Friday, March 1, 2013

The Split In The D.A.'s Office Over Billy Doe's [Lack Of] Credibility

By Ralph Cipriano

In July 2012, Michael J. McGovern was preparing for the upcoming trial of his client, Father Charles Engelhardt, on charges that he had raped a former 10-year-old altar boy.

The phone rang. A high-ranking official at the district attorney's office was on the line, wanting to know why McGovern was refusing to even discuss a plea deal on a case scheduled to go to trial in early September 2012.

Father Charles Engelhardt
I've got a problem, McGovern recalled saying to the official, whom he declined to publicly name. My client's been a priest since 1967. If he even pleads no contest to a misdemeanor, such as corrupting the morals of a minor, and just gets probation, he can't be a priest anymore. And that's the only thing that matters to him. He also happens to be completely innocent.

The response he got surprised him, McGovern said. The high-ranking official on the other end of the line said, well there's a split opinion over here [in the district attorney's office] about whether the complainant is credible.

"He's incredible," McGovern recalled telling the official about the former altar boy identified in the 2011 grand jury report as "Billy Doe." "He's a lying sack of shit."

The official's response: "He shared with me that there were people in the D.A.'s office who agreed with me," McGovern said. They were wondering whether they should go through with prosecuting the case.

McGovern himself is a former prosecutor; from 1980 to 1993, he was Assistant Chief of Homicide and Chief of Major Trials under former Philadelphia District Attorneys Ed Rendell and Lynne Abraham. So McGovern offered some free advice; he suggested to the high-ranking official in the D.A.'s office that the right thing to do on this case was to not prosecute.

Michael J. McGovern
McGovern argued that the high point of the district attorney's prosecution of sex abuse in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia was its historic conviction of Msgr. William J. Lynn. The monsignor was convicted by a jury on June 22, 2012 of endangering the welfare of a child, becoming the first Catholic administrator in the country to go to jail for the sexual sins of the clergy.

"That was the jewel in the crown," McGovern said. "Everybody else is a pawn."

Including Father Charles Engelhardt.

McGovern told the high-ranking official in the district attorney's office that they were taking a risk if they went ahead and tried Father Engelhardt. If McGovern was able to shred Billy Doe's credibility on the witness stand, "and the jury comes out saying that guy's a lying sack of shit, that's going to throw into doubt the validity of the Avery plea and the Lynn conviction," McGovern said.

On the eve of the Lynn trial, co-defendant Edward V. Avery, a defrocked priest, pleaded guilty on March 22, 2012 to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a minor, namely Billy Doe, and conspiracy with Msgr. Lynn and other archdiocese officials or employees to endanger the welfare of a child, once again Billy Doe.

McGovern offered to come over to the district attorney's office to talk about why they should not prosecute the case. But the high-ranking official in the district attorney's office warned McGovern that a reporter might see him there, so the district attorney would come to McGovern's office.

McGovern figured there was one last thing he could do to convince the district attorney his guy was telling the truth -- he could "box" his client, or send him out for a polygraph test. The tests are not admissible in Pennsylvania criminal courts, but the district attorney himself used polygraphs as an investigative tool.

So McGovern sent Father Engelhardt out to be polygraphed by William L. Fleisher, a former FBI agent, Philadelphia cop and forensic psychophysiologist used by the district attorney and the U.S. Attorney's office.

Boxing his client was a risky move, McGovern conceded, but he made a similar decision on Dec. 3, 2010, when he advised Father Engelhardt to waive his right to self-incrimination and appear before the grand jury.

But that's what you do when you know your guy is innocent, McGovern said.


When he testified before the grand jury, Father Engelhardt told Assistant District Attorney Mariana Sorensen how he was removed from active ministry on after Jan. 30, 2009, hours after Billy Doe told an archdiocese social worker that the priest had raped him.

Q. When did you first learn of that accusation?

A. Around 4:30 in the afternoon, I received a call from Father [James] Greenfield saying that the diocese had received a complaint and where I, at that point firmly denied [it] saying that there was no credibility to that accusation. It's nothing but a lie or a falsehood ...

Q. Tell us what was your understanding of who the person was that was making the accusation against you? Did you know the name of the person?

A. The name, but I have no knowledge of who the person is. If he's sitting in this room today, I can't pick him out.

Q. Ok.

A. I could never pick him out. So I have no idea exactly who he is ...

Q. [By Assistant District Attorney Evangelia Manos] Is there anything you want to add, Father?

A. Well, of course, you know, the accusation doesn't -- wasn't expected, you know, heart wrenching, you know and I found it to be a very humbling thing to be called on the phone by your provincial and say somebody's made an accusation against you, when you know, there was no truth or that was something unrealistic that was happening to you. So you try and figure out, you know, what could have brought it on ...


On July 31, 2012, Fleisher wrote a report to McGovern, explaining how he interviewed Father Engelhardt, discussing the allegations against him, before Fleisher posed three key questions:

"While in St. Jerome's Sacristy, did you have sex with [Billy Doe}?

"No," the priest replied.

"Regarding [Billy Doe], did you have sex with him?"


"Are any of [Billy Doe's] accusations about you true?"


All three times, Fleisher wrote, the polygraph result was "no deception indicated."

"It is my professional opinion based on the reactions to the formulated questions in this examination that Mr. Engelhardt was being truthful when he denied having engaged in sexual activity with the boy known to him as [Billy Doe]," Fleisher wrote McGovern.

On Aug. 1, the day after the polygraph test of Father Engelhardt, the high-ranking official from the district attorney's office stopped by McGovern's office for a two-hour chat in a conference room.
District Attorney Seth Williams

McGovern said he took the official through all the grand jury transcripts in the case and the "mountain of inconsistencies" in Billy Doe's story. Then he handed the official the polygraph test results from Fleisher.

"I boxed my guy yesterday," McGovern said. "Here it is." 

McGovern told the official, a Catholic, that he was hoping and praying he would do the right thing. "The right decision to make is right in front of your face," McGovern recalled saying.

The official subsequently called him back, and said, Mike, I understand your position, but we talked it over and the district attorney says you've got to take it to a jury.

McGovern said he told the official he was confident he would win the case, but he cautioned, you never know what a jury will do. "You're making the wrong decision," McGovern told the official. "I'm really disappointed in you."

The trial, scheduled for Sept. 4, wound up being postponed. On Jan. 30, a jury found Father Engelhardt  guilty on four counts: endangering the welfare of a child, corruption of a minor, indecent assault on a person less than 13 years old, and conspiring with Father Avery to commit sexual assault on Billy Doe. The jury could not reach a verdict on a fifth count, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child.

On March 18, Judge Ellen Ceisler is scheduled to sentence Father Engelhardt; the priest faces a maximum jail term of 37 years.

Tasha Jamerson, a spokesperson for the district attorney's office, had this to say in response to McGovern's comments:

"The victim was cross-examined by two defense attorneys, and ultimately a jury properly found Father Engelhardt guilty of indecent assault and endangering the welfare of a child on Jan. 30, 2013. This office has full confidence in the credibility of the victim and the integrity of this conviction."

Let's take another look at "the credibility of the victim and the integrity of this conviction."


On January 30, 2009, Billy Doe told Louise Hagner, an archdiocese social worker, that Father Engelhardt anally raped him inside St. Jerome's Church during an attack that went on for five hours, after which the priest supposedly threatened to kill Billy if he told anybody. Hagner wrote down Billy's account and read it to a grand jury on April 8, 2010:

Father Engelhardt ... was the first one to abuse him. He [Billy Doe] said there was just one incident. He was in the fifth grade and the abuse happened in June after school ended. He had just become an altar server and was serving 6:30 a.m. After Mass, Father Engelhardt asked him to stay behind. Father knew he [Billy Doe] liked wine and he had a bottle of church wine and gave him a small amount to drink.

Father started talking to him about sex. [Billy Doe] told him that he had a girlfriend. Father Engelhardt said to him, "I'm into boys." The next thing he remembered was that his pants were down and Father Engelhardt was on top of him. Father Engelhardt started grabbing him. Father pushed down on his [Billy's] chest with one hand and [Billy] was having difficult breathing. With his other hand, Father Engelhardt "jerked him off," then Father Engelhardt pulled down his pants and sat on top of him and made him perform oral sex on him.

[Billy] said Father kept him there for hours and kept repeating the act. He added that Father Engelhardt flipped him over and kept ramming him. He explained that ramming meant raping him anally. [Billy] said he was there from 7 a.m. to 12 noon. He said he was in the little room next to the altar.

[Billy] said Father Engelhardt told him if you ever tell anyone, I will kill you. He also told him that no one would believe you.

Billy Doe subsequently told a grand jury he was high on heroin when he talked to Hagner, so he couldn't remember anything he said to her.


On Jan. 28, 2010, Detective Andrew Snyder drove up to Graterford Prison to spring Billy Doe out of jail. Snyder drove Billy back to the district attorney's office, where Billy's parents were waiting, along with Assistant District Attorney Mariana Sorensen.

In contrast to what he told Hagner, this time Billy Doe described two sexual encounters with Father Engelhardt, both involving masturbation. There is no oral and anal sex, and this time it was Billy Doe who threatened to kill Father Engelhardt.

Here's what Detective Snyder wrote down in his notes about Billy's story:

While attending the fifth grade, [Billy] becomes an altar server. During the Fall and Winter, [Billy] is an altar server to Father Engelhardt's Masses. After one of the church services, Father Engelhardt asks [Billy] if he could stay after Mass and help Father Engelhardt. [Billy] stays and Father Engelhardt engages [Billy] in conversation. This conversation turns to a discussion of sex. Father Engelhardt tells [Billy] that sex is OK and that everybody has sex. Father Engelhardt then produces a pornographic magazine and shows these magazines to [Billy]. These magazines consist of both heterosexual and homosexual acts. Father Engelhardt tells [Billy] that God wants people to have sex, which is alright; people just don't like to talk about it. The conversation ends and [Billy] leaves ...

Again,  [Billy] serves Father Engelhardt Mass and is instructed to stick around. This time Father Engelhardt engages [Billy] in conversation, telling him how gorgeous  [Billy] is and has [Billy] pull down his pants. Father Engelhardt proceeds to masturbate [Billy]. When Father Engelhardt finishes,  [Billy] leaves ...

[Three to four weeks later after Mass] Father Engelhardt masturbated  [Billy] and had [Billy] masturbate him. [Billy] manages to avoid Father Engelhardt over the next few weeks 'till one day Father Engelhardt tells [Billy] that the "sessions" they had together were over [and] that Father Engelhardt thought that [Billy] had learned enough and that it was time for him [Billy] to move on. Although [Billy] claims to have threatened to kill Father Engelhardt if he touched him again.


On March 19, 2010, Billy Doe appeared before the grand jury. Assistant District Attorney Evangelia Manos asked about a single sexual encounter with Father Engelhardt. This time around, Billy Doe said he was forced to strip before engaging in masturbation and oral sex.

Q. Can you tell us about the first incident?

A... I was serving a 6:30 Mass before school. He [Father Engelhardt] asked me to stay after Mass to help him out with something. He caught me before drinking the church wine.

Q... What do you mean by that?

A. At the end of Masses, we always have to pour out the church wine into the sink, whatever was left over, and most of us always drank it instead of pouring it out.

Q. He caught you doing that in the past?

A. Yes.

Q. Did he ever report you?

A. No ...

Q. OK. So it was after Mass?

A. Yes.

Q. Can you tell us what happened?

A. he wanted me to stay. He poured me -- he asked me if I wanted some church wine. I said yes. he gave me some church wine. He pulled out some pornographic magazines. He started to ask me if I'd ever seen them before or if I ever had a girlfriend, stuff of that nature. He started asking me questions like [if] I liked boys, if I liked girls, how does it make me feel to look at this? Well during that day, he told me it was time for me to become a man, and our sessions were going to begin ...

Q. Now when he talked about sessions, did you know what he was talking about?

A. No.

Q. Did you tell anybody about this conversation?

A. No.

Q. Why didn't you tell anybody?

A. I was kind of scared, and at the time, I didn't know what was going on ... 

Q. How long after this first incident did you serve in another Mass with Father Engelhardt?

A. About a week...

Q. What time of day was it?

A. 6:30 Mass ... I did the Mass. I finished up. He told me to stay, my sessions were going to begin. He had me sit down on this little -- like one of the chairs, and he had me, told me to strip. I really didn't know what was going on. I started to take off my clothes, he proceeded to take off his clothes ... He had me sit next to him and he started to caress me, caress my legs. He told me it was time to become a man.

Q. Was Father Engelhardt dressed or undressed?

A. Undressed.

Q... Was he wearing any items of clothing?

A. Socks ...

Q. Ok. When he called you over to him, did you sit next to him, did you sit next to him, or were you standing next to him?

A. I sat down next to him ... He told me to come closer ... he proceeded to jerk me off ...

Q. Ok. What happened after that?

A. He continued to jerk me off and then he discontinued that and proceed to give me oral sex ...

Q. Tell us what happened next.

A. He instructed me to give him a hand job ...

Q. Ok. What happened after that?

A. He kept telling me I was doing a good job. He kept on calling me son. He had me get down on my knees and perform oral sex on him ... After he climaxed, he basically told me that I did a good job and I was dismissed ...

Q. What did you do after this incident?

A. After we got finished, I went to school.

Q. Ok. Did you tell anybody about this incident?

A. No.

Q. What did you think would happen if you told somebody?

A. I would get in trouble ...

Q. Ok. What happened when you saw him again?

A. He asked me if I was ready for another session.

Q. Did you say anything to him?

A. I told him no, and if he ever comes near me again I was going to kill him.

For those of you keeping score at home, Billy Doe told the archdiocese, the police and the grand jury three different stories. 

He told the archdiocese Father Engelhardt orally and anally raped him during one session that lasted five hours inside the sacristy at St. Jerome's; afterwards the priest threatened to kill Billy if he told anybody.

Billy told the police he had two sexual encounters with Father Engelhardt inside the church, both involving masturbation; afterwards Billy threatened to kill Father Engelhardt. 

Billy told the grand jury he had only one encounter with Father Engelhardt, where the boy was ordered to strip, and then engage in masturbation and oral sex. Afterwards, Billy threatened to kill Father Engelhardt.

Which story is it?

Is this what passes for a credible victim down at the district attorney's office? A drug addict who can't keep his story straight, a guy who's been kicked out of two high schools, been caught with 56 bags of heroin, and been in and out of 23 drug rehabs?


When he testified before the grand jury, Assistant District Attorney Sorensen asked Father Engelhardt about the duties of an altar boy, and whether the priest ever caught Billy drinking left-over sacramental wine. 

Q. What do the altar boys do after Mass. What are their jobs?

A. Maybe to carry the vessels in the sacristy.

Q. The vessels are what?

A. The wine and water.

Q. Ok.

A. The wine and water. The cup, the chalice, the cup the priest puts the wine into.

Q. Do you watch that they don't drink the wine?

A. Do I?

Q. Yes.

A. No.

Q. As the priest?

A. No, that's the sacristan's duties.

Q. Do you ever catch the altar boys drinking wine?

A. No.

Q. No?

A. No.

Q. Ok.

A. Not that I don't -- not that I didn't know that some of them did, but [I] didn't catch them.


Billy's version of whose job it was to dispose of the sacramental wine was disputed by his own brother. On Jan. 9, 2012, Billy's older brother gave a signed, 14-page statement to Detective Joseph Walsh of the District Attorney's office.

The older brother, then a 26-year-old lawyer, had no direct knowledge about the alleged crime. But the older brother, who had served as an altar boy and a sexton at St. Jerome's, contradicted Billy on several key elements of his story, such as who took care of the sacramental wine after Mass, and whether priests were ever alone with altar boys.

In contrast to what Billy told authorities, that Father Engelhardt locked all four doors of the sacristy during the alleged rape, Billy's older brother said the doors stayed open.

A sexton is also known as a sacristan.

Here's what Billy's older brother told Detective Walsh:

Q. When you served the 6:15 a.m. Mass, who was present?

A. The sexton -- There were two older men who were sextons. One of them would unlock the church doors around 6 a.m. The alter servers were supposed to arrive at church about 15 minutes before Mass began -- So, sometimes I arrived at 6 a.m. when the sexton did. When I went in, I would help out setting up the altar for Mass.

The sexton would take care of the sacraments. We would go into the sacristy and put our robes on. The priest put on his vestments in a larger room in the sacristy and the altar servers room was separated by a doorway. The door was never closed -- it was blocked by a chair against it. Mass lasted about 20-30 minutes. After Mass, I would take off my robe and leave and meet my mom or dad ... [and they] drove me home. The sexton would remain and clean the altar and put the sacraments away in the sacristy.


On the day of closing arguments in the Father Charles Engelhardt-Bernard Shero trial, it was obvious to many courtroom observers that with such a weak case and such an unstable accuser, the only thing the prosecution had going for it was emotion. That's why they plastered Billy Doe's fifth-grade picture from St. Jerome's on every courtroom TV, and left it up for every painful moment of the prosecutor's 82-minute closing statement.

A closing statement that attempted to paper over all the holes in the case by inventing a whole new story line about Billy supposedly being groomed by his predators, a story line nowhere in evidence during trial testimony. A closing statement that attempted to cover-up all the glaring contradictions in Billy's changing stories by attacking the credibility of the archdiocese's hapless social worker, and by suggesting that the detective in the case had screwed up his note-taking. A closing statement that left even Billy's partisans convinced that the prosecutor himself didn't believe what he was saying.

All the prosecution had going for it was a sob story, which if you chose to believe it, required the suspension of all rational thought.

As for Billy, there was the kid that his former grade school teachers testified loved being the center of attention. He was seated in the third row, crying and carrying on, leaning on his mother and his fiancee for support. In case anyone on the jury was missing it, the prosecutor pointed out Billy in the crowd. And then he turned the lack of other victims in the case into a plus, by saying that nobody else had had the courage to come forward like sobbing little Billy did.

It was like watching a bad remake of To Kill A Mockingbird, starring Billy Doe as Mayella Violet Ewell.


  1. I wish Billy could take a polygraph test. My guess is he would fail with flying colors.

    "It is my professional opinion based on the reactions to the formulated questions in this examination that Mr. Engelhardt was being truthful when he denied having engaged in sexual activity with the boy known to him as [Billy Doe]," Fleisher wrote McGovern.

    Thanks Ralph

    1. Chippy111,

      You raise a good point. I wonder if the DA's office did - in fact - polygraph Billy when he came forward with his allegations. Or was the DA's office so intent on convicting Bevilacqua that they skipped this step.

      While polygraph results are not admissible evidence per se in Pennsylvania, they are good preliminary investigative tools - cases in point: Avery - no deception, Engelhardt - no deception, Billy - ???.

      In the interest of American Justice, I think that the public has a right to know.

      How can we find out?

      Ralph - thanks, again!

    2. My understanding is that Billy was never polygraphed. It was suggested by a defense lawyer, though, but apparently nobody took him up on it.

    3. Ralph,

      'Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?' -

    4. In this town, we're down to this blog.

    5. Actually I can speak from some experience, of a case involving sodomy of a minor. Separated by time and space, but relevant just the same. Here in Australia, many years ago, I volunteered to assist police by going in an identity parade ( a line-up ). They brought in the suspect and he took a place in the line-up. Then they brought in a boy, clearly traumatized. About 11-12 years old and a pitiful sight. The senior detective explained that the kid had run away from a orphanage. The suspect, an out- of- work chef, had offered the kid a bed for the night. you guessed it, he sodomized the boy. In the morning the kid escaped, and a woman, a total stranger, asked him what was wrong with him. She phoned the police. But in Billy's case you are asked to believe that his mother (a nurse) and his father (a policeman) never noticed anything wrong with their 11 year son?????
      Folks if you had seen what I had seen then, then you would laugh to scorn this pack of lies. It would be utterly impossible for Billy to be sodomized (by anybody) and his mother not notice his condition. Moreover from my own childhood and observing my siblings, we would run to our mother if hurt or threatened, by anybody.
      This travesty of justice will not stand.

      March 8.

  2. My hope is a new trial from the judge. She can't be as unrealistic to the truth of this case as Arthur, Dennis, and the jury were. But everyone with a collar is guilty in their minds, so enjoy the ride as work is done to free these innocent men. Then Billy can go on trial for perjury and I'll watch him go to jail, because of all his priors.

    Did you notice that Billy, although testifying he was not getting special treatment from the DA, is getting accdelerated probabtion for the 56 bags of heroin case. No special treatment at all. So a career criminal walks the streets. Now Arthur and Dennis can have him over for dinner. Just watch your wallet, it may disappear at the end of the night.

  3. Two completely different juries brought convictions in two different trials. What are you trying to prove? That all 24 members of both juries were blindly pursuing an agenda against the Catholic Church? That's the only answer I can think of. What other theory could you be propounding?

    Are we to suppose that somebody paid these jurors or gave them cool jobs somewhere? What could possibly cause 24 people, unknown to each other, from all walks of life, to conspire to thwart justice last summer and then again in January?

    These are mighty long columns you're writing. What's the point?

    1. And neither of those two juries were sequestered, and were susceptible to the preying upon of emotions that you yourself owned up to. You have been played.

  4. Sarah - To answer your question

    That the truths of both cases as it pertains to this "victim" are not what they seem to be. That there are underlying facts that were not presented during the trial that prove these men are innocent as it pertains to Billy.

    Why do you not want to read this information as a decent, human being? Why is it so hard to believe the actual facts of this case and not the lies of the accuser?

  5. I would be proud to have Billy and his future wife over for dinner. I would even raise my glass to him, to his father and to his mother for going through such an ordeal. i would also tell him if it is ever found that he did lie, he would then deal with me and I would drag him to prison myself.

    However, this story has no merit. When it starts off by saying McGovern will not name his source of information used in this story puts up red flags. What does McGovern have to worry about if what he is saying is the truth. As I said in a earlier comment I can say anything I want about Father Judge H.S. and Father Hermley without the fear of any legal ramifications from the archdiocese or family members of Father Hermley because what I say is the truth.

    i am so sorry for chippy111 and others like him who do not want to come to terms with the actions of the catholic church and its clergy, and still believe the church can do no wrong. I want them to forget for a minute all the trials held here in Philadelphia and explain to me all the other trials across this country and the world. Are all those victims liers, criminals or addicts ? And answer this question carefully, Was I or am I now a lier, criminal or addict ?

    Why do you continue to be UNREALISTIC to the truth ?

    1. Dennis, people like chippy111 and myself do NOT believe "the church can do no wrong" and all victims are "liers (sic), criminals or addicts." The are legions of Catholic priests who have committed abominable crimes, and we fully acknowledge this.

      I think if there is someone who is unable to come to grips, it is *you.* It appears that you assign automatic guilt to each and every allegation made against a guy in a Roman collar. If Billy's stories aren't false accusations, what are? What do you find that is the least bit credible about Billy's accusations besides the fact that he *said* that they happened?

      Are the accusations credible just because Avery molested a boy back in the 1970s and everyone who comes forward is automatically believed? (By the time Billy came forward in 2009, Avery's name had already been plastered in the media as an abuser. In other words, Avery was an easy target for Billy.)

      Here is just ONE huge problem with Billy's story. Let's take the episode from January 30, 2009, when the Archdiocesan victim support woman Louise Hagner went to visit Billy:

      * Billy remembers getting a call on his cell phone from the Archdiocese.
      * Billy remembers his father not wanting him to meet with them.
      * Billy remembers Louise coming to the house and knocking on the door and his dad telling him not to answer her.
      * Billy remembers that he sneaked out of the house and hopped into the car with Louise.
      * Billy remembers Louise 'drove down the street a little and parked the car.'
      * Billy remembers that Louise identified herself from the Archdiocese victim services.
      * Billy remembers that he was alone in the car with her.
      * Billy remembers that Louise was taking notes.

      BUT ... Billy says that he does NOT remember ANYTHING AT ALL that he actually told her. Uh-huh.

      C'mon. This has all the hallmark of fraud, imho. The reason that he SAYS that could not remember is that he knows that he has been unable to keep track of all the various wild tales that he has told over the years.

      It is completely wrong to believe that Catholic priests can do no wrong (and, by the way, the Church actually teaches that priests are sinners, too). But it is also wrong to blindly believe each and every wild allegation that is aired against a Catholic priest.

      My two cents.

    2. You have to be kidding. You are asking the public to believe statements from Louise Hagner one of the archdiocesan victim support workers. You hit a nerve. I trust them less then any priest.

      I dealt with that office also and the individual ( Maggie Marshall) who was suppose to be helping me when I first reported my abuse requested that I put my trust into her that she would help me to deal with my abuse, only to learn the things I told her in confidence was being shared with everyone else instead of those who may have been able to help. That office only abused again. The sad part about they way Marshall and Becker treated me was not something I alone experienced, but what other victims also experienced.

      You ask if "Billy's stories aren't false accusations, what are ?" and I will ask you "why should anyone believe any word that comes from any individual who represents the catholic church be considered the truth with their track record ?

      and I have come to grips what has happened to me. Does my guard come up when in the same area of a priest, does my heart rate increase, does my chest get tight ? YES. Because over the years there has not been a damn thing the church has done to make me feel any different.

      I will again say the statements you, chippy111, and others who wish to defend the catholic church i read as entertainment. When any of you can say to me that I am also a clergy abuse victim, I will then say lets sit down and talk.

      Because what will happen after the upcoming trial is over the most of you will continue to live on with your lives, Ralph will write about a different subject, and the names Billy, Avery, Brennan, Engelhardt and Shero will be forgotten. While victims/survivors will continue to deal with the abuse they suffered the best way they can,

    3. Media Report, I do love your two cents. Dennis, I can't help but correct your spelling. In America, one who tells lies is called a Liar, not a lier. And when you raise your glass to your "lier"and his parents, make sure you compliment him for being an upstanding citizen, never doing drugs and dealing- or getting caught with 56 bags of heroin for his own use. Please tell his parents that they did a wonderful job raising their sons- one is a lawyer and the other is a loser!

    4. I never said I was perfect, and I am not without faults. Unlike those like you who believe the Roman Catholic Church can do no wrong. Continue to love the Media Reports two cents because in the end when it is all said and done that's all its worth.

    5. WOOD it not be funy that an illiterate individual a long with a drug addit a long with other peoples be wones hoo pull the cornerstones from the katholic church to bild a better won.

    6. Dennis, I am a survivor of abuse, and I personally know several survivors of abuse. What troubles me about your rhetoric is just how spiteful and vindictive it is. This is a quality that is not typical of a survivor of abuse. It means one of two things: 1) you _choose_ to live in your spite and refuse true healing that comes from forgiveness and resolution, or 2) you are lying through your teeth.

      Which is it?

    7. Another individual who wants abuse survivors to forgive and forget. If you are able to do that I commend you. But this is how the abuse problem got so big within the catholic church. This is how Hermley was able to abuse before me and this is how Hermley was able to abuse after me. Am I vindictive ? Your damn right. Do I have it under control ? I will let you decide that.

      You should be ashamed if you are truly are an abuse victim to ask anyone to follow the same path as you have. If you wish to give your abuser a big hug and a kiss on the cheek and say all is forgotten then that is on you. I WILL NOT.

      I have one thing on my bucket list and that is to go to Delaware and piss on the grave of my abuser. Then MAYBE I will have some inner peace. But no promises.

    8. It is PURE EVIL of yourself to put words into my mouth that I NEVER SAID!

      WHERE did say "forget"? Rhetorical question, I never said it.

      Got news for you: that Hermley abused before and after is not the fault of the diocese or the bishop. It IS the fault of all of those at the ground level who suspected Hermley's activities and did nothing about it.

      Without fail, the breakdowns happened at the ground level, and that is where the problem must be fixed. It is the ONLY place that the problem can be fixed. What have you done to fix the problem? Do you think poisoning the blogs is going to fix the problem? Or writing letters to your bishop? Here's a novel thought: how about instead, educating the laity to recognize signs of abuse and how to act promptly, or teaching our children exactly what safe boundaries are, you know, things that have REAL concrete resolution.

      But you are not interested in resolution. Your spite is going to consume you, maybe kill you, and that's no one's fault but your own.

    9. If you are willing to forgive you are willing to forget. But you must understand the abuse you may have suffered was not your fault. YOU DID NOTHING WRONG so you don't have to forgive anyone.

      Like your name you use here St. Seraphim of Sarov I am not in self denial, and I no longer see the good in the catholic church. I will not be like him and ask for a judge to ever have mercy on abusers.

      I have nothing to resolve, because a long time ago I began to live in a world called reality.

    10. Big problem with that mindset: it fosters hatred, it places all emphasis on clinging to the past while ignoring -where- the problem is in the present, and most important of all, that mindset cares NOTHING of fixing the problem. I'm willing to bet that you WANT the priesthood to be riddled with abusers.

      You wear your spite like a comfortable pair of old loafers.

    11. No, I do not wish the Archdiocese to have more abusers. They have produced enough damage and sorrow all on their own without any help from you or me. You state you are a survivor and you "personally know several survivors of abuse" Is this something you are proud of ? I will assume you are telling me the truth about being a survivor, but this is not a club you and I belong to. Because if it is I am more than willing to give up my membership. Then you state that I do not show quality of a typical survivor of abuse.

      Then you tell me what is the typical quality of someone who has been abused. Should I be walking around the house feeling sorry for myself with a gun to my head ? Should I wear a wife beater t-shirt and sit in a chair all day and watch television ? I know, should I blame everything that happened negative in my life on my abuse ?

      It is sad to say this is how some victims/survivors deal with the abuse they suffered, Others become paramedics, doctors and nurses and go on to get married, and raise children.

      If you ever have doubt again that I am a victim, I will let you speak with my wife. She also became a victim when she married me. She is the one who deals with my nightmares. If anyone should have a doubt it is me. Because one thing I did notice about these comment pages are most survivors use their real names. It is a way in fighting back against the abuser saying we are no longer afraid. WE DID NOTHING WRONG for you to do what you did to us. But it is not written in stone and does not show the typical quality of a survivor if they do not do it.

      Now I stated in Ralph's previous blog I am more than willing to sit down and talk with any survivor, because we are the ones who have first hand experience. Unlike Chippy111 (sorry to always use you as an example) their comments come from the sidelines, but are an interesting read.

  6. Dennis, I don't think anyone asked about what you can say. You seem to be looking for any excuse to bring out your agenda

  7. Ralph,
    Another great report. I do enjoy reading your blogs, keep up the great work. You hit the nail on the head referring to the remake of To Kill a Mockingbird. Now, we have to work on getting these innocent men out. Thanks again, Ralph.

  8. I'd like to bring up one point about Louise Hagner. If her recounting of Billy's story was suspect, why did the prosecutors have her appear before the grand jury that indicted Engelhardt & Shero, and have her read her notes verbatim into the record? The grand jury is the prosecutor's aquarium; no defense lawyers were allowed to question her.

    1. Hi Ralph,

      Aquarium? In this particular case, I think it was more like an uncovered sandbox.

    2. Ralph, Have you heard from any of the jurors? Based upon your reporting of this case, I was very surprised by the conviction. My theory is that one or more rogue jurors filled in the gaps of the prosecutors case; and smoothed out the inconsistencies in Billy's story. Other than that, nothing else makes sense. McGovern is a very fine defense lawyer and it sounds like the case could not have gone better for the defense. The last jury hung on the Brennan case and there was significantly more corroboration that at least some untoward conduct occurred between the two. As my prior posts certainly indicate, I am no fan of the AOP or the RCC, but less of a fan of anyone getting railroaded or unfairly convicted. In my humble opinion, there is a piece that is missing to this story; and my best guess is that a juror had some undisclosed connection to the players in the case. The other issue is that Billy's father is a Philly Police officer. Suffice it to say that strange things happen when Philly cops have a stake in a case. And I think that is why, in no small part, there was a lot of coddling and benefit of the doubt given Billy throughout the whole process. Cop's kids (and relatives) often get special treatment in the system both when they are the accused and the accuser. It usually doesn't invade the jury box but it would absolutely affect whether the DA goes forward with a particular marginal prosecution.

    3. Ko, the jury was anonymous, and during selection they were referred to by numbers rather than names. So I have no way of contacting them. Nobody from the jury has come forward.

      I think we are missing a piece of the story myself. As to the jury, I have heard rumors about jurors having relatives on the police force, and other rumors, but nothing has been confirmed. The jury foreman went to St. Jerome's and knew Avery, but then left the Catholic church for reasons not disclosed. I was told she was a nurse who may have known Billy's mother. But again, I have nothing confirmed.

      Anybody know anything out there?

    4. If the defense lawyers left on someone who was from St. Jerome's that might be one explanation. Parishes are small places where everybody knows each other. One of the priests on the suspended list is from my childhood parish. In addition to what he has been accused of, there was a long history of questionable acts going back to his seminary days. Everybody knew he was off and it was a topic of fairly wide discussion. If he was prosecuted and somebody from the parish was on the jury, he would be convicted of everything up to and including Hoffa's murder. If someone from the parish came in to testify that he was a good guy or it couldn't of happened, a juror who grew up in my neighborhood wouldn't believe that person. If you find the St Jerome lady, then we will know what happened. That was a very high risk move to leave her on the jury. And the cop factor always looms large. My $0.02.

  9. Billy cannot get his stories straight. He has a girlfriend who knows he will hit the lottery jackpot and sticks with a heroin abuser of a loser who works as a landscaper in Florida for a relative. Billy put four people - a Monsignor, two priests and a teacher in jail by telling a fabrication of stories about his abuse. One I find amusing was his claim that he was anally abused from 7 am to 12 noon in the room behind the altar while conveniently ignoring the fact that the doors were open at all times and there was plenty of traffic flowing in and out. Why this is amusing if it was not for the fact that four innocent people are in jail is that the average person lasts between 15 minutes to 30 minutes while having sex and this claim of five hours of anal abuse is so much crock as to be totally unbelievable to any rational person!

    Billy now faces multiple charges of perjury once the priests and teacher are released from jail and the DA will have to prosecute him for such.

    1. "Why this is amusing if it was not for the fact that four innocent people are in jail is that the average person lasts between 15 minutes to 30 minutes while having sex and this claim of five hours of anal abuse is so much crock as to be totally unbelievable to any rational person!"

      Actually, your time estimate of 15-30 minutes would be abnormally long for recreational sex. According to most reputable studies, its between 3-7 minutes; and anything beyond 12 minutes would be considered to be a "delayed or junkie orgasm." Below find the source. But again, quibbling over one particular inconsistency given the veritable sea of inconsistencies in Billy's story seems beyond the point; and rapists often do have some form of sexual dysfunction that can make climax difficult if not impossible.

      Juries collectively are not stupid. Something else was going on in this case; and we don't know what. Under any analysis, for many reasons, Billy's story seems to lack credibility. But people can get raped for a long time. The motivation for recreational sex is completely different than what is going on in a rape. Assuming that a rape victim is lying simply based upon a conventional understanding of recreational sex would be as specious as assuming that all priests abuse kids based upon some unfounded assumption. A woman or man who was raped over a long period of time could find your knee jerk assessment a bit insulting. Rape is not about mutual sexual pleasure; and often not even about sexual pleasure of the perpetrator.

    2. Thank You. The reason I say that is you educated yourself regarding the abuse about this case. The statement Billy made about being abused for 5-7 hrs. is the truth. Does it mean that Billy for the entire 5-7 hrs. was experiencing penetration ? No, but to a little boy who had just experienced what he went through at the time, it could have seen endless to him.

      Rape is not about pleasure, but the control the abuser has over his victim.

  10. Rumors, Ralph? You're seeking rumors? The facts are inconvenient, so rumors will have to do? I agree that rumors would be compelling reading and they tend to explode when whispered from one person to another, and I totally look forward to your compilation of them, but let's understand that that would be fiction and not fact. Given that, I should like to hear what anyone in Philadelphia supposes are the undisclosed reasons that the jury foreman left the Catholic Church. I'll be coming back to your blog at least once a week to look for that amazing discussion.

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