Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Don't Write A Suicide Note Without Showing It To Your Lawyer

By Ralph Cipriano
for Bigtrial.net

On Feb. 9, 2011, Bernard Shero sat down to type a suicide note to his parents.

"Dear Mom and Dad," he began. "I know the Easter season has become a very sad season for us. We have lost many loved ones during the year. I am truly sorry for making the time of your birthday a time of loss as well but I feel that I do not have much of a choice here, and I think deep in your hearts, you know why."

On Feb. 9, 2011, Bernard Shero was a 47-year-old ex-Catholic school teacher accused of raping a former sixth-grade student named Billy Doe.

The day he wrote his two-page note to his parents, Shero was a hunted man. Detectives from the district attorney's office had called Burton Rose, Shero's lawyer, to ask if Shero was going to turn himself in. The detectives wanted Shero to report to the D.A.'s office at 6 a.m. on Feb. 10, 2011. Or else, the detectives would be driving out to Shero's apartment armed with an arrest warrant.

Bernie Shero told his lawyer he couldn't be at the D.A.'s office by 6 a.m. And when Rose called him back, he couldn't get Shero on the phone.

On Feb. 10, 2011, the day after he wrote his suicide note, Shero took some sleeping pills and went to bed.

He did not foresee detectives banging on his door, or a groggy ride to the hospital in an ambulance.

He also made the mistake of not showing that suicide note to his lawyer.

Was Bernard Shero's suicide note an admission of guilt?

The jury certainly thought so.

We're going to take a look at that note, so everybody can make up their own minds. But before we get to that let's review what Shero was accused of. Billy Doe claimed that during the 1999-2000 school year, when he was an 11-year-old sixth grader at St. Jerome's Church in Northeast Philadelphia, Bernard Shero raped him.

On Jan. 30, 2009, Billy Doe told his story to Louise Hagner, a social worker from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Billy Doe would subsequently tell a grand jury on March 19, 2010 that he was high on heroin the day he talked to Louise Hagner, so he couldn't remember a thing he told her.

 In a Jan. 21, 2011 grand jury report, the district attorney took Billy Doe's side, and was highly critical of Hagner.

The D.A. accused the social worker of an conducting an "unprofessional, forced interview with a distraught" Billy Doe. It was an interview, the district attorney wrote, that "defense attorneys will undoubtedly find useful in trying to cast doubt on Billy's story."

The district attorney charged that Hagner's actions were part of an ongoing archdiocese strategy of "moving quickly to solicit highly detailed statements from victims."

Nowhere in that grand jury report, however, does the district attorney accuse Louise Hagner of fabricating any details.


On April 8, 2010, Louise Hagner testified before a grand jury. She said that when she first spoke to Billy Doe, on the phone on Jan. 29, 2009, Billy Doe said the rape "happened after class in the classroom on one occasion."

But the next day, on Jan. 30, 2009, when Hagner went out to interview Billy Doe, he told her a different story. This time, Billy Doe said, the rape by Shero occurred at 3:15 p.m. in a parking lot outside an apartment building and a dumpster near Shero's home:

Mr. Shero was his sixth grade teacher. He said the students thought there was something wrong with him and he was constantly touching everyone, both boys and girls. When asked if the kids had a nickname for Mr. Shero, Mr. Doe said they called him pedophile.

One day in class Mr. Doe made a smart comment and Mr. Shero told him to stay after class. Mr. Shero talked to him after class and then offered to drive him home. Mr. Doe told him no because he only lived a block away; however, Mr. Shero forced him to go into his car. Instead of driving him home, he [Shero] pulled behind an apartment building near his home. It was 3:15 in the afternoon but no one saw them because he parked by a dumpster.

Mr. Shero punched him [Billy] in the face and tried to pull his pants off. He grabbed the seatbelt and wrapped it around his neck. Mr. Shero performed oral sex on him and then Mr. Shero made Mr. [Doe] masturbate him. He also licked him all over.

[Mr. Doe] also said that Mr. Shero tore his shirt and ripped it off. Mr. Shero told him if you ever tell anyone, no one will believe you. I will make your life a living hell. [Mr. Doe] said after the incident he arrived home before his parents and threw the torn shirt in the sewer so that his parents would not see it.

He [Billy] said that after this incident he was out of school for a while due to illness. When he returned to school, Mr. Shero said to him you liked it, didn't you?


On Jan. 28, 2010, Detective Drew Snyder interviewed Billy Doe, with his parents present. Here's what Snyder wrote in his notes:

[Billy Doe] is in the sixth grade and Bernard Shero is his homeroom teacher and English teacher. [Billy Doe] states that Shero is a weird touch/feely guy. Shero put his arms around the students when he is talking to them and whispers in their ears. He rubs their backs and is just creepy to be around. [Billy Doe] says there are multiple complaints about Shero .. [Billy Doe] further states that Shero had him doing odd erands.

[Billy Doe] is in "Morning Detention" for not doing his homework. [School starts around 7:30 a.m.] Shero is the teacher in charge of detention. Shero approaches [Billy Doe] at detention, starts rubbing [Billy Doe]'s back and whispers in his ear, "I have my eye on you, you're a very good looking young man and it is time for you to become a man. He tells [Billy] that "We'll discuss this later."

About a week later while at lunch, Shero tells [Billy] to come up to the classroom. When [Billy] arrives in the classroom, Shero says, "Remember our conversation? It is time to become a man." Shero starts taling about sex, asking [Billy] if he knows about sex. Shero says that he'll be giving [Billy] sex education soon.

A couple of days later at the end of the school day, Shero approaches [Billy] and tells him that he is going to give [Billy] a ride home. [Billy] protests but Shero is insistent. [Billy] gets into Shero's car. Shero drives [Billy] away from [Billy]'s house towards Father Judge High School. Father Judge is letting out so Shero drives to Rhawn and Holmhurst Sts. and pulls into the parking lot that sits below street level. (Shero has an older model Ford Taurus). Shero tells [Billy] "It's time for your sex education."

Shero undoes his pants and tells [Billy] to undo his pants. Shero tells [Billy] to get into the back seat. Shero masturbates [Billy] 'til [Billy] is erect, and then tells [Billy] to spread Shero's buttocks cheeks. Shero guides [Billy] through the process of anal sex. After this act, Shero has [Billy] lay on his back and Shero sucks [Billy]'s testicles. Shero then wipes [Billy]'s penis and begins sucking [Billy]'s penis. Shero has [Billy] in a '69' position and tells [Billy] to suck his penis. When they are through, Shero's demeanor changes. He throws [Billy]'s clothes at him and tells him "you were very good." Shero tells [Billy] to walk home from the parking lot. (The encounter was about an hour long). [Billy] walks home and takes a shower.

After a couple of weeks, [Billy] gets real sick and missed a lot of school. When [Billy] returns to school, Shero treats [Billy] the same way.

In his notes, Detective Snyder wrote down one additional detail that Billy told him about the attack -- "Shero ejaculates in [Billy's] mouth."


Q. Did anything happen in your sixth grade year?

A. Yes.

Q. What time period or what part of the school year where you in when something happened?

A. It was towards the end. Like, probably Spring.

Q. Can you tell us what happened at that time?

A. Mr. Shero was kind of a creep. He would always be touching students when he would come up and talk to you. He would put his arm around you and kind of whisper in your ear. He was inappropriate when he would talk to the students. He was talking to me for like a while, and he was getting kind of intimate ... Asked me about stuff that I did outside of school, like if I had a girlfriend, all that kind of stuff ...

Q. Ok. What happened after that?

A. One day after school, he said he was going to give me a ride home ... Instead of giving me a ride home -- not too far from my house, there's a park. I used to live up the street from Pennypack, and there's an entrance that's a couple parking lots where you park your car, but it has three levels to it. We always called it Little City, and that's where he took me.

Q. Ok. Did you say anything to him about not taking you straight home?

A. Yes.

Q. What did you say?

A. I asked him why we were stopping here.

Q. What did he say to you?

A. We're going to have some fun ... He told me get in the back seat .. He had me take off all my clothes but he was very pushy ...

Q. What happened after that?

A. He ripped off his clothes and he started to play with my genitals with his hands ... He started to give me oral sex and then he tried to put his penis up my ass ... He got it in a little bit and I started screaming in pain.

Q. Ok. So what happened after that?

A. He had me give him oral sex and a hand job. .. And he had me give him anal sex ...

Q. Ok. What happened after this?

A. He told me to get dressed and walk home ...

Q. Ok. Did he say anything to you when you showed up at school?

A. No.

Billy Doe told the jury a "a couple of weeks" or "a month" after Shero raped him, he got sick:

I was coughing profusely, and at the end of every cough, I would vomit violently ... I went to see my pediatrician. He didn't know what was wrong with me. He sent me to a specialist and they couldn't figure out what was wrong. I was vomiting so much I was losing a lot of weight. I couldn't eat. They had to knock me out for a couple of days. I was out of it for a while ... I missed a lot of school.


Billy gave Louise Hagner two different locations for where he was raped by Shero -- in the classroom, and in a parking lot behind an apartment building and a dumpster near Shero's home. Billy Doe said that Shero punched him in the face, wrapped a seatbelt around his neck, and ripped his shirt off. Shero performed oral sex on Billy and made Billy masturbate him. After the rape, Shero threatened to make Billy's life a living hell. Billy got sick and missed a lot of school, and when he came back, Shero told Billy, you liked it didn't you?

Billy told the police he was raped in a parking lot near Rhawn and Holmehurst during an hour-long attack. Billy said Shero forced the boy to perform anal sex on the teacher, afterwards they engaged in mutual oral sex. Billy added some new dialogue to his story, with Shero telling him, "It is time to become a man," and "It's time for your sex education." The rape ended when Shero ejaculated in Billy's mouth. When the attack was over, Billy said Shero threw the boy's clothes at him and told him he was good. After the rape, Billy got sick and missed a lot of school.

Billy told the grand jury he was raped in parking lot up the street from Pennypack Park. Shero performed oral sex on Billy and attempted to have anal sex with Billy, but Billy cried out in pain and Shero stopped. Shero then had Billy give him oral sex, a hand job, and anal sex. When it was over, Shero told Billy to get dressed and go home. A couple of weeks or a month later, Billy became violently ill and missed a lot of school.

The locations of the rape are different every time Billy Doe told the story, and so are the details of the attack, as well as the dialogue or lack of it.

This is a victim who can't get his story straight.

The one constant in the three stories was that Billy Doe told the archdiocese, the police and the grand jury that he got sick after he was raped by Shero and missed a lot of school.

Like many other details in Billy Doe's stories, the business about Billy getting sick was not backed up by any evidence. Instead, what evidence was available only served to contradict Billy Doe.

During the Engelhardt-Shero trial, Burton Rose, Shero's lawyer, held up Billy's report card from sixth grade to remind the jury that after Billy Doe claimed he was raped during the fourth quarter of the 1999-2000 school year, Billy supposedly missed a lot of time at school. But Billy Doe's report card for the fourth quarter of sixth grade showed zero absences.

"His report card tells us that [Billy] is not telling us the truth," Rose told the jury.


On the night of Feb. 10, 2011, Detectives Drew Snyder and "Gibby" Brook drove out to Bristol Township to arrest Bernard Shero. The detectives knocked on Shero's door and got no answer. The detectives heard a loud thump inside Shero's apartment, so they called the fire department.

The fire department showed up at 10:35 p.m. Detective Brook climbed up on the roof and entered Shero's apartment through an unlocked window. Detective Brook handcuffed Shero and led him downstairs to unlock the door. Detective Brook informed Detective Snyder that Shero had "overdosed' on two sleeping pills he took at 11 a.m. The detectives searched the apartment but could not find the sleeping pills. But they found the suicide note in a folder on a table addressed to "Mom and Dad." Detective Brook rode in an ambulance with Shero to Lower Bucks Hospital.

Detective Snyder recorded what happened next:

While in the E.R. Shero had asked me what was the worse case scenario and I explained that he could go to prison. Shero denied doing anything wrong ... I also noticed that there were several pictures of a Hispanic girl hanging in his apartment I asked Shero why he had pictures of thse girls and he responded that he sponsors three kids from Guatemala ... At 4:30 p.m., Shero was released to us and we transported him to the Philadelphia police detention unit. Shero was arraigned and released on $95,000 bail.


Dear Mom and Dad,

I know the Easter season has become a very sad season for us. We have lost many loved ones during the year. I am truly sorry for making the time of your birthday a time of loss as well but I feel that I do not have much of a choice here, and I think deep in your hearts, you know why.

I could not have asked for two more wonderful parents. Being born with the vision problem things did not come easy for me. Most people would not have helped me the way you have. You have really been a gift to me and I can never thank you enough for all you have done.

[During the trial, Bernard Shero's mother, Bonita, testified that her son was born with congenital cataracts, and between the ages of six months and seven years old, he had 23 eye surgeries.]

Mom, you have always been that light of optimism for me. It seemed like any time I had a problem, you gave me the courage to continue and perserve. You said to me on many occasions that you did not have to worry about me. That comes for 47 years of your guidance and support. The other day you said that you are now worrying about me every day. That really saddened me that I have now become the burden I never wanted to be.

Dad, there were many times you lost your temper with me but in retrospect I know that it was for my own good. I have learned many things from you and I am so sorry that my situation has become a burden for you as well.

You both know that the DA of Philadelphia has decided to go forward with the case. There is no way I could survive another fight, it seems like that is all I have been doing with my life is fighting and I can't do it anymore. I along with our family will be dragged through the mud and in the end, whether innocent or guilty, I will have nothing and you will have to live with the ridicule and the shame. You two are strong, but not that strong and I can not let that happen. I love my supportive family too much to think about it.

I want you to have everything that I  own. All of my bank accounts, IRAs, and property.

You are listed as the beneficiary on my IRAs. I have attached statements to this letter. I have about $3,000 in a savings and $700 in my checking account at TD bank. You an access it using my debit card ... In addition, there is a life insurance policy through LENOX that should be worth about $40,000 ...

I have just one request; please continue to sponsor Josselyn through Children International. I recently found out that her father abandoned her. We did celebrate the same birthday so I think this would be nice. If this is too difficult for you, I understand ...

It was very comforting to know that you were behind me in this situation, as you always were, there is no way I could put you through the grief and anguish this will cause. This is a hard decision for me, I really don't have any friends and you know that even if such an allegation gets out, you are ostracized by everyone. I can only hope you understand and forgive me. I have had a good life and was really fortunate to have done all of the things I have done.

I really love you both. It is my hope that I will be able to watch over you in heaven and that I will see you there.




Burton Rose said the district attorney offered to avoid a trial by having Bernard Shero plead guilty to a lesser charge.

"We went back and forth and we came up with numbers," Shero recalled. But in the end, Shero couldn't do it.

"I just can't take any plea bargain that would require me to admit to something I didn't do," Rose recalled his client telling him.

Burton Rose lost a pre-trial motion to exclude the suicide note. The judge thought it was "evidence of consciousness of guilt," Rose said.

About that note, Rose said, "Look, he never said he did it either."


  1. I post this comment at 2:48PM on March 19,2013

    WE is me, any survivor, any citizen of Philadelphia,any individual across the world,and yes any catholic who is tired of the same BS over and over again.

    Now, please ask yourself this. With all the blogs posted how come 99.5% of Ralph's defense and who he mentions the most is Father Engelhardt ? Was there not another defendant by the name of Bernard Shero who was accused by Billy Doe for abuse ? Is he being thrown underneath the bus ? Is what Billy Doe testified to only a lie when talking about Engelhardt, but the truth when it comes to Shero ?

    ...and will Ralph now only post a blog regarding Bernard Shero after he reads this with only a month left before sentencing ?

    I am staying tuned to find out.

    Then Ralph posts this blog at 8:26

    Be nice, but call it the way you want to.

    1. Talk about sitting around with nothing to do

    2. For your next magic trick you might want to ask ralph to list billy doe's rehab locations and who paid the bills over the course of 10 years. May lead you to his motivation ($$$) and imagination in detailing his fables

    3. You called it Dennis! Good one. I'm sure Ralph got right to work after he saw your post at 2:48PM on March 19,2013. Have you ever actually been down to "Little City" on an afternoon when school lets out in the spring? Well if not, do yourself a favor and drive there to take a look. There are dozens of people at any given time of the day. There's people walking dogs, jogging, walking, exercising, sunbathing, siting on the hoods of thier cars, fathers taking thier sons fishing. I could go on and on. Your telling me that a grown man, raping a 6th grader would not have been seen by anyone? I think not. Or how about we just forget about that. You know what, I like his other story better. The one about the apartment parking lot. No one will see a grown man raping a child in the backseat of his car in broad daylight. Not sure if you know Dennis, but a dumpster can't block off all 4 sides of your car. God forbid anything like this happened to me or my family because this "Billy Doe" is the last person in the world I would want out there representing my interest. He is just another Conman who figured out how to work the system. And sent two innoncent men to jail.

    4. Four innocent men are in jail right now, two in state prison and two in city prison awaiting sentencing. All because of a pathological liar named Billy Doe.

  2. Great article Ralph!! No where in that suicide note did I take notice that Shero admitted to being guilty of raping Billie Doe. As for You Dennis, at this point no one cares what you think!

  3. Dennis - Ralph had promised this bit on Shero a while back....

  4. Did the jury hear all of the different versions of Billy's accusations against Shero?

    1. Yes, they did!

    2. It is hard to explain how a jury could convict after hearing so many variations of the accusations against Shero. But it is also hard to explain why an innocent man would write a suicide note and actually attempt suicide if he knew that he was innocent.

  5. "Forgive me". Case closed. Thank you, Ralph, for reporting this. It doesn't matter what Rose remembers. This note is absolute testimony. The idea of checking with his lawyer is cocky. He meant to die. And everyone reading this had to see that he was not declaring innocence. This note should have been reported verbatim much sooner. Nevertheless, it's good that it has come out now. This defendant was properly adjudicated guilty. I hope the girls he fostered are okay.

    1. Case closed and mind closed.

    2. How do you explain Shero telling the police on his way to the hospital he did nothing wrong? Or, if he is guilty as you say, why didn't he take a plea bargain?

    3. Let's see, he was totally drugged, tried to kill himself to evade arrest, and then got arrested anyway. Anyone being dragged out by police is going to say he didn't do it just so the police don't beat the crap out of him. His note to his parents far outweighs what he told the police or what he told Rose.

      When you have brilliant defense lawyers, you're going to tell them you didn't do it and you're not going to take a plea bargain because your brilliant lawyers have a good chance of getting you off. His case rested on whether the motion to exclude the note was granted. No idea why the lawyers thought the judge would exclude it.

      I do feel sorry for Shero though. I expect he was himself molested. The whole thing, the cycle, is what has to be stopped. Catholic children are taught that normal sex is deviant and sinful. They grow up thinking that all sex is deviant so what's the difference between this bad sex act or that bad sex act. The lucky ones are the ones who leave. My own belief is that no children should be subjected to the unhealthy sex talk that constantly goes on in the Catholic Church. I believe that Shero is also a victim, and I wish that child advocates had intervened on his own behalf.

    4. He was asked in the ER, not immediately or on the way to the hospital. I believe he only took two pills, but don't hold me to that. He also asked the question that began the conversation. Do you think he was drugged up when he asked what the worst case scenario would be? Obviously more coherent than you give him credit for.

      I think you live in a different world with your 3rd paragraph. Your assumptions are comical. Remember we are in 2013, not the 1940's. Parents are the true teachers in real life. If Billy's parents were good at that along the way maybe he would not be a liar, criminal, and drug addict.

    5. Is it not true that the Catholic Church maintains a fake stance against contraception even though almost every Catholic woman uses it?

      Is it no longer true that 7 year olds are taught that Jesus was born to a woman who never had sex?

      Has the Church changed its stance on what it teaches children about masturbation?

      Does the Church still say that people who remarry are living in sin?

      Does the Church still require children to confess sins including impure thoughts to a man behind a screen who claims he never has sex?

      What has changed since the 1940's?

    6. Society is so much different now sister, welcome to the real world. I am not going to go into church teachings but what you say is true, it is just not relevant to the task at hand. The church and the archdiocese played no part in this trial of Fr. Engelhardt and Mr. Shero. Neither was defended by the AOP. You don't see the AOP protesting this disgrace of a verdict. They should be ashamed of themselves too for allowing their lawyers to go along with Sarmina and not to question him during Lynn's trial. You are being played by Billy's lies.

    7. Hi SarahTX2.

      I'll tell you a secret. When I first read the last Grand Jury Report, I tended to believe that Shero was the sole perp and that Billy was method acting regarding Avery and Engelhardt.

      However, upon further reflection and reading the trial accounts published here and elsewhere, I'm thoroughly convinced that all three men are innocent. All three.

      I would suggest that you re-read Shero's suicide note. In it, I see a friendless, suffering, visually handicapped man who has long been supported by his loving parents. With no children of his own, he willingly and selflessly sponsors a young girl from another country.

      Being accused of the sexual abuse of a minor is - in and of itself - such an unspeakable crime that leaves an indelible mark against one's name, effectively tarnishing it forever - - even in the face of an acquittal.

      Considering this, his fragile state of mind at the time, the Avery's plea / Lynn's conviction, the relentless prosecution efforts and the imminence of his arrest, one can perhaps understand why he would seek the relief that he felt suicide would offer.

      Sarah, Shero begged for his parents forgiveness because of his pending suicide, not because he abused Billy.

      Why not give Shero the same level of understanding, compassion and benefit of the doubt that you apparently extend to Billy, with all of his 'stories'.

    8. Sarah, I firsthand know of one that was falsely accused of molestation who was successful in his suicide. The allegations were proven to be false after the fact. There have been more instances of this very scenario. There IS precedent for it.

      I repeat, your emotions have been preyed upon. You've been had.

  6. Has anyone noticed that Billy’s alleged abusers seemed to have ‘telegraphed’ their intentions well in advance and then provided a post abuse ‘assessment’ followed by a ‘dismissal’, as transcribed by Detective Snyder (What Billy Told the Police), viz:

    a) Engelhardt- asked Billy to stay after Mass. Their conversation turned to discussing sex. Engelhardt told Billy that sex is OK and that everybody has sex. Engelhardt produced a pornographic magazine which he showed to Billy, telling him that God wants people to have sex, which is alright.

    After another Engelhardt Mass, Billy was instructed to stick around. This time, Engelhardt told Billy how gorgeous he was and had Billy pull down his pants to masturbate him.

    Weeks later, Engelhardt and Billy engaged in mutual masturbation. Afterwards, Engelhardt told Billy that the "sessions" they had together were over and that Engelhardt thought that Billy had learned enough and that it was time for him to move on.

    b) Avery - approached Billy after school during Bell Choir practice and said, "I heard about your sessions with Father Engelhardt." "I don't know what you're talking about," Billy said. "You know exactly what I'm talking about."

    Three days later, Avery told Billy, "I heard you were real good at your (sic. Engelhardt) ‘sessions’ and, "We'll be having our ‘sessions’ real soon."

    Avery said, "I know about your ‘sessions’ with Father Engelhardt. This is your second phase."

    After a funeral Mass, Avery brought Billy back to the storage room and turned on music. Avery had Billy strip, etc..........Avery told Billy that the ‘sessions’ were fulfilling and that is was time for Billy to experience sex on his own.

    c) Shero - whispered: "I have my eye on you, you're a very good looking young man and it is time for you to become a man…We'll discuss this later."

    Later, Shero told Billy "Remember our conversation? It is time to become a man." Shero says that he'll be giving Billy sex education soon.

    Several days later, Shero and pulled into the parking, telling Billy "It's time for your sex education." When done, Shero told Billy "you were very good”, and has Billy walk home.

    1. Yes, and all of that would be consistent with a pedophile grooming their victim. Perhaps that is one of the consistencies the jury relied upon in finding the men guilty.

    2. All very well scripted. Looks like billy finally paid attention in class when being taught by the DA on what the grand jury would want to hear.

    3. More to the point, this should have been a red flag to the DA's office to conduct some more investigations BEFORE the indictments - like the ones that they conducted when it was already too late (e.g. 'bass ackwards').

      Three perps from the same church who abuse one kid who provides widely differing accounts....

      In my opinion, at face value this fails the 'red face test'.

    4. Seth - as Brian mccaffrey said, "You see that flash of light in the corner of your eye? That's your career dissipation light. It just went into high gear."

    5. He's essentially telling the same story three times. The dialogue of the three characters is similar as well.

      I'm amazed by people's ability to see what they want to see here.

    6. So the problem with his stories is that they are too consistent AND too inconsistent?

    7. Plus all that happened in the sacrisy which is a public place with traffic flowing in and out. A miracle that nobody caught Billy Doe with the priests in a compromising position!
      Now, does that make any sense to you?

    8. When did the sacrisy come to be a public place ?

    9. Dennis, let me fill you in: The sacristy at St Jerome's, when the 4 hour rape allegedly occurred, includes a door to the altar, a door leading to the school and a door to the only bathroom in the church which was accessible to anyone who needed a restroom. That is what makes it a "public room." Anyone was able to enter this room at any given time. It was not the typical sacristy that I guess you or I have been in.

  7. The girls that Shero fostered from Guatemala, please seek help, from me, slkleman@yahoo.com, or from Dennis, or from other child advocates. You are important and you will not be lost in Philadelphia. God has a plan for you as He does for me and everyone else. Do not despair. Seek and you shall be found. This case is over. Your life begins anew. Try to begin it now.

    1. Oh yeah, Dennis would be the right guy to send them to.

    2. Plus Father Avery.

      IF you read the story again, you will see that Shero donated money to help poor children in foreign countries. He was not charged with abusing them as he never saw them in person, only received a picture. And he was not charged with this as this is a legal acitivity as many other people do donate to those kids in charities.

    3. Maybe you should check the photo for worn, torn and fade marks.

  8. The new Pope has the same history of trying to subvert justice in his country. The new Pope tried to advocate for his friend who was convicted in Argentina. See the Washington Post's story about it. I will not give you the link. It is obvious. The new Pope is down for trying to subvert justice in his own country. Much like in Philadelphia. The new Pope apparently is down for child molesters. Not a good sign.

    1. Subverting justice is something Seth Williams, Sarmina, and Ceisler knows way too much about - prosecuting innocents using suspect testimony while friends like Councilwoman Brown and Rep Evans misuse public money in the millions (in black & white) without prosecution.
      The DAs investigators are the kinds you see in a bad movie. Raped during the day in "Little City" or in St Jerome's sacristy - simply couldn't have happened. It would be like parking at 15th & Market during rush hour.
      This whole experience discredits the American justice system - innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt is now guilty until proven innocent beyond a reasonable doubt
      When are the appeals?

    2. Ralph stated on January 29th – The Jury Asks for Too Much - The deliberating jury asked for a repeat of Detective Snyder’s testimony when he arrested Shero. The judge then proposed having the court reporter read back Snyder's testimony as to when he read excerpts from his notes, and the cross-examination of the detective when his notes were discussed.

      The judge then told the lawyers "They are having a hard time clarifying it," presumably meaning the jury's request for read-backs on testimony.

      The jury then asked for a read back on Detective Snyder's testimony, and also a read back on Billy Doe's direct testimony about the alleged rape by Shero.

      Rose asked the judge to deny the request, instead suggesting that the judge tell jurors to "rely on your own recollections."

      The judge agreed. "It's getting way too involved…..they're going to have to rely on their collective recollection."

      In retrospect, relying on THIS jury’s ‘collective recollection’ may have been a mistake.

  9. What is ironic with this case is the saying "What goes around comes around." How many children in the past have come forward to report they have been abused but not believed ? How many children went to their own parents to report abuse by a clergy member only to be beat for accusing a priest and not believed ? How many individuals are still out there who not wish to come forward not because they were abused but a fear of being believed ? And how many children or adults have taken their lives to be at peace because of what a clergy member did to them and were not believed ?

    Now you have this case where the defendants have been found guilty by a jury of their peers, by a credible witness to the jury, and evidence presented to the jury who are CLAIMING they are innocent and not being believed.

    You then have an individual who wanted to take his own life, who also wanted to receive some peace because the charges he faced, without saying HE DID NOT DO IT to the two most important people in his life. he also said one of his fears was not being believed.

    These two incidents are alike in some ways, the only difference is these two defendants will be allowed a do-over. Something survivors will never receive.

    I do believe this case and the past cases and the future cases have done something positive besides putting abusers and a enabler in prison, and that is I believe any clergy member catholic or not, anyone who works in an organization were children are present will think twice before touching a child or breaking those boundary lines.


    1. Where is the jury now? Why has not one individual spoken to the media to date on their decision to find these two men guilty?

      What credible witness? An individual who has been in out of 23/24 rehab faciities in ten years. A person who was kicked out of not one but two high schools in quest to further his education. Billy got his education from sitting in those rehab "sessions" and concocting these outrageous lies.

      Dennis - you hold BD in such high regard. Yet you have not once actually read what Ralph has been reporting on to see for yourself what a burden BD has been to his family since high school. High school, not grade school, is where billy's life started to a life of drugs. And the family, well let's see: Dad - Cop, uncle - cop (VP of FOP). Billy was around law enforcemet his entire youth life and he continued to abuse drugs, steal and drink. Guess he did not have the correct role models in his life?

    2. Dennis, you hold a BS degree in spreading such unbelievable hogwash as not to be believed at all. A victim like you would not like what Billy Doe is doing to four men in prison because of his perjurious behavior.

    3. I do hold Billy in such high regard. He had the strength to come forward and tell a jury what happened to him and the JURY believed him. I hold even higher our justice system. Who treated these individuals innocent until proven guilty.

      Now, what is Billy doing to these four individuals ? The rumors on this blog is he is in sunny florida working for his brother-in-law, the reason why they are in prison is because of actions they did. So no one else can be blamed for them sleeping on a steel rack with a 4" mattress,eating garbage , and being told what to do 24hrs. a day.

      It is great you are giving support to these guys, but even Charles Manson has friends.

      and in defending these individuals how many of you hypocrits have dropped a line to either family showing your support of these convicted child abusers ? how many of you have volunteered to drive family members to the prison on visiting days (Shero's parents are up there in age) and how many of you are willing to give financial support if needed.

      I also want to know why some people here believe the jury has to come forward ? If I was a juror and read the comments posted here about making personal information public, I would stay away and make sure the clips and cylinders are full.

      But I would tell those jurors who may want to come forward, that I have dealt with individuals like you many times before and it is only a group of the same people over and over again who are only blowing hot air, and when something more important to them comes up, they will quickly disappear.

    4. Hello Dennis,

      For one, I have been writing to all 4 and have visited one on 3 separate occasions. I am actively praying for them and will continue to do so. This is one of the Corporal Works of Mercy.

      I also try to practice the Spirtual Works of Mercy, one of which is Instructing the Ignorant.

    5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    6. One, do i hear two.

    7. chippy111 - You will never understand. The jury owes the public, the family, the press, NOTHING. Tears have been shed. But those tears are no different then those who have shed tears in the past, present, or future. But the goal is to get all tears stopped from being shed.

      Take your foot out of your mouth. YOU will never LIVE with this until they are free and names clear. You may remember it when you have nothing else to think about, and that seems alot with you, but you will never LIVE it.

      Now, I must decline your offer for coffee, it will be April 18 and i am so sorry that I already have made prior arrangements. But I will be more than happy at a later to show you if I have "stones" or not.

      Please e-mail me so we can set something up.


    8. I pray, too, everyday. I pray for the unjustly accused, and I will never stop praying for them. I would never have mentioned this, but Dennis asked.

    9. @Archie - prayers are great and I won't take that away from anyone, it is probably the best thing anyone can do for these two individuals for there immediate future.

      Fact is though these two individuals have been foung guilty, and will be sentenced.

      Now if I can give some advice. A long time ago I stopped asking the question why. Why did what happen to me happen ? Now I only ask one question and that is what. What can I do to prevent abuse by clergy ? What can I do to help anyone who needs that little bit of extra strength to come forward ? What can i do to turn victims into survivors ?

      You and many others including myself have been sucked into Ralph Cipriano's blog. He reports nothing more than what anyone of us could have found on public records. he continues to fuel the fire with the could of, should of, would of attitude. He brings out in my opinion his own biased views of events. If what he has to say is so important, why has not anything he has had to say to date been picked up on a major media outlet ?

      What he and others have to say including yourself is not productive for Engelhardt and Shero. Its to late to close the barn door, the horse has already left. STOP being one of Ralph's followers or Monday morning quarterbacks.

      I cannot believe what I am going to say next:

      1.use this blog as a productive way to help Engelhardt and Shero, and if this blog goes away start up a Facebook page.

      2.Most likely Shero and Engelhardt will be scared as hell once they reach their final destination. Organize individuals to see them on visiting days as much as possible.

      3.Have individuals visit Shero's or Engelhardt's family. Cards and letters are great, but somone standing there is so much better. You would be suprised what holding someone's hand can do.

      I don't believe you are a stupid man and get the drift about what I am saying. If you truly believe these two individuals are innocent stop asking the question why,why,why, but start saying what,what,what. What can i do to help them. This blog is not the answer.

      Now I promise you, if you choose to be that leader it will not be easy. because there will be people like me watching every move you make. I am that bastard, I am that SOB as people describe me to be, but i am also that guy who will fill up when I am told thank you, or don't ever stop what I am doing.

      So no one can call me two faced, I still believe these individuals should get the max amount of time as possible. But ask yourself this, Why would anyone especially Dennis give us advice ?

      if anyone who is tired of being a victim and wants to become a survivor please contact me at eckerdennis@ymail.com

    10. Dennis,

      You are a coward. You know nothing of me or my affiliation with this trial. I am so sure you have something on the 18th that is so much more important, considering you have sat behind your keyboard for 3 1/2 months now dedicating yourself to this blog. You don't seem to really have a life outside the walls you have created on your own. You are a fraud, which is probably why you still believe Billy's fabricated stories. I doubt anything actually happened to you, you are just a court jester at this point. A fool to those looking to find the real facts, wherever it takes us.

    11. Now, now, now chippy111. I luv when people drop off the deep end like you do. It shows character. You would have done or acted the same way Billy did if that happened to you, or has it ? You may have a form of Stockholm Syndrome, it is an urge to continue to protect your abuser either dead or alive in fear you maybe abused again. And you may see that abuser who hurt you I would guess in Engelhardt.

      I will now take that into consideration when reading your comments.

      If you wish to talk - eckerdennis@ymail.com

    12. Look forward to my email about coffee on April 19th. Until then enjoy your rants based on a total disregard to the facts of this case. Your true agenda shines through everyday. We the fighters will enjoy when these men are set free and Billy is exposed.

  10. Ralph,

    I would love to know what Detective Snyder's thoughts are on the verdict and upcoming sentencing. Since his testimony (Which were Billy's own words) during the trial contradicted Billy's "believable" accounts of this abuse. I would also like to know who was responsible for planting Billy's mom and dad at his office when Billy gave these first statements. Did Snyder ask them to come down to support him or did the DA make that call so it was more sympathetic.

    This whole scam is pathetic for a family of cops. The same law enforcement we ask to protect us every day. I know good philly cops, and these guys are obviously power brokers, pulling strings for this criminal. Wonder how long it will take daddy to retire once his son gets the big payday.

  11. (TheMediaReport.com posting from a different computer. Not one of the many 'Anonymous'es floating around here.)

    For those like SaraTX2 who think that innocent men do not commit suicide, read this story, which is startling similar to that of Shero:


    And, SaraTX2, your dishonesty is astounding. When Shero wrote, "Forgive me," he was CLEARLY asking his folks to forgive him for killing himself.

    1. SaraSNAP is not only dishonest, she is bigoted, as revealed by her comments above regarding Pope Francis. They are irrelevant to this trial and are extraneous baggage that she brings to her interpretation of the objective facts, thereby distorting such interpretation.
      She thus provides a perfect analogy to the dynamics of the miscarriage of justice at hand.

    2. Sir, I don't want this to be a big argument but how is Sarah being dishonest ? What she states about the catholic church is true. Catholic women are on the pill, catholic men do use condoms, but the church wants you to believe that's wrong. Catholic men and women masterbate but the catholic church wants you to believe that's wrong. If a can recall correctly from my grade school days they consider that a form of self mutilation. But did you know it is one way to prevent prostate cancer. When your getting your chemo and radiation think back and say to yourself I did not do what the church thought was wrong.

      Now with regards to the pope it is relevant to this trial, the past trials and all the other cases in the world. The pope is the CEO, he has final say and nobody he has to answer to. He has final say how the catholic church deals with clergy abuse, and by what is being reported in the media it sounds like it will be business as usual.

      However, I believe he needs time to settle in. I will give him time to gain my respect before I close the door on him.

  12. Chippy is right; Shero did tell the detectives he took only two pills.

  13. @ Ralph C: "I'm amazed by people's ability to see what they want to see here."

    Yep. If the Beasley firm ever does a focus group for one of their cases, ask to watch. It's truly incredible. A group will hear the same evidence and often individuals will be relying on the same piece of evidence for the exact opposite propositions. You can see the same phenomenon in Presidential debates. My fundamental problem with the Shero and Engelhardt cases is that the there is no past history of abuse by either of the two, and no real family connection (as there was with Mark). At the inception of the story, you had to believe that there was these adults with no history of abuse and no real connection with each other chose to abuse this kid and no other in a very aggressive manner and in quasi public places. Billy basically alleged a conspiracy of three adults who abused one and only one kid at St. Jeromes's during a relatively narrow period of time. With Sandusky, kids came out of the woodwork over many years; and despite some insinuation, there is no real evidence that he acted in concert with other adults with regard to the abuse. It's just an extraordinary claim; and to me, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence to support them. Here, there is nothing more than a disjointed story by a very troubled kid with significant inconsistencies. If I heard the evidence, I would have voted for an acquittal to the point of hanging the jury. But, as I have seen in focus groups, there are individuals who will look at the evidence completely differently. The common feature of this juror is that he or she is faith based rather than reality based. They have a particular belief, and they overemphasize evidence that supports their belief and ignore evidence that is inconsistent with their belief. Indeed, if there is overwhelming evidence that contradicts their belief, they will construct a conspiracy that suggests that the pile of evidence is so overwhelming that it must be concocted. Evolution, Climate Change, and Obama's birthplace are all great examples of reality versus faith based thinking. The more reality based evidence you throw at a faith based thinker, the more entrenched they become in their belief. This is a great scenario because you have two faith based camps opposing each other. Church apologists, by definition, are faith based and want to claim that mountains of evidence of institutional abuse are all fabricated to make the church look bad. "Victims-Advocates" refuse to acknowledge that not all cases are supported by the evidence and want to believe any victim who comes forward with a story that supports their world view.

    1. Right on KO. What would your take be on the suicide note?

    2. KO, by and large I agree with what you are saying except for one aspect: where are these "mountains of evidence of institutional abuse"? "Hyperbolic" fits better than "fabricated", and no apologist that I know of will ever claim that the situation is fabricated. Exaggerated, yes, but not fabricated.

    3. My take on the note, absent any history of abuse, is that it corroborates what is obvious, which is that he is a depressed social misfit who has shouldered a fair measure of abuse and harassment over the years. I think he was just fed up with living life as the weirdo kick boy. Of all the sad figures in these cases, "victims" and accused, Shero seems like he was dealt the shortest hand. We all had these types in our neighborhoods and if there is a hell or purgatory, its reserved for the times when we took our own frustrations and sense of impotence out on these sad odd balls.
      Ken, I don't disagree that there has been exaggeration. But the story was originally that it was a Boston problem, then, an American problem, and now its obvious it occurred in Ireland and worldwide. Having spent years claiming the problem was small and isolated, there's bound to be a reaction. The church's own John Jay study acknowledges a significant level of abuse. The RCC of my youth had a terrifying level of authority over my community. The priests had unquestioned control over the school, health care, nursing home care and most major life events. It was interwoven in every aspect of life. Complaints about abuse of authority fell on deaf ears, whether it was the incompetent grade school teacher or restricting access to facilities parishioners paid for, there was no recourse or appeal. And there was a level of arrogance that was tough to describe. Tolerating abusive priests, physical, sexual, or emotional, was expected. We tolerated it because they assured us they knew best and it was part of Gods plan. Is the sexual component exaggerated, maybe. Did every parish deal with at least one petty abusive tyrant who abused his office, yes. That abuse is grossly understated.

  14. Can anyone give information on the appeals of Lynn, Engelhardt, & Shero? Have they been filed? When do they get heard?

  15. Somethings to think about:

    1. Regarding both Shero & Engelhardt. Why did these two individuals refuse to take the stand in their own defense ? If you are being accused of a crime, and you are innocent, have nothing to hide, would you not want to scream it from the roof tops so everyone can hear ? (now the jury is not to let this decide guilt or innocence)

    2. The Suicide Note. Here are your final words you are leaving to your parents,especially to your mother who you love so much. but not one word to put her at ease you did not do this horrific crime. You leave one paragraph talking about this case and not only did you not defend yourself, you speak not one word of anger towards the individual who has brought false charges against you.

    Now some of you have mentioned that these two individuals do not have any history of past abuse, and i will agree it is rare, but it is not written in stone. But, are you sure these two individuals 100% do not have a past history ?

    3.Remember Mr. Shero was spoken to by a fellow teacher for having inappropriate behavior with minors. Although it may have been only putting his arm around a child or resting his hand on a knee. A child may feel uncomfortable and will refuse to report it in fear of getting a bad grade. Also this is ONE of the most common grooming techniques used by abusers. (Testing to see how far they can go.) Those who have children or grand-children think about your kids who may have to go through this, who are afraid to tell mom or dad, or pop-pop or grandmom.

    4.Then you have kids who threw rocks at his house. Why did they do this ? Was it because these kids were not taught any better, or was it because of fear ? Some kids have that extra sense who to go near and who to stay away from.

    5.Now you have Engelhardt. How many remember Brian Lyman ? The cousin of Engelhardt. When asked the question regarding Engelhardt's reputation he responded "he has a horrible reputation." Then not to be crossed by the defense was a loud statement the jury heard. This man is not a drug addict, not a criminal, has nothing to gain or lose in this trial but also made it crystal clear (away from the jury) he was there to support the victim. There are also those rumors that Ralph even reported on if he was allowed to testify he would of spoke of abuse by Engelhardt. For a man to make a statement about a relative, a relative who married you and your spouse, and baptize your kids is more than a family tiff. This man is very educated and I think he knows his 5 word statement can be a MAJOR factor that may put away his cousin for decades.

    I would not want to be at that house for Thanksgiving

  16. Dennis,

    I would not be so quick to say that the cousin does not have a history similar to Billy's in one form or another. You obviously are only assuming things at this point, because your # 5 statement above is quite inaccurate from what I heard.

    1. please inform me what you feel is "quite inaccurate" or what you heard.


Thoughtful commentary welcome. Trolling, harassing, and defaming not welcome. Consistent with 47 U.S.C. 230, we have the right to delete without warning any comments we believe are obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected.