Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A Juror Finally Speaks

By Ralph Cipriano
for Bigtrial.net

It took 69 days, but finally a juror in the Engelhardt-Shero case has spoken out.

The barefoot, stylish lady who came to the door accompanied by her doting husband said it all came down to the victim's testimony.

"I believed him," said the juror, who asked to remain anonymous after a reporter knocked on her door.

And while "Billy Doe," the victim in the case, may have told a story where the details varied every time he told it, his behavior remained the same. And apparently, that was the consistency this juror was looking for.

"His pattern never broke," the juror said of Billy Doe. "He started changing when he went to high school. He never broke his pattern of getting in trouble." And "his way of letting go of the pain" never varied either.

It was always drugs.

"When you're on drugs, a drug addict will tell you a lot of stories," she said. So this juror apparently gave Billy Doe a pass when his story changed every time he told it.

Because he was a consistent drug addict.

Go figure.

The juror recalled the wild stories that Billy Doe told Louise Hagner, the social worker from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

To recap:

-- Billy Doe told Hagner that one day after Mass, Father Charles Engelhardt locked all four doors of the sacristy, took off all his clothes, and anally raped the 10-year-old altar boy for five hours. Then the priest threatened to kill Billy if he told anybody.

-- Billy Doe told Hagner that Father Edward Avery "punched him in the head" and when he woke up, the boy was naked and tied up with altar sashes.

-- Billy Doe told Hagner that Bernard Shero punched him in the face and wrapped a seatbelt around his neck before raping him in the back seat of Shero's car.

When Billy Doe retold all these stories to the police and the grand jury, all those crazy details mentioned above disappeared from his stories -- the five hours of anal sex with Father Engelhardt and the death threat from the priest; the punch in the head from Father Avery and that whole business about waking up naked and being tied up with altar sashes; and that punch in the face from Shero and the seatbelt wrapped around his neck.

All of that stuff goes out the window, and this juror wound up feeling suspicious about Hagner.

"She did not shred her notes," the juror said of Hagner.

The social worker did testify that her usual pattern was to get rid of her notes, but she could not explain in this case why she varied from her usual pattern.

To this juror, that inconsistency spoke volumes.

"And then she lawyered up," the juror said about the social worker, who passed her notes about Billy on to the archdiocese's lawyers.

As far as lawyering up, this juror was not upset by the presence of Billy Doe's civil lawyer in the courtroom almost every day, and Billy Doe's ongoing lawsuit seeking civil damages from the archdiocese.

To this juror, it was all about the suffering the victim had endured after being attacked by three rapists at St. Jerome's Church.

The juror's husband recalled the day his wife came home, and sat down at the kitchen table. As he watched, his wife bowed her head and began sobbing.

Her husband said he figured it was another rough day at the Engelhardt-Shero trial.

This juror, a mom herself, obviously has a big heart for kids.

"No amount of money is going to give him the comfort he needs," she said of Billy Doe.

The juror gave some insights into the trial. She spoke about the day the jury sent the judge a note asking what happened to Billy Doe's brother.

Billy's older brother was an eighth-grade altar boy when Billy was a fifth-grade altar boy.

The older brother gave a statement to detectives where he contradicted Billy on several key points. While Billy Doe had said Father Engelhardt first hit on him when he was putting the wine away after Communion, the older brother, who was also a church sexton, said it was the sexton's job to put away the wine after Mass, and not the altar boys.

While Billy Doe had claimed Father Engelhardt locked all four doors of the sacristy after Mass when he raped Billy Doe, the older brother told detectives the doors to the sacristy usually remained open, including one door usually propped open by a chair.

Michael J. McGovern, the defense lawyer for Father Engelhardt, had talked about the older brother's conflicting statement given to detectives. And then one day in court, McGovern asked loudly if the older brother had showed up to testify.

The prosecution said the defense had not properly served the brother with a subpoena, and he was out of town on business.

"It was a deal," the juror said of the missing brother. She did want to hear what he had to say. But she figured a lawyer could have many reasons for being out of town.

 The juror had nothing but praise for her fellow jurors. It was quite a varied group, she said, with people  from varied backgrounds. There were a few Catholics on the jury, and like her, a few non-Catholics. Although she has a daughter who goes to a Catholic high school.

The juror said initially, the group split 9 to 3 for convictions, and then 10 to 2. The jury foreman for a time was a hold out, so was a social worker on the jury who was looking for more proof. But the rest of the jurors explained the incidents were so long ago it was impossible to come up with the proof that this juror was looking for.

The jury was not interested in talking to the press. They were not tempted by the TV cameras waiting outside the Criminal Justice Center.

"Not this group," she said with a smile. "They were flying out of here"

"I think they were tired," she said of the 2 1/2-week trial that ended on Jan. 30. "It was quite a long trial. Every day was tense."

Jurors were told to line up to go into the courtroom. They frequently had to wait outside the courtroom in a hallway. The smokers on the jury -- she wasn't one of them -- had to go across the street together on a break, with a formal escort, just to catch a puff.

 "It was like being in prison," she said.

The wildest day of the trial was when Ed Avery showed up in court in an ill-fitting prison uniform to recant his guilty plea, and tell the prosecutor he never touched Billy Doe. He only did it because he was facing 20 years if convicted and the prosecution offered a sweetheart deal -- 2 1/2 to 5 years, Avery testified.

"I think he was trying to plead his own case," she said of the defrocked priest.

Did you believe him?

"Naah," she said.

This juror was impressed by the judge. She liked the lead prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Mark Cipolletti.

"He did an awesome job," she said.

This juror was not impressed by the two defense attorneys in the case, Michael J. McGovern and Burton A. Rose.

 "I didn't think they were good," she said. "I didn't like either one of them."

When told that one alternate juror had said that she didn't think a Catholic priest could get a fair trial, this juror disagreed.

"That's not so," she said. She didn't think the Catholic Church had a monopoly on sex abuse.

"I think it happens in every denomination," she said. "I think you have to hear the evidence."

Ah the evidence. There sure wasn't much in this case except for the victim's stories.

But this juror bought Billy Doe. And so did the rest of the jury.

"I don't have any doubts," she said about the convictions on nine of ten counts against the two defendants.

"I know in my heart if I was innocent, and God knew I was innocent, I would not be convicted of a crime," she said.

She seemed sincere.

Tell it to the defendants.

Ralph Cipriano has set up a special hot line for jurors at ralph@bigtrial.net


  1. "I think you have to hear the evidence," the juror said.

    Yes, she is 100% correct about that. But what other evidence did she hear except for Billy's wild and remarkably varying stories? The radical inconsistencies did not give her *any* doubt at all? Wow ...

    Great work, Ralph.

    1. Dennis - You are a lowlife who has nothing better to do with their time then comment on this blog. Keep writing what you want. And then when all is said and done a formal apology will be required. You are beyond approach at this point as you have crossed too many lines at this point.

      I have my doubts on your story from Judge and have to consider if you yourself have ever harmed a child. And using this as an excuse to cover you a**.

    2. Why don't you show up on the 18th instead of hiding behind your keyboard. I would love to be in the same room as you, you coward. Take a look at these men's family and friends and the total destruction this liar Billy Doe continues to do each and every day since 2009. You should be ashamed of yourself. For an adult parent as you claim to be, you are an asshole. Remember, there are facts and testimony that has obviously been forgotten by you. Maybe you want to remember the lawyer brother's signed document and how it 100% disputes his little brothers testimony. Maybe you want to remember that Billy Doe somehow conveniently, was the only 5th grader in the ENTIRE HISTORY of St. Jerome's to ever be a bell choir maintenance crew member (lie). Remember that Billy's mother has a calender that states he never served a 6:15 am mass during his 5th grade year. And he never served a funeral with Avery at St. Jerome's, since Avery never served a funeral at St. Jerome's in 1998-1999.

      Try to hold off on the pipe you've been smoking and look at the facts of the case.

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

    4. Dennis -

      I have to tell you at this point that I find most of your comments to be beneath contempt.

    5. 8 days until the judge orders a new trial, can't wait.

    6. Please tell me what you were told. Can't wait to hear this one. Somehow i doubt that all anonymous comments are from the same individual.

  2. Sorry, one more thing ...

    "When you're on drugs, a drug addict will tell you a lot of stories," the juror said.

    Well, isn't the fact that a drug addict "tells a lot of stories" enough to instill *reasonable doubt*?!? If you cannot trust a drug addict because he "tells a lot of stories," why trust Billy? Especially in light of the wild and radically different uncorroborated tales that he told?

    (By the way, what is her basis for claiming that "a drug addict will tell you a lot of stories"?)

  3. His pattern never broke? That is what four years of being trained by the DA and whoever they will bring in will get you. The only difference between this person and the other two is yes she unfortunately had a vote. Her motive is evident in her words. Try reading the article again. "we flew out of there." all she got was a 2/12 week vacation and free meals. Why did it take her so long to speak? is it because she has had to train herself what she decided to do those three days was right. Sounds to me as if she ignored all the other testimony and facts of the case and believed an individual who changed in high school. Yes, high school and not the remaining three years he spent in grade school where you could say he was an average student and active in all programs at the school. Ahh the nightmares and the drug abuse have really destroyed this individual's memory. I don't remember, I don't remember....juror #1 to speak out must have missed all those lines during testimony.

    1. Jesus, Dennis do you exist anymore? Ralph has effectively disappeared you.

      Anyone who edits out free speech has cancelled out all here's ability to read Dennis' POV.
      You may not like his POV, Ralph, and your goon squad may not like his POV (point of view) [but though I don't like everything he says or how he says it at times] I do like his take on things and you've decided to eliminate him in effect.

      Once again controlling the dialog. I don't see you editing Anon, the stupid one, or Chippy or any of the people who agree with you. And they insult and name call by the hour.

      Double standard? Of course.

    2. What dialogue Jim? He's just embarrassing himself and his family at this point. He craves attention and lashes out like a child.

  4. "so was a social worker on the jury who was looking for more proof. But the rest of the jurors explained the incidents were so long ago it was impossible to come up with the proof this juror was looking for." So they convicted even though they said them self there was not enough proof. Kind of turned my stomach a bit

  5. 'Hearing' the evidence is one thing, applying one's common sense to it is apparently yet another.

    The only consistencies in this trial were Billy's drug abuse and his inconsistent stories.

    She said that the 'hold out' social worker was 'looking for more proof', but was apparently dissuaded by her peers because the incidents happened so long ago. Didn't the judge adequately explain the burden of proof and reasonable doubt concepts to the jury? If she did, did they listen?

    She mentions that Billy started 'changing' when he went to high school, but didn't Billy testify that he began using drugs and went 'downhill' well before that (in grade school)?

    And how about the story of the 'bells', Billy's teachers' testimonies, the funeral register, the absence of blood on his underwear, and all of that?

    And the fact that she 'didn't like' either of the defense attorneys most probably caused her to either ignore or minimize the key points that they were making.

    I heard from an attendee that some of the jurors were even nodding off during the trial.

    "I know in my heart if I was innocent, and God knew I was innocent, I would not be convicted of a crime," she said. How naive!

    Ugh - what a fiasco!

  6. Wow a very nice but dense woman.

  7. Ralph - I would be interested to get your take on the differences in opinion of the two jurors who have been interviewed for this blog. Any thoughts, comments from your side as you sat through a majority of the case?

    1. Well, obviously, I thought the alternate saw the case clearly, certainly the way I and the rest of the press saw it. As for the regular juror, I really can't relate. She bought the victim's stories; I did not. He was the worst "victim" witness from both archdiocese trials.

    2. Dennis - remind everyone again. were you in court at any point for either of the trials?

    3. Dennis - God Almighty could have been sitting in the defendents chairs and he would have received a guilty verdict. This trial was a waste of the jurors 2 1/2 weeks, it was over before it started.

    4. Very interesting. This backs up what KOPride had educated us about earlier re: jurors opinions. Really, really fascinating.

  8. First, no one wants to believe Billy Doe. Secondly, no one wants to believe this Juror. Why would she lie about what she believed in this trial? What would her motive be? Also, why even bother interviewing a Juror and reporting what she said if almost no one on here wants to accept it? Seems like a waste of time, doesn't it?

    1. Nobody said she was lying. She just seems to have missed the forest for the trees.

  9. Can you say guilty until proven innocent

    Interesting comments again concerning the defense attorneys. Although I thought they did their job of proving more than enough reasonable doubt, looks like their personalities did not relate to the juror as the alternate juror also mentioned this as well.

    1. Chippy111 -

      Serving on a jury in America today is one of our most cherished freedoms and responsibilities. Considering that the remaining years of Father Engelhardt and Bernie Shero were at stake here (their careers had already been effectively ruined by the accusations), one would think that the jurors would have been more attentive to the details and inconsistencies of the testimony rather than the lawyers' demeanor.

      "It was like being in prison," she said of her frenetic jury duty experience.

  10. I acquired a deep respect for the importance of jury duty while serving on a jury for a criminal case in Bucks Cty. Served as foreman. Acquitted a creep - with a past - but the evidence just wasn't there and witnesses were over coached. A chill goes through your body when you stand to read a verdict knowing that a persons life is in your hands - with 2 deputys standing right behind them.

    The initial jury votes show that there was a deeper dynamic in the jury room. You don't go from 9-3 to 12-0 without some arm twisting or a "its time to get out of here" attitude. They convicted despite "it was impossible to come up with the proof that this juror was looking for" Then how did they convict unless they were biased going in? These jurors did a grave injustice to our "innocent until proven guilty" and "beyond a reasonable doubt" justice system.

    How can anyone say that Fr Englehardt and Mr Shero got fair trials when you have biased jurors and Billy Doe getting a free pass from the Phila Police and DA Williams. And a key witness, Billy's brother, failed to honor a subpoena

    Welcome to our generation's "Holy Innocents"

  11. Very interesting perspective from a juror on the jury. First, before assessing blame, consider the State Legislature which extended the statute of limitations that enabled prosecution of clerics who alleged victimization of Billy Doe (stories that change by the second!). Had the State Legislature not caved in to "political pressure" by SNAP and the news media highlighting child abuse in the church, none of those individuals would have been brought to trial and it would have ended there due to statute of limitations issues.

    It is the State Legislature that enabled a grand jury to issue sweeping indictments against Msgr Lynn and others in March 2010 which then led to the landmark trial a year ago. And the highlighting of hte trial made it virutally impossible for a jury with well reasoned people to be impanelled. THat is what we have here in the Shero, Englehardt case. THe jurors felt pressure to convict at all costs which include ignoring evidence right in front of their eyes about the credibility of Billy Doe.

    Ultimately, at some point in the future, Billy Doe will go back to his old habits and die of a drug overdose like all other anonymous herion addicts whose bodies are found, taken to the morgue, and cremated for potters field if no relatives claim bodies. Nary a mention to the Inky on the circumstances of their deaths. Dead heroin addicts are fouknd all over the place and handled routinely by police.

    Right now, there is no active grand jury investigating abuse cases. We have not had a new abuse case apart from the Catholic Church. I am thinking about children who have until age 50 to file "abuse" case against parents who never abused them at all and gave them unconditional love.

    1. What a web you've woven!

      Once more the Church is the real victim here not raped children.

      Here's a little fact for you.

      The majority of heroin addicts age out of use. They get sick and tired of being sick and tired.
      Your very un-Christian wish-projection that Billy will be found dead, belies anything you say.
      You do need religion you have sinned. Here.

      And the last bit about kids falsely accusing their parents is total bullshit

      In my opinion: you, Anon 10:20 are quite the monster.

    2. So the conspiracy theories now include the Pennsylvania State Legislature? Will we soon hear that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court is in on it too?

      There is no conspiracy against the Catholic Church. There is instead a concerted effort among Pennsylvania lawmakers and enforcement officials to get child rapists locked up. That's all it is. People protecting children from a church that endangers children and then shreds the documents.

    3. Sarah, I had chosen to ignore you but I cannot. How is the Philadelphia Church NOW endangering children? Please explain and be specific. I contend that you really are not familiar and I doubt that you will have any answer. You really do sound like a SNAP spinner-no facts-just dumb comments. Be specific, please.

    4. Josie, I can't read the newspaper for you. You'll have to read it yourself. Again, I have zero affiliation with SNAP, much as I respect the organization. You are basically wrong on all counts. And I have no duty to inform you as to what the AOP is doing today, yesterday, or what missteps it will take tomorrow. I have come to the conclusion that you are uninformable.

    5. Sarah, I am more informed that the average person on the particulars, especially what the Philadelphia Church has in place today, to protect children (I am not aware of what any other denominations has in place or any other group for that matter. I do not read the Inquirer-few people that I know do read it-THEY are on life support and they do not inform me with regards to these issues. I asked you how the Philadelphia Church is now endangering children and be specific. You cannot answer, can you?

  12. Dennis, Don't waste your time. You are edited while those who insult you over and over again are not. And because they are not edited; they are encouraged to insult you.

    It didn't matter what the juror said. The spin continues.

  13. I'm intrigued by this "juror's statement, 9 were a go for conviction, 3 holdouts, and despite no physical evidence, the numerous witnesses that absolutely offered a "truckload" of reasonable doubt as to the billy doe version of the event(s)(still wondering how many different stories were actually told) surrounding these "alleged assaults", they pursuaded the others to convict. they had a duty to consider all the evidence, they failed to do so. I believe her words are, it was so long ago so there isn't any proof of the assaults, and they still they rendered a guilty verdict. I won't even mention her dislike of the defense attorney's (not relevant to evaluting the evidence & deciding guilt or innocence of a defendant in our justice system, etc etc...) . I'm certain both Jim and Dennis are offended by the comment someone made about billy doe overdosing, that won't bring any tears to my eyes, that's for sure.
    perhaps I will go to hell for feeling that way, but at least I won't have to subsidize his rehab stints anymore and I'll die with a huge grin on my face. An eye for an eye, that's my credo....

    1. @anonymous@10:20 & 11:35

      Your comments caused me to think about those 56 bags of heroin and this 'lifestyle'.

      Were Billy unavailable for the appeals, would the convictions stand forever, or could Billy's previously recorded testimony be used at a subsequent new trial?

  14. Physical evidence? Billy should have kept some sperm?

  15. Jim: let's see, let's use the alleged 5 hour assault (later miraculously wiped from his vivid recollection), nothing noticed by the parents, one a nurse, the other a "well trained" police officer, BD later complained of some pain, but tests were negative. Or perhaps we can use the "alleged assault" in the car by Shero as an example, vicious attack, belt around his neck ,Oh, that one also disappeared from his recollection as the case evolved, let's try Avery, another vicious attack (actaully I think he claimed there were 2 of those)in a room directly adjacent to the altar in the church (no one heard or saw anything). If you've stepped into a catholic church, they are wide open, doors are not kept shut, and yes there are sacristans/older adults usually who see to the physical plant as well as those duties associated with the masses that occur on a daily basis.

    You talk sperm, Jim, I talk mountains of reasonable doubt and justice for all of these individuals.

  16. That is the reality of heroin addicts, no sugarcoating things. Best thing is not to start the habit and become addicted to it. No good ever came out of heroin addiction. For Billy Doe to blame the Catholic Church for his heroin addiction is way beneath the dirt we walk on. The jury convicted based on political correctness as they ignored glaring evidence that impinged upon the credibility of Billy Doe. THey thought their role was to make people happy yet they didn't do the job they were charged with doing.

    A group of Delta commandos would have no problem rendering a proper jury verdict on the trial in this case as they would see the sordid character of Billy Doe blowing up his case.

  17. What a brilliant and obvious statement: "No good ever came out of heroin addiction." Did you ever even once consider that something MAY have caused his Heroin addiction? And maybe that one thing could have been sexual abuse by a priest? I guess we'll never know for sure, but it's like asking "which came first? The chicken or the egg?" I sure hope that another Juror willing to talk comes forward. Can't wait to see how he/she would be bashed...

  18. Wow. What a relief. A juror who knew that a sexually abused child is a total mess.

    She confirms that the Avery debacle and the obvious bias of Hagner do mean something to normal people. It was the adults in this case, with their bizarre stories, including Shero's suicide attempt, that completely overshadowed the expected inconsistencies in the child's memories.

    The juror didn't like the defense counsel, and who would like them when they bring Avery and Hagner, and then fail to bring the brother and fail to put the defendants on the witness stand to declare their innocence. Again, the adults in this case were the suspicious ones. The defense counsel purposely blew these cases. That's been my contention all along.

    Also, a juror with a big heart for kids. I thought almost all people had big hearts for kids. But apparently it's not a given, so it needed to be pointed out here. I'm glad she pointed out what most people know that an abused child will be unable to accurately record all details of the place, time, etc., while the child is being manhandled by various big men in various locations. It is also expected that that child, within a few years, will start completely falling apart.

    I very much respect Ralph for printing this juror's eyewitness view of the trial. The blog seems a little more balanced now.

    Did you happen to ask her what she thought of Shero's suicide note?

    1. So now the juror is an expert in child abuse. She could tell he was damaged? What facts or firsthand knowledge do you have to say this? This is one juror who obviously did not take her oath seriously. There is a trend here. I am sorry you are so blind to see that.

    2. Thank you, thank you for making Dennis Ecker go "puff"-he really was blown up in "puff" himself and a total waste of time to most readers here. He has nothing to do so he tells us what he had for breakfast and dinner. Unfortunately I just spent an hour of time answering him and teaching use of the English language/spelling etc., while trying not to be insulting. I will make some points later when I regain the time I lost. In particular, his lack of understanding about how this is being handled by our Archbishop is so irritating. He gloats that he sends emails to him, badgers him about what he (DE) is not privy to and knows nothing about anyway. I also think that there is a serious delusional disorder present.

    3. Sarah from above,

      "The juror didn't like the defense counsel, and who would like them when they bring Avery and Hagner"

      Sarah - When are you going to know the facts of the case. AVERY WAS A PROSECUTION WITNESS!!! He wasn't a defense witness. The DA put him on the stand and should have blown the case for them, but the jury thought he was lying. Why, in retrospect, would he lie to the DA, the very person he was there to "work with" while on the stand. He took a sweetheart deal, which happens everyday. its happening to Billy right now by the way with his most recent arrest. Can you say Accelerated Probation for a 8 time criminal.

      Avery told the truth on the stand. He didn't serve a mass with Billy, just ask Billy's mom to check her calender. Or check the parish log. It's all there, the real facts that Billy lied about the whole thing.

    4. Anonymous, what's your premise regarding the unanimous jury? Do you think they were brainwashed? Will we soon be going back to the notion that the jury foreman was a pushy woman who forced people to bend to her will? Which parts of the many conspiracy theories are you subscribing to?

    5. Well, she just told you the jury was split 9-3 then 10-2. Somebody talked them into it. It's great how you see everything so cut and dry. People's minds can be swayed as I said in one of my earlier post. And this woman is talking about god and how he will judge her if she's wrong or right. This Is why church and state are separate. But apparently if your wrong God will take care of everything. Gimmie a break lady. By now you're probably reading this blog. What about the moms calendar, the brother, the 4 or 5 different stories. If billy asked you for some spare change in the street before this you wouldn't even look at him. If he moved next door to you, you would be upset because he's a junkie and criminal. He played you too. Just like all the other idiots down at city hall. Him , mommy, and daddy are laughing all the way to the bank.

    6. Sarah TX & Chippy111

      I’ve known Father Avery since 1960. We were classmates (and very good friends) at Saint Charles Seminary. In December 2003, Cardinal Rigali suspended Ed because of a credible allegation of ‘groping’ sexual abuse made by a fellow who is now a medical doctor and who (along with Billy) testified at Monsignor Lynn’s trial.

      On Christmas Eve 2010, Ed told me that he would be arrested – along with 2 other priests and a lay person – for sexual assaults against a 10 year old boy who was a student at Saint Jerome’s. Ed told me that he didn’t even know the boy. I believed him.

      When it was issued, I read (and then re-read) the 2011 Grand Jury Report. It didn’t pass the ‘red face’ test – one boy who was sequentially abused by three alleged ‘perps’ all of who worked in the same parish where Father Avery was last assigned. Huh??

      I conversed with Ed from his arrest and arraignment, through voir dire and up to his guilty ‘plea’. Ed told me he had passed polygraph tests attesting to his innocence insofar as ‘Billy’ was concerned. But the DA was adamant as he needed Ed’s plea to convict Cardinal Bevilacqua / Monsignor Lynn of Endangering the Welfare of a Child – a long elusive goal, and - as it later turned out - an ‘historic’ conviction. So, to avoid a likely longer prison term, Ed accepted the DA’s ‘sweet deal’, surrendered and then went to jail.

      I visited Ed while he was in the Graterford facility before he testified in the Engelhardt / Shero trial. When I asked him how he planned to testify about ‘Billy’, he looked me squarely in the eye and said that he wanted to ‘clear his name’.

      That is exactly what he very courageously did.

    7. Chippy,

      The defense counsel was not taken by surprise with Avery being a prosecution witness. They knew exactly what was going to happen, and that Avery was going to become a hostile witness, which is in effect a witness for the defense. Ralph did some reporting on this where I think he mentioned that defense lawyers were hoping Avery's gambit would somehow undo Lynn's conviction. The prosecutor may or may not have been surprised by Avery's about face. I'm guessing that the prosecutor knew that Avery's appearance, one way or another, would be a gift for the prosecution, as it turned out to be.

    8. Sarah,

      You make no sense. You are combining the lawyers for both philly trials when you say they knew what was going to happen. That was quote from Lynn or Avery's lawyer after he testified. Get your facts straight, as you sound uneducated on this topic which i have corrected you on 5 times so far on this blog.

      Engelhardt / Shero lawyers had no idea what was going to happen. Avery could have taken the bait from the prosecution to improve his chances of parole. Yet he told the truth and the DA went nuts in court. It should have blown the entire case because no one besides Billy ever testified that anything happened or that they even remember something that may have happened in 98-99. Yet all the school employees and the detective contradicted Billy's testimony over and over again. Add the calenders and the brothers statement and you have a miscarriage of justice.

      Obviously none this was not remembered by this juror who's mind was made up before day 1. Maybe her doting husband has a brain, or eyes to see and read, or some ears to hear actual facts in an important case like this.

    9. "So, to avoid a likely longer prison term, Ed accepted the DA’s ‘sweet deal’, surrendered and then went to jail. I visited Ed while he was in the Graterford facility before he testified in the Engelhardt / Shero trial. When I asked him how he planned to testify about ‘Billy’, he looked me squarely in the eye and said that he wanted to ‘clear his name’.
      That is exactly what he very courageously did."

      Joe, I don't blame you for supporting a long time friend. But, there is a bit of the Lord Beaverbrook story to it all: If you recall, Lord Beaverbrook allegedly asked a society lady if she would "live with" a stranger for 5 Million pounds. She responded in the affirmative. Then Beaverbrook asked her if she would "live" with a man for 5 pounds, to which she responded, "what kind of lady do you think I am." Beaverbrook stated: "we know what you are, we are just haggling over the price."

      To a Philly jury, Ed pleaded guilty to save his own skin, i.e. reduce potential jail time; rather than take the risk of going to trial to clear his name. Then, he came in and testified that he falsely pleaded guilty to sexual abuse of a minor, because they offered him a sweet heart deal. And while he didn't specifically allocute that he raped the boy, he did "falsely" admit to the elements of the crime, a distinction that is probably lost on any normal Philly juror. When he came in and recanted in the Shero, Engelhardt trial, he told the jury that he pleaded to save his own skin but that he was really innocent. Again, that smacks of having your cake and eating it too. I want the sweet heart deal, but I want to clear my name as well. Unfortunately, those two concepts are mutually exclusive.

      We know what your buddy Ed is. He is a guy that admittedly groomed a kid and then groped him. He will give false statements to save his own skin. Whether he raped 'Billy" is seriously in question to any objective person in light of the inconsistencies in the story. But there is nothing about what Ed did that was courageous. "Courageous" would have been to take the now doctor home the next day after he groped him; admit the act to the boy's parents; check himself into a good substance abuse rehab; ensure that the boy received counseling for his unimaginable breach of trust; and seriously think about whether he should have contact with adolescents in the future. If the boys parents sought fit to bring the incident to the attention of the authorities, then he should have admitted it and accepted the consequences. He did none of that. I don't believe in convicting someone wrongly in the present for the sins of the past, but I do object strongly to your characterization of Ed as courageous. The only party who was courageous is the kid who he groped that went on to be successful despite Avery's breach of trust.

    10. If Avery had gone to trial there were others who were going to testify against him, I believe I read that it was 6 other alleged victims. The statutes had expired so he could not be prosecuted for those crimes but multiple victims taking the stand would not look good for the defendant. So Avery the courageous hero was probably not so courageous after all , but took the deal to save himself a longer sentence if convicted.
      I notice the silence of the supporters in reference to Joe's comments about Avery. I think people want to draw the least amount of attention to this star witness and his addiction problems, inconsistencies and abuse issues.

    11. Besides Joe, who else has supported Avery on this blog?

      Everyone knows avery took the deal to avoid a lengthy prison sentence. His bank account will be full when he is freed and he'll be abe to go where he so decides. Because of his actions and being a coward the DA got what they wanted in the conviction of the Msgr. All that did was trickle down to this trial. Fair and impartial, jury of peers. Jury's are to be objective and base the verdict on the evidence presented at trial. The juror for this article has proven that she did not take all the evidence into play. She based her judgement on her view of the lawyers.

    12. Anonymous my point was that people are mainly silent on Avery because although he supported the defendant's claims, his own credibility is pretty much shot. I imagine that many who read these comments wanted to say "stop" to Joe for opening up the Avery can of worms because it is hard to defend someone with such credibility issues, and if they slam Billy ,then Avery should be fair game.

      I agree with you I don't think many on this blog have supported Avery however I remember one comment that referenced Avery's case being unsubstantiated (although found credible by the Archdiocese) and compared him to the suffering of Christ. If I were a family member or supporter of the defendants, I would hope that Joe would be keeping his Avery stories to himself.

      The alternate juror also shared her views on the attorneys but I don't think either the alternate or this juror based their decisions solely on their view of the attorneys. Avery's and Hagner's testimony was brought into that jury room also ,and for some obviously those credibility issues were glaring.

    13. I also agree with you that he did Lynn no favors with his guilty plea. Avery did what was best for Avery, how that is courageous is puzzling.

    14. "Because of his actions and being a coward the DA got what they wanted in the conviction of the Msgr. All that did was trickle down to this trial."

      Again, let's not give the Msgr. a pass. Lynn's involvement in a long history of institutional cover up and hypocrisy is worthy of scorn and moral condemnation. His actions in "punishing' Picard and the good nuns for speaking out, alone deserves rebuke. The statutes of limitations ran because of the actions of Lynn in discouraging reporting, challenging credible complainants, lying to victims even when the cleric admitted misconduct, and punishing other priests and nuns who raised concerns. Despite the moral repugnance of everything Lynn is and represents, I am skeptical of the novel legal theory presented to convict him; and the specific factual allegations supporting his conviction, i.e. was BIlly raped and could he have prevented it. See, the church apologists still don't get it. Jumping up and down with righteous indignation and saying that Billy or Mark are POS is the very antithesis of what the church is supposed to be all about. Jesus allegedly hung with prostitutes and the very lowly of his society. He preached compassion for the troubled and disdain for hypocritical clerics. Lynn was the quintessential Pharisee, much more concerned with the trappings of his station and protecting his institution's power. Brennan showed porn to a little boy and slept in bed with them--before he actually lived in a convent with another. Avery groped at least one boy in a drunken stupor. Cardinal B. and his toady Msg got away with far more cover up and outrage then they can ever be held accountable for. Yes, Billy may be a drug addicted POS. And these trials may have been a little too little and a little too late to sustain convictions under sound legal theories. But don't decry the injustice wreaked against the poor AOP and these convicts without acknowledging the systemic abuse that existed and was covered up by the likes of Bill Lynn.

    15. kopride, DITTO and thank God you are on this site.

  19. So you are a "juror expert" and state that she did not take her oath seriously? How can you say that as fact? I guess you are the same person as the "Heroin expert" above who states that it is best not to start the habit, and no good comes from it, etc, etc. Thank you for your knowledge and accusations of the Juror's character. It was very insightful...

    1. You are blind as DE, JR and Sarah (snap). Did you even read the article or skip right to the comment section. This juror ignored all evidence provided in the case to acquit the defendants. Her motive for a guilty verdict came through in her interview above.

  20. Oh no, now we have an English expert...

  21. Oops ! I am wrong about that. DE just said the same thing 14 x..Hmmm..I think he has criticized others about hitting the keys of their(possessive) computer..Unless, there (another word that is misused all the time here) is some uncontrollable anger happening here. Who knows?? The post makes my point about being delusional, immature, dramatic, silly and not that creative. I am bored with him. Ridiculous!!!

  22. Interesting post. Most of the commenters are clueless about the dynamics of a Philadelphia jury. First, very few jurors in Philadelphia have been left unscathed by drug addiction somewhere in their family or with close friends. Drug addicts are their spouses, siblings, children, and friends. To care about a drug addict is a heart wrenching and difficult thing. It goes from spending hours dreading that phone call that tells you they have been found dead somewhere or are in jail; to guiltily wishing that they would find some peace through incarceration or death just so the torture would stop. Most wish they will get better or stop but the cycle of recovery and relapses takes its toll. The drug plague has affected all ethnicities in Philly. Second, most folks who have been personally affected by an addicted love one look for some reason why their addict ended up in a bad spot. They were bullied, had a learning disability, came from a difficult home, or were sexually abused. There is a natural human piece where they try to exonerate the monster that drug addict's can be sometime and shift responsibility onto some external actor or circumstance. And for the typical Philly juror, they know the difference between the sweet child or person before the addiction; and the absolute monster afterwards. They also understand that drug addicts will lie and tell stories to further their addiction; but have some faith that they lie about drugs but can be truthful in other areas. In my opinion, what this juror is saying is that they quickly overlooked the first part of the "defense," which is that Billy is a lying drug addict who can't be trusted for that reason alone. Further, to the extent that the defense made Billy's addiction and lies during his addiction, the centerpiece of their defense, they did a disservice to their clients. And its probably why the jury disliked the defense lawyers so much. What they were doing was not only insulting to Billy, who they cared about because he is a sad sick person; but it insulted their entire coping system for dealing in their world, which involves caring about drug addicts--and all the pain that it causes to care about sick sad people who will always let you down until they recover, go to jail, or die.

  23. Joe, I just have to ask what makes Avery credible to you? You have pointed out Billy's history and his arrests and drug addictions but you seem to gloss over Avery's own sordid past. It is an interesting dynamic that a person credibly accused of an incident of sexual abuse, subsequently removed from the priesthood and his own struggle with addiction , passes the test for you. Avery doesn't pass the "red face' test for me as you refer to it.
    Forget about the verdict and Englehardt and Shero..I am just interested in how you are able to use one person's sordid past as a question of their credibility but another person's sordid past (Avery) does not seem to influence your opinion of him at all.

  24. The other piece the juror commented about was Avery's recantation. As I stated above, Philly jurors understand addicts lying to further their addiction. I think Ralph was splitting hairs when he talked about the fact that Avery didn't actually admit that he raped Billy in his plea. Avery admitted to the elements of the crime to get a good deal. In simplest terms, if you believe that Avery didn't do it; then you have to accept that he "lied" in his plea colloquy in order to save his own skin, or reduce his jail time. If you believe that Avery did it, then Avery lied when he recanted. Either way, Avery told the Philly jurors who and what he was. He was a guy who would say anything to save his own skin. So while their are reams of lines by commenters condemning the addict for being an addict and acting like an addict, their is also a culture in Philly, rightly or wrongly, that has no respect for the guy who will say or do anything to save his own butt. In Philly, this guy is not a stand up or honorable guy; and he stands well below the drug addict. He is also consistent with every convict who has ever been in their world who claimed that they really didn't do the crime. And Avery represented the church in this trial--even though he was called by the prosecution. So, it was against this background that the other church witnesses came forward, including the social worker. Their choice was to believe the lying addict who was testifying about things other than drugs; or the people from an institution that will lie or say anything to save their own skins or reputation, as represented by Avery and Hagner. I am not saying that I agree with the jury's verdict or that I would have rendered a similar verdict. For me, Billy's inconsistencies were too much to convict these three men. But most of the commenters are replaying the same dynamic that lost the case for these three in the first place, which is that a jury should believe witnesses that have admitted that they will lie to save their own skin and are concerned with their own reputation and civil liability more than anything else; over a lying drug addict.

    1. Joe the groping also involved getting the kid drunk and sleeping in the same bed, while Avery himself was intoxicated. Do you condone this? If not then why do you don't you condemn him the same way you do Billy for his past? You have a low bar for Billy's behavior and a high bar for Avery..fair is fair? I can tell you one thing ,if someone in my life was found credibly accused of sexually abusing and plying a minor with alcohol, their credibility just went below zero and the Christmas Eve conversations, well that would come to a stop also. That person would not have the opportunity to "look me squarely in they eye ' and tell me anything ,as Avery did with you. Wow, your defense of Avery is astounding given some of your statements.

    2. KO, I think we need to offer you a spot here as a legal columnist. Can you drop me a line at ralph@bigtrial.net?

  25. Finally, from focus groups, I have learned that you need to let jurors condemn the "victim," and trust that they will bring their own world experience. For example, I defended a civil case where the plaintiff was raped by a dirtbag and the property owner was being sued for inadequate security. When we focus grouped the case, I made some very soft comments about the time of day and her being alone in a dark area; these relatively soft negative comments I made about the Plaintiff or her conduct leading up to the rape were discussed and criticized by jurors. It became about me, the big meaney, criticizing the poor victim rather than an evaluation of her choices. When I shut my mouth in front of another focus group, and said nothing about her conduct, the focus jurors, particularly female, spent an incredible amount of time criticizing her and questioning her behavior, including criticizing what she was wearing that evening. Putting the victim on trial as a defense in a rape case is a very high risk defense. It needs to be soft pedalled. Instead of Billy being a lying POS, you put on evidence implying that he is mistaken, his recollection is off, things have been overly suggested to him through his treatment for substance abuse, it might be a that his memories while vivid are simply not reflective of things that actually happened. Because if your defense is that the victim is a lying money grubbing POS, and the jury likes or is sympathetic, you've lost, particularly if you don't put your witnesses on the stand to testify.

    1. Hmm, this is very interesting. That may explain why both the alternate juror and the regular juror said they didn't like or were not impressed by the two defense counsels.

    2. KO,

      Good points. I will say that McGovern did use that tactic of implying Billy was mistaken throughout the trial. He took Billy back to where he first started drinking at a very early age, allegedly first told his buddy Leo about the abuse when they were 15 and drinking in his parents basement. He also went through his drug use and the impairment and side effects of the drugs, mostly the magic mushrooms, Billy used throughout his life. It was presented and was pretty successful, at least I thought. But I was wrong.

      My question is and I have many regarding the facts of the actual daily school timelines, how does a jury totally ignore witness testimony in this case for the defense. I will use one single example.

      If Billy says he was in 5th grade and in the bell choir maintenance crew when he was assaulted. But yet the female teacher who started that school activity 20+ years ago and still does to this day says that there was never a single 5th, 6th, or 7th grader ever in this activity. How does that get ignored? How is that not seen as a lie, which causes doubt in this case. If he fabricated that, how is he not seen as fabricating the other incidents since there were other witnesses that testified that doors weren't closed, sextons were always there, etc.

    3. The analogy I always use is that nobody likes rats. But if you saw a kid tie a string to a rat's tail and proceed to torture it for an hour or two, you would start rooting for the rat. The other example is Pretty Woman. Julia Robert's character was a street walking whore; not a High-class" escort, but a gal that hung on corners to jump in cars with strangers. Any time that character was treated by people as the "whore" she was; in the tony boutiques, at the hotel, or by Gere's lawyer (played by Costanza) who asked her for a "date" at the polo field, the audience sided with the "whore" over the respectable member of society. In reality, if a Kensington tweaker-car-bunny walked into the Four Seasons to have a drink at the bar, the patrons would have no problem with the establishment throwing her out or asking her politely to leave--but if he insulted her or denied her humanity while doing his job, it would raise some sympathy. Calling a whore, a whore, or a dirtbag a dirtbag, is not a way to win over jurors.

      We make that mistake sometimes as trial lawyers. We see the case as we see it; instead of how 12 neighborhood people are going to see it. The jurors know you have a job to do; but if you deny the witness's humanity while doing your job, they will view you as a sadist. Sometimes prosecutors can get away with it; or a Plaintiff's attorney representing a very injured person against a big unfeeling corporation; but if you are dealing with a person who has any connection with the jury, they will hate you. Good lawyers make this mistake sometimes. Great lawyers make this mistake once and never make it again. When I am asking difficult questions of a vulnerable witness, I want them to see that I am really troubled by having to ask a troubled person such an embarrassing question. If you ask the questions properly, the jurors will actually feel sympathy for you and respect the fact that you upheld their dignity. The defense lawyers should have treated Billy like they would want someone to treat their own troubled son; with patience, empathy; and kindness; while doggedly trying to get to the truth and fairly represent their clients. if they went after him with gleeful indignation, they did their clients a disservice.

      And that, in my opinion, is the problem with the whole defense of this case. (And by the way, I made the same comment about Blessington's cross of Lynn. Just because he got away with it in that instance, doesn't mean it was good advocacy.)

    4. "Good points. I will say that McGovern did use that tactic of implying Billy was mistaken throughout the trial. . . . It was presented and was pretty successful, at least I thought. But I was wrong."

      I am not blaming McGovern; I wasn't attending the trial; and hindsight is 20/20. But timing and tone are everything. If the prosecution already brought it out and there was reams of evidence that Billy was a hopeless lying drug addict before McGovern started; then even the soft touch will backfire. And it can't be phoney. I have had cases where evidence went in perfectly for a client; and the jury came back with an unfavorable verdict. I am telling you that I tried to be very soft pedalling on "victim judgment" issues in a focus group; and more than half the deliberation was expressing outright indignation over even the minor comments I made. When I didn't say a word and almost went out of my way to praise her for her fortitude in surviving the ordeal, they spent half the time talking about how women should not be alone in dark places late at night and what was she thinking.

      Personally, I never try to forget that I am a professional in a suit and tie; and that the ordinary-joe juror may relate a lot more to the witness or plaintiff than a well paid defense attorney. (If you are taking pleasure in somebody else's pain or seem arrogant, your dead) Frankly, its what makes Brennan's lawyer (Brennan) in the last case so effective. The jury sees him as a guy they could have a shot and a beer in a bar with; and they give him a lot more latitude. What is remarkable is that both the alternate, who did lean for the defense; and the actual juror; didn't like the defense lawyers in this case, and felt some degree of sympathy for Billy. That suggests to me that they thought that the defense team was disrespectful or arrogant in some way. Both jurors seemed to like the judge. Another way to piss jurors off is to be disrespectful of a judge that they respect. These lawyers were representing members of an institution that espouses forgiveness, compassion, respect, faith, and second chances. Treating Billy with anything but empathy and compassion is going to seem cold and uncaring.

    5. As always, KOPride, your insights are very interesting and thought provoking!

    6. "Cold and uncaring" Do you mean like how victims are treated here?

    7. Oh please. The guy were talking about here is a disgrace to the real victims of clerical sex abuse. Take off your blinders and maybe you will be able to see that.

  26. Wait a minute, not that creative? That does it. You think that because you learned how to decline a sentence in 5th grade that you can determine what is creative? Sorry, it's the other way around. Once you correct other people's English, you are automatically declaring yourself uncreative. You remind me of Sister Edward Lorraine in 8th grade. Not inspirational.

    1. I think the term is "diagram" a sentence, not "decline" a sentence. Just an observation!

    2. You're right! I can't remember where we declined sentences. Latin?

  27. Every time you comment, Sarah, you miss the point. I agree with the others that you are snap trained to say "whatever" as long as it is annoying and not factual. You are off base and you must have also missed Dennis' 40 posts of the same content-he was getting unhinged, I guess. They were removed along with his other garbage. Dennis actually told Ralph that he wold teach him how to write-you miss the point all the time and you do not read what is posted here in entirety so naturally, your comments make no sense.

  28. As usual, you do not read all of the material here. Consequently, coupled with you one track mind, you always miss the point.

    1. I don't know about the rest of you, but I am enjoying a Dennis Ecker-free day.

    2. It is refreshing, isn't it? Like the cool breezes blowing outside!

  29. Ifind it interesting not a mention of the testimony of the St Jeromes' staff in this article, the 4 separate entrances into the sacristy where the "alleged assault" occurred with the priest, the 2 sacristans that were in the church (and others like them) that handled the wine and vestmest worn by the priests, etc etc.. she believed BD even though he had 3 or4 different stories involving the priest, at least 2 involving the teacher. Guess she didnt wear her hearing aid those days. And 9 to 3 first ballot round certainly appears to be a predisposition that the church andtheir clergy are just evil. As to Avery, because ofhis testimony, he's probably going to be punished and will serve the addl 2 1/2 years. Logic tells me his recantment would lead the average person to give some credence to his recantment, but not in the case ofthis juror as well as the other 11 in that jury room. Those verdicts made no sense based on the evidence in this case.

  30. First, thanks Ralph for your dogged determination on this blog. I really look forward to reading it.

    Second, during all of these trials, has anyone ever raised the rather indelicate question about the boys' clothing? If a 10 year old (more or less) were buggered for 4 hours by an adult male, his clothing would be horribly stained. I know he was supposedly disrobed, but that type of sexual assault would make a mess of his clothing when he put it back on. I believe he would also have intestinal problems for some time. His mother was a nurse, and one would expect that she would have noticed these symptoms (assuming, of course, that he was assaulted for 4 hours, which I do not believe). I also assume she would wash his clothes, and again she should have noticed a lot of staining.
    But no one has testified about "Billy's" clothes!

  31. John, good point.

    Ralph, your new post is not open to comments.

    1. Archie-just click on heading to get to the field to comment

  32. I really appreciate for your work. Please update this regulaly.


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