment. All 12 jurors voted to convict on all counts except one. None had reasonable doubt. No need getting mad at me about it. No juror cared what I thought. If you don't like my suggestions as to how that came about, what's yours? If you see no possibility of convictions, are you proposing that all 12 members of the jury were malicious anti-Catholic bashers?

    There was no reasonable doubt with 12 jurors. For my part, I feel pretty sure it's because of the suicide, the ridiculous appearance of Avery, the shameless use of the brother, the prior plea by Avery, the conviction of Lynn, and the failure of either defendant to get on the witness stand and declare himself innocent. That would have been enough for me and apparently it was enough for the jury. You can stay mad at me about it if you want or if that helps you. But that's just illogical.

  10. For those of you who have no actual jury experience or first hand experience of how juries work, I would ask that you refrain from jumping to conclusions based upon news reporting. Every defendant who has ever been convicted of a crime will give you a reason why the jury was prejudiced and why they were unfairly convicted. It's because they were a minority, and minorities don't get a fair shake; or that the victim was a woman, or a man, or they were white, etc., etc. Now the claim is that a priest can't get a fair shake. OK, a few months ago, a Philadelphia jury refused to convict a priest that admitted sleeping with a boy and showing him porn--and they heard mountains of evidence that the church harbors and protects pedophiles. That same priest had been drummed out of O'Hara and was living with a young boy in a convent--And the jury didn't convict Brennan.

    Every day in Philly, jurors convict rapists based upon the uncorroborated testimony of the victim alone. It is the classic "He said/she said" case. In many cases, the accusers have baggage equal to or greater than Billy. Recently, some victims of child pornography sued the viewers of that porn for restitution.Those victims often had drug and criminal offenses, but the actual crime was recorded and viewed by others, so there is no real doubt that the abuse occurred.
    The whole argument that Billy was a CPOS, and therefore should not be believed is simply belied by the actual experiences of children whose abuse is absolutely unquestioned. They do not have happy adult lives. Instead, they are likely to drop out of school, become parents as teens, have substance abuse problems, be further victims of abuse, and get convicted of crimes; in other words, they're like Billy. In contrast, Billy's brother who was not abused, is relatively successful.

    In this case, the ADA presented evidence of one priest who pleaded guilty to abusing this boy. The jury was free to credit Avery's guilty plea rather than his efforts to recant at trial. The jury was free to credit Billy's testimony; the testimony of his mother; and his friend-Veteran. Once evidence was presented that Avery, a known child abuser, was placed at St. Jerome despite his history of abuse; and the plea that established that he did abuse Billy; the jury was free to discredit the testimony of the St. Jerome witnesses because it was inconsistent with evidence of a known child abuser who admitted prior abuse of one child; and pleaded guilty to abusing Billy. The defense did not testify, which is not evidence of guilt; but they did not present evidence on their own behalf to establish an alibi or other affirmative defenses. The jury was free to evaluate Billy's inconsistencies in the context of an individual who had been traumatized by one admitted child abuser, Avery; and determine whether two additional cases of abuse had made it more likely that his recollection may have some inconsistencies.

  11. Personally, I probably would not have convicted these two men based upon the version Ralph presented in the blog; but I didn't see and evaluate Billy, Avery, or the other witnesses as a juror. You are certainly free to disagree with the verdict and state honestly that you would have reached a different result based upon the evidence you read in this blog. Claiming that they were biased, unfair, or anti-catholic priest lacks any evidence. You don't know these people. They were fully vetted by two very competent and experienced criminal defense lawyers before they were sat as jurors; and they sat through the whole trial. You could say that the jurors who did not convict Brennan were equally irrational. What normal adult sleeps with a young boy or shows him porn? But we weren't the jurors who eyeballed these witnesses and followed the court's instructions. The same is true in this case. A unanimous jury of twelve duly chosen and sworn jurors convicted these two rapists. They heard the evidence, listened to the arguments of counsel, followed the court's instructions, asked questions for clarification during deliberations, and rendered a lawful verdict. The record will be examined by an appellate court for any legal errors.

    A Brooklyn jury recently convicted a Hasidic counselor of abusing a girl. Were they anti-semitic? The catholic clergy cover up spanning decades is a fact. Does it affect how jurors view clergy abuse cases, probably. Jurors today are less likely to view clergy abuse cases with the idea that the clergy member automatically is entitled to greater credibility and consideration because he is a priest. They see them as normal men who have no special monopoly on truth or virtue. That is the reversal. Priests (and other clergy) are merely treated equally in courts today; they are no longer given special treatment. Catholics want to believe that their priests are special had have a special insight into morality and truth. So when a regular poor slob comes in and accuses a priest or their church of criminal behavior, they are offended when the priest (and institution) does not get special consideration. Catholic apologists equate equal treatment with being anti-catholic because fundamentally, they do not believe a poor slob like Billy stands on equal footing with one of their princes. And most of these accusers will be poor slobs because getting raped or abused as a child often causes permanent damage and harm to the victim. This was a rape case and these men are now convicted rapists. Typical victim with baggage raped by the typical perp who held a position of trust.

    1. Kopride goes to great lengths to come over as an impartial, voice-of-experience, let's-look-at-all-the-facts-of-the-case commentator with no prior agenda. He unwittingly exposes himself with the following glorious Freudian faux pas:

      "A unanimous jury of twelve duly chosen and sworn jurors convicted these two rapists. They heard the evidence, listened to the arguments of counsel, followed the court's instructions, asked questions for clarification during deliberations, and rendered a lawful verdict."

      You see how bigotry and prejudice undoes the careless hand. According even to the otherwise erroneous verdict in this case, these are not "two rapists." The jury returned a verdict of no-finding in the charge against Englehardt of raping a child (phrased in PA law as “involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child”). Given the complete lack of credible evidence, the no-finding (as opposed to not guilty) verdict in this charge is astonishing. But it is already clear enough that this was a miscarriage of justice. Hopefully the true motives and disposition of Kopride are a little clearer after his slip on this particular banana skin.

    2. Justone, it's tough to interpret the grading of the actual sex offenses from the description that Ralph gives. I'm not sure if Engelhardt was convicted of Aggravated indecent assault on a child or just indecent assault. I also don't know how the conspiracy or the corruption charges are graded, but I am assuming that they are felonies. I was using "rapists" in the colloquial sense referring to a person convicted of felony grade sexual offenses involving children, in the same way I would refer to a convicted "thief" even if it involved embezzlement or a related theft offense. But technically, you are correct and I should have referred to them as convicted sex offenders, or just "child molesters." Feel better?

      I like when Catholics refer to Freud or a Freudian Slip as being a valid psychological concept, or even as being consistent with Christian theological concepts. If you accept the idea of the unconscious mind within the whole idea of psychoanalysis, I'm not sure how you square that with Aquinas idea of Free Will as set forth in Summa Theologica. So I either used the term rapist as a product of my repressed subconscious, and therefore I am not responsible for the phrasing because it arose from childhood sexual fantasies, perhaps an Oedipal Complex. Or Thomas is right and by the exercise of my own voluntary free will I intentionally exaggerated a convicted child molester and characterized him as a "rapist."

      In this context, I'm going with Summa Theologica. I said rapist because it reflected my actual revulsion towards convicted sex offenders. It was the voluntary product of my free will. i hope that you are just as scrupulous at correcting these colloquialisms when the convicted child molesters are unaffiliated with the RCC.

    3. The conspiracy charge against Engelhardt was a felony one. The indecent assault was on a person less than 13 years old. That's all I have.

    4. To Kopride, most people are clear in their minds what “rape” means. You labeled a priest a “rapist” when not only common sense, but a jury determines that he is not. That would appear to be libel.
      Trying to explain away your accusation by resorting to the colloquialism excuse is disingenuous and pernicious. The same could be said of the cartoon caricature “pedophile priest,” a term also based on ignorance, distortion and misrepresentation.

    5. Yes, in most people's mind, indecent assault on a child would be characterized as "rape." If he sued me for libel because the jury did not specifically find penetration, I would win. Rape and rapist are fair descriptions. You could describe a person convicted of manslaughter as a murderer. It is a lesser degree of murder but felonious killing of another is "murder" in the colloquial and common law sense. Felonious sexual assault is rape by any reasonable interpretation. The absence of penetration doesn't really seem to be a meaningful distinction. And under common law, rape involved only forced sexual intercourse with a woman not your wife. Other offenses would be buggery or sodomy.

      But I will concede your point, this post is about the verdict and not the colloquial understanding of the term rape. I should have been more precise. Characterizing a mere molester of children as a "rapist" is not technically correct, and does a grave disservice to the priests who merely molested children but did not penetrate them. In the protective custody wing of the jail, Engelhardt should have more street cred and status than Shero. The Cardinal will have to pray more for the soul of Shero and Avery than Engelhardt.

    6. I think what the Cardinal will pray for is that justice will be done, and that three innocent men will soon be exonerated.

    7. Justone, I have said repeatedly that I would not have convicted these defendants based upon what Ralph reported. That doesn't mean they are innocent. As for justice, I have serious issues with the legal framework underlying Lynne's conviction. But he is far from innocent in any moral sense. Avery pleaded guilty and was an admitted abuser even before he got to St. Jerome's. his sentence is neither unjust nor undeserved.

      The church has no interest in justice beyond its own self preservation. If the Cardinal prays at all, he prays that delusional Catholics will continue to throw money in the plate and that the US Goverment continues to subsidize catholic charities. The RCC is a floundering corporation with bad leadership; and a tired product. If a Cardinal's prayers are what they are selling, few are buying.

    8. "Your first paragraph is irrelevant."
      Ok, Avery's guilty plea is irrelevant. And that is the problem with you folks. Even when priests plead guilty, you don't believe it. Lynne's trial produced a mountain of evidence that the church moved and protected abusers, much of it at the behest of the Cardinal through his hand Bill Lynne. Morally repugnant, perhaps obstruction of justice for which the statute of limitations had expired, but conspiracy? So, no, the grounds underlying Lynne's conviction are not irrelevant. They may be what gets him out of jail, but again--he wasn't innocent. He got a way with a whole series of crimes (Obstruction) and was convicted for a very novel theory. The man you mentioned was raped by Avery--he pleaded guilty to it. Out of respect for the one undisputed act, you shouldn't drop the name of this troubled adult; and I am unsure what you mean by target. Are you going to shoot him in the back?

      "2,000 years and still going strong"

      The Chinese kingdoms, dynasties, and empire spanned more than 2000 years. So did Egypt. how are they doing? As a religion or feature of the entire existence of humanity back to the dawn of civilization, it has existed for a relatively brief period. It is practically irrelevant in most of Western Europe and Scandinavia; it is declining in North and South America. US seminaries graduated about 500 seminarians last year, less than 1/3 they need to keep the numbers. Most of its relatively limited growth is in the Third World. Catholic school enrollment continues to decline and parishes continue to close. Any "success" the church proclaims only is couched in terms of its overall relative decline. Religious affiliation, in most cases, arises from the accident of birth, and the societal benefits that accompany membership or affiliation. If you were born in Saudi Arabia, you would be a very strict Sunni Muslim and be just as deluded that you were practicing the true faith for the reasons mentioned above. Most catholics voted for Obama and disagree with the Pope's stated position on birth control, divorce, and gay marriage. Catholics have abortions at the same rate as non-catholics. Aside from a place to practice some rituals such as baptism, weddings, and funerals to keep Mom and Gran happy, it is virtually irrelevant to the vast numbers who state a catholic affiliation.

  12. What a relief to hear from kopride. I agree with every word. Doesn't matter if I do or don't, but what a relief to have these matters articulated so well. Thank you for taking the time to break it down. No matter how much reporting we read, our understanding cannot compare to being a juror in the courtroom. Much appreciated.

  13. All I have to say to sarahx, kop...., you seriously need to get a hobby. I maybe look at the site once a day. Get a life and know the facts or be present in the court room before you add your personal "expertise." I imagine you looking forward to people replying to your biased comments. If this is the only excitement in your life, I really feel bad for you.

    1. I was there , what do you want to know ?

    2. Thanks for replying to my biased comments. I looked forward to hearing from you. You're just mad because I called it and you didn't. You were way, way off, Frank. Not even close. But don't be such a sore loser. Your church is involved in dozens of child rape cases and your church just might win one if you hang in there long enough. Next up for national attention is Cardinal Mahony of Los Angeles. Do you want to take a stab at how that one's gonna turn out?

    3. Arthur,

      If you were there, as was the writer of this blog (EVERY MINUTE OF THE TRIAL) how is it that you have a 100% different interpretation than him on the outcome. I believe you are a friend or relative of Billy. I obviously can't prove it, but that is my assumption. To hear a veteran non-biased journalist like Ralph give the play by play for two weeks and then be absolutely shocked at the verdict speaks volumes. The decision in this case is without logic and human decency. You can be a church and priest hater, but please look at the real testimony in this case that you apparently heard. If you can say they were guilty beyond a reasonable doubt then you have an agenda. It is a shame that today in society, a drug addict, convicted felon is believed over good, upstanding character witnesses and non-biased school teachers and nuns who contradict this could have happened the way Billy says it did. Plus the fact that there were three versions of this is doubt alone. Check out the article from 1/30/13 in the comments section. An alternate juror wrote that they could not be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Something happened in that juror room that swayed 12 people. Someone had an agenda and punished these men in spite of the facts and testimony of the case.

    4. Chippy a/k/a Justone, if you want to fool people by creating duplicate Liveblog accounts, don't create them the same day. It's just too obvious.

    5. I am not Justone. I honestly can say that. Kind of like you honestly have said in your comments that you would not have convicted these men. Reread your posts, its there. You say you look at the facts of this case. Don't you see the lies by Billy? Don't you read the articles here that you consistently spend your time commenting on? You are obviously educated, so use an educated, clear look at the facts of this case. Here's 1 - Billy said he was raped by Avery twice when he was a 5th grader in bell choir maintenance. He wasn't in bell choir maintenance in 5th grade, or 6th, or 7th. So that is a lie, which causes REASONABLE DOUBT about the entire case. Engelhardt apparently, according to Billy's (drug addict, career criminal) testimony alone, told him about sessions (Billy's testimony only, no evidence to suggest this ever happened) in the same 5th grade year. So if he wasn't raped by Avery in the 5th grade, then why was there a conspiracy charge? Please see through the lies. Innocent victims and families are suffering right now at the hands of a career criminal and drug addict. What has society come to that people like this are to be believed.

    6. LOL. Listen both of you created Liveblog accounts on the same day specifically to comment on this blog. Working for big corporations, I can tell you that they retain PR firms that do, among other things, post comments on news and other blogs to get their message out or amplify alleged outrage over a decision that they are unhappy with. The AOP has and continues to utilize very sophisticated PR firms. There are other folks who may be related to the defendants who would create multiple accounts for the same reason. And, like the NRA post bots who comment on any article remotely related to guns, there are the fanatics that are egged on by the leadership. In any event, its fairly obvious that you and Justone (and Franken) are working together to coordinate a sense of outrage over the verdict.

      Avery pleaded guilty. End.of.Story.

    7. Chippy111, I really wouldn't bother with kopride and his paranoid conspiracy theories. Ralph could of course confirm that we are different people if he so desired, but I wouldn't want him to waste his time on such nonsense. I'd rather he use that time sharing his thoughts with us on this debacle, and giving us the benefit of his experience.

    8. Arthur, thank you for offering to let me know thngs about the case, but. I was present there almost everyday. I understand you have a biased opinion on this case. But no evidence whatsoever was present. I know you wrote Ralph telling you couldn't get your head around this case, do you think there should have been another outcome?

  14. The jury has rendered their decision, that was their charge, and we have to hope that they took it very seriously. I think they did.

    However, only God, Engelhart and Shero know what really happened. I don't include Billy in this group, because his brain is too addled by drugs, and even he doesn't trust his memory.

    It will always be a he said/he said case. There are no witnesses and no physical evidence.

    None of us can say, with any real conviction, that we know that Billy was lying or that Billy was not lying. It is not for us to know. The jurors had to make a decision, they sided with Billy.

    Only God knows the truth, and he will be the final judge.

  15. Frankenlil, Sorry you don't like my comments and I will find a hobby. Maybe I can join a group and give lots of money to an organization headed by old men who believe they have the Almighty on speed dial. Maybe the group will have some great rituals where they will pretend some guy turns crackers into the flesh of a dead Jewish guy. Maybe that group will use their fairy tale to justify everything from persecution of other religions to criminal behavior by their clergy. But that hobby would seem to require waymore time, money, and suspension of common sense than my current hobby of posting comments about an ongoing criminal trial of interest.

    1. Wow-what are you proud of? I think you just lost any credibility that you MIGHT have had before those comments. Your ignorance is appalling for a lawyer and now you decide to trash the Church. Plz do not respond to me and clog the blog- I agree with frakenlil-get another case if you still practice law (if you ever did). I really wonder and we will never know.

    2. I'm always amazed at the thin skin of church apologists. You folks will accuse judges, prosecutors, and jurors of unethical or unlawful behavior. You folks will suggest that victims are money grubbing liars conspiring with rich plaintiff's lawyers to bilk the church's coffers. You folks will suggest that catholic police officers and a DA are acting improperly to prosecute priests without cause. You will make excuses for admitted child abusers like Avery who actually pleaded guilty to abusing the victim in this case. When a jury convicts one of these rapists, you will suggest that the system is broken or the jurors were anti catholic. When newspapers report and dump reams of documents showing decades of cover up, you will cry media cover up. You will claim that advocacy groups are criminal con men and liars. But if someone exercises their First Amendment Right to say that religion and religious rituals are silly or a waste of time, then you get upset. The First Amendment protects your right to eat holy crackers and protects my right to say its silly. It protects you and Frankenhil's right to tell me to get a life or another hobby, and it protects my right to tell you that if you do believe in a god magnificent enough to give humans intellect and reason, then use it. Understand that a being powerful enough to create our planet, no less the universe, does not need the likes of Avery, Lynne, or the latest convict to speak on its behalf or perform a ritual. Understand that if you were born in Saudi Arabia or Iran, you would display the same lack of critical thinking to think that those clerics had a special communication with god, and you would be offended by cartoons and women without hats.

    3. I'm still waiting for proof of a different comment I may have said that is not in comparison to the comments listed above. I am also still awaiting the proof you state that you have that I have collected any monies from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia or the Oblates of St. Francis.

      I believe anyone can make a comment here as long as they do not make false statements as you have, and are you "ignorant" to the fact that Chaput still has not released the findings of other clergy members still under investigation for abuse towards children ?


      Kopride want to be my lawyer ?

    4. My comment is directed towards Miss Bailey.

  16. "Kopride want to be my lawyer ?"
    Flattered but that's not my agenda in posting on this blog. Contrary to what the church apologists believe, these cases are very difficult. There are formidable statutes of limitations, proof issues due to the lapse of time, and huge collectibility problems in establishing liability beyond the abuser who usually has no assets. Very few plaintiffs' lawyers will take these cases unless they are very airtight. It's also not a growth industry because most of the priests are old and disabled and very few have any real access to children.

    In the interest of full disclosure, most of my work is on the defense side, usually for corporate defendants. When my cases involve "child" sexual abuse it is usually a female teen over the age of consent involved with an adult male. The more problematic cases involve young adults and older teens because it is not uncommon for that type of "dating" to occur; the 23 year old assistant manager does not feel as if he is a criminal because he is dating a 17 year old cashier, but it is a liability issue for the corporation. (It is certainly creepier if the adult is 30 or over, but there is really no legal difference) Because my practice is national in scope, there are states without close in age exceptions that make this scenario criminal as well--in PA it could be Corruption of the Morals of a Minor, but such crimes are rarely prosecuted unless there is alcohol, drugs, or some other criminal behavior. In any event, the manager or executive will be fired and reported.

    My problem with the RCC cases is not the fact that it occurred--abuse does occur everywhere in society. My issue was with the cover up on the institutional level. There are some crappy corporations out there who have very unethical business practices--but I have never seen a private sector company ever transfer a child abuser to avoid disclosure of abuse, never seen them use lawyers to coerce victims, or any of the other nonsense we see hear with the church. I guarantee you that McDonalds, Wawa, and major retailers have issues from time to time of adults preying on teen employees. It is simply not tolerated in the business sector and the employees are terminated and reported to the police if it is criminal. The church thought that it was special and the rules applicable to every other institution did not apply. So yes, I expected the RCC to behave better than McDonalds or WAWA; and the general hypocrisy adds another element. As for Chaput, he is a condescending blowhard, but I do think he gets this issue--now. His choice of new defense counsel, Nick Centrella, and Gina Smith as an investigator, shows that he is looking for independent thoughtful guidance on these issues rather than "yes" men. Both are honorable lawyers who will not hesitate to push back. I think if there is some delay coming from Chaput on the suspension decisions, its coming because Gina wants to make sure that all the i's are dotted and t's crossed. The decisions will affect these men's careers and reputation; and the church doesn't want any potential walking liability bombs around. I think that outcome of the suspension investigation will be fair and complete.

    1. Sir, I hope you do understand my request was only a chance to push someones button. The fact is I once did contact a lawyer regarding my abuse however at the time I was informed by my attorney I would most likely have to sign a non-disclosure statement regarding my abuse, and I said NO.Contrary to someones belief here I collected. Speaking for myself no amount of money would ever make me forget what Father Hermley of Father Judge H.S. did to me, and if I signed that agreement I would no longer be able to talk about what he did to me, mention his name and so on. That the great northeast high school harbored a abuser. It would be signing my soul over to the devil.

      Now to talk about Chaput you were polite calling him a "blowhard" I have had conversed with him and my impression is nothing more than an arrogant individual with an attitude, and after speaking with the DA's office, members of the media, and other sources I have learned that he is in fear of three things. They are the Police, the media and individuals like me. He does not like to be pressured as he stated to me., and I believe this counsel he has in place as you say also has a non-disclosure, and in the end he will blame for the delay of HIS investigation. The facts are he stated back in May 2012 he would release findings, he has released one. My question to him has been even if the investigations are not complete why has he not released the findings he does have ?

      In closing your comments are a very interesting read and although I do not agree with everything you say I respect everything you say. I believe Chaput to be nothing more than a "yes" man to the vatican, and when he came to Philly he thought it would be a cake walk. He is slowly understanding his clerical garb and white collar will not gain him respect alone in Philly (hell we snowballed Santa Claus) and if does not do what is right he can find himself in the same position as Lynn for the failure to protect children.

    2. Kopride; I enjoy reading your comments on this blog. It is interesting to me to see the way Penn State has handled the sex abuse case against Jerry Sandusky and the coverup that followed.Sure, there are many Penn State alumni who think that the president of Penn State made big mistakes, but I believe, a bigger mistake would have been to attack the victims, and take zero responsibility for what happened. And that is the crux of the problem with the Hierarchy of the Church.At first they tried to buy the silence of victims.When it became apparent that even they didn't have that much money, they attacked the victims and their attorneys.That tactic isn't working too well either. What will come next? Any chance,they will see the error of their ways, come clean and try to help victims. Fat Chance

  17. Funny that chippy and Justone's Liveblog accounts were created on 1/18/13. It's either one delusional guy with a split personality or bad PR treatment by the AOP public relations firms. So at least half or not more of the church apologists are dummy Liveblog accounts, or David Pierre and his fanboys. All I can do is laugh. It's just that pathetic.

    1. Franken looks like a recently created dummy blogger account as well.

    2. KO, spin what you want. How about Chippy111, me, being very involved in this case and not wanting to comment until all the facts were put on the table, instead of repeatedly throwing softballs at all the church haters like you eating ice cream in front of your PC and rambling on. I care about the real victims in this case, nothing more. I don't talk about other abuses, Chaput, or Los Angeles like all of your fans on this blog. I talk about this case and its facts. I don't have an agenda besides fairness. I am about justice and it was not served. There have now been two alternate jurors, one on and one on, who commented that there was reasonable doubt in this case, but preconceived notions led to this verdict. You probably think, I created all those user names too??? No, I have a life, a job, and a family. I don't waste my time doing those things to just read my posts. It was all a waste of time, they were guilty before they walked in the courtroom.

    3. No Chippy, alternate jurors, even if they were alternate jurors, are not jurors. In civil trials, alternate jurors are routinely released after the jury starts deliberating so we speak to them because we can't help ourselves to try and get an insight into what jurors are thinking about. They frequently are at odds with what the jury ultimately decides. With an alternative juror, you get the first impression before they start deliberating with the other jurors. At the start of deliberations, there were surely jurors who were leaning towards the defense. After deliberating with an open mind, they switched. That's why we have juror deliberations and we just don't take a poll of the jurors at the end of the trial. The opinion of an alternate juror means nothing more than my opinion. The verdict of the jury or a guilty plea means everything. They were found guilty. There are lots of verdicts where I personally would have reached different decisions. I would have found OJ and Casey Anthony guilty. But just because I disagree with them doesn't mean I start indicting the jurors or the system. If you talk to jurors after deliberations, you will find that their verdict was rationally based upon the evidence. It doesn't mean that you will agree with their reasoning, but their decision is rarely irrational or unfounded. This result was all too common in Philadelphia County. A victim with baggage accuses an accused. All you want to talk about is Billy's baggage and inconsistencies. The jury collectively decided that the other evidence outweighed that part of the case, including a priest who pleaded guilty to raping this kid. And you don't talk about other abuses in LA or elsewhere, not because you are some disinterested person driven only by justice, but because it doesn't fit your narrative of the poor innocent priests or a gang of catholic bashers determined to punish the church. Because the facts of this case are consistent with the culture exposed by practically every document dump from the major (Arch)Diocese in the country, which is that predator priests were tolerated and permitted access to children even after problems became known. When Avery attempted to recant, that part of the culture came back into the case and the jury was entitled to consider it. He was an admitted abuser before he ever came to St. Jerome and the jury was aware that priests protect their own. Avery recanting was consistent with that culture. Again, as I have said repeatedly, like the alternative juror who didn't sit as a juror, I feel going in there that I would not have agreed to a conviction.

    4. The alternate jurors in this case sat through the entire two weeks of testimony and were dimissed after lunch on Friday 1/25/13 after closing statements. They heard every word in this case in the courtroom, not relying on blogs and a biased for all the info. To hear them come out and state their opinion causes me to think someone on that jury had an agenda and was very influential. They obviously did not take into account any of the defense testimony, none of it. They obviously did not see the prosecution put someone on the stand who said he did not know or touch Billy. These are the facts of the case and they were not used per the oath these people took when they were picked. You talk alot about evidence above. There was NO evidence in this case. A boy sexually assaulted and raped, no clothing ripped, no blood. His nurse mother and policeman father did not notice anything. Don't you think that is strange, for a parent not to notice a spec about the rapes and sexual assaults on a 10 year old son? Not a teenager or young adult. A 10 YEAR OLD KID, about 80 pounds in weight. Do you have kids? Do you think you would know even the smallest of clues that these things happened? I think you would. Do you know why his parents didn't know, because it did not happen.

  18. Seth Williams:
    “We have the same standard of justice for everyone, and for years of protecting pedophile priests or people because of what their status is, hopefully those days are over. There is not enough jail time that they could get for what they did to this victim.”

    This statement says it all.

    1. Seth Williams (District Attorney): "I did not expect it."
      This statement says it all.

  19. Chippy, you are so misinformed. I was able to hide the abuse Fr. Hermley did to me from my parents and 5 other siblings for weeks. Fact is after my mother finally sat down with me and I told her and confirmed the abuse I did not learn to later in life my father passed away without never knowing and when I questioned my mother about this, she stated the fear she had what my father would have done to Hermley. So don't say because the parents did not pick up on it, the abuse did not happen. I commend this victim father for the restraint he must of had. I will also say God help the soul to any individual that would think about hurting my family. No police, no DA would ever be able to protect that individual. I would even pay the bond to get that person out of jail to get them.

    Now what you are saying about the alternate jurors and their opinion is just that there opinion. What they say has no impact. What they say must be respected, but once again it means nothing.

    You have also accused individuals here of only writing so they can reread what they write, or have a fan base. I want you to understand this as I have posted numerous times. I am a survivor. I could care less what anyone else here thinks about me or what I write. Unlike you, Kopride, Bailey, and the rest of you I have first hand experience of how the catholic church deals with abuse, and unless you can state here you are a abuse survivor and have gone through the similar experiences you have no right to make such comments as you do.

    Also L.A. Boston, Minn. Ireland and Chaput DOES play a big role in these cases. It shows history of the catholic church and how they operate. It played a major factor regarding Lynn release and if the catholic church and its leaders could be trusted.


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