Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Author of Archdiocese Grand Jury Reports Departs D.A.'s Office

By Ralph Cipriano
for Bigtrial.net

Mariana Sorensen, author of two high-profile grand jury reports on the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, has resigned from the district attorney's office. Her last day of work was Friday, June 21.

Sorensen, an assistant district attorney in the special investigations unit, declined to be interviewed. A polarizing figure, she was regarded by victims advocates as a champion crusader, and by church critics as a Catholic-hating zealot.

The 2005 grand jury report on the archdiocese was a ground-breaking document nationally that exposed sexual abuse of minors by the local clergy. This reporter hailed it as a "literary masterpiece." To the local archdiocese's lawyers, however, it was "a vile, mean-spirited diatribe" that sought to convict the Catholic Church in the court of public opinion, based upon "an unfair and inaccurate portrayal of facts."

Archdiocese lawyers may have argued over how the facts were portrayed, but they couldn't argue with the weight of the evidence. The 2005 grand jury report was based upon 45,000 documents subpoenaed from the archdiocese's own secret archive files. Those files, kept in a locked safe at archdiocese headquarters, catalogued the sins of priests over four decades.

Sorensen's subsequent work did not measure up. A 2011 grand jury report on the archdiocese was found by this reporter to be intellectually dishonest, and riddled with more than 20 factual errors.

A spokesperson for the district attorney's office, Tasha Jamerson, dismissed as "ridiculous" any speculation that the flawed 2011 grand jury report had anything to do with Sorensen's departure.

"Mariana Sorensen is an excellent ADA whose work is respected all over the country," Jamerson wrote in an email. "After working almost non-stop on the Kermit Gosnell and [Msgr. William] Lynn, [Edward] Avery, [Bernard] Shero and [Father James J.] Brennan Grand Jury investigations and trials for the past three years, Mariana is taking some much needed time off," Jamerson said.

"If Mariana decides to come back to the D.A.'s office she will always have a position waiting for her."

Jeffrey R. Anderson, a St. Paul, Minn., lawyer who had filed more than 1,000 sex abuse cases nationally against the Catholic clergy, told this reporter he was "riveted" when he read the 2005 grand jury report for the first time. Anderson called the grand jury report "a watershed" that exposed the depth of corruption in the clerical culture.

"This is the first time it has been comprehensively investigated and articulated," Anderson told National Catholic Reporter in 2005. "They did something here that nobody has really done before."

That 2005 grand jury report was hailed by victims' advocates around the country. In 2007, Marci Hamilton, a Yeshiva University law professor, convened a conference in New York City, "Call To Action," to promote legislative efforts in states around the country to lift statute of limitations regarding victims of sex abuse.

Hamilton introduced Sorensen at the conference by saying she was a member of "by far the best D.A.'s office in the country."

Hamilton did not respond to a request for comment; neither did officials for SNAP.

Dave Pierre writes The Media Report, which is dedicated to "separating fact from fiction" in the media's treatment of the Catholic sex abuse scandal. In his view, Mariana Sorensen is a bigot.

"Mariana Sorensen's decade-long, bigoted attack against the Catholic Church has now resulted in innocent men being sent to prison for crimes they didn't commit," Pierre wrote in an email. "Her grotesque characterizations of the actions by Church officials and priests have now led to the false public perception in Philadelphia that a pedophiliac demon lurks behind every man in a Roman collar."

Pierre also took a shot at the local media.

"I doubt that the media will make much, if anything, of Sorensen's exit," he said, "as the Philly media has been fully complicit in the shocking fraud and corruption that has taken place under Sorensen's watchful eyes for many years."

Pierre was right about one thing; Sorensen's departure from the D.A.'s office has gone unreported until today.


  1. As usual, Dave Pierre has it exactly right.
    I just can't resist repeating that quote.
    "....by far the best D.A.'s office in the country."
    Oh dear.

  2. Dear Miss Sorenson,

    You will be truly missed. You are truly a hero to many survivors.

    The Ecker Family

    1. The 2005 report i'll give you. it brought out abuse that was kept secret and protected.

      the 2011 report was screwed from the beginning. anyone could make a claim of abuse and it would have been included in the second report. and that is exactly what you got with the recent trials. innocent men sitting in jail for the sins that others committed.

      all based on lies and a family looking to get a nice payday from the archdiocese. yes, read that statement as fact cause that is what mr. and mrs. doe and billy asked the da on their first visit - how and when can we sue for money?

      Seth is merely wiping his hands clean at this point. later in the year during his campaign he'll avoid the question as the lead on the grand jury no longer works for his office and will be unavailable to comment.....who's next? judge hughes is gone and i would presume ceisler will find work in the private sector too.

    2. The first time that I read the 2011 report shortly after it was published, I remember thinking that it was just a bit much-how could it be true? How could Billy Doe's story i.e. be for real. Since then, I have read again and referred to it numerous times. I attended some days of the 1st trial-observed some interested people present including some very nervous parents of one of the accusers, had expert, unbiased coverage by RC of it and the 2nd trial right here on bigtrial.net.

      As the smell of a dishonest DA's office became apparent, I thought especially of Mariana Sorensen, her association with SNAP, and most troubling of all, her connection with Marci Hamilton. I sure hope that the truth comes out soon. Keep it going.

  3. Dear Miss Sorenson,

    You will be missed by nobody who values ethics and justice.
    You are just one of the many zero heroes whose bigotry has put innocent men behind bars. Because of their faith.
    Our thoughts are with the families of those who did not survive your lack of integrity, and with the individuals whose scandalous imprisonment will forever besmirch your name and maybe some day afflict your conscience.
    The nature of your departure should surprise nobody.

    The Truth Abuse Community.

  4. I have to wonder if her 'resignation' might be due to the tightening noose of an investigation by some 'higher authority' (just speculating, of course).

    Have the dominoes started to topple?

    Good riddance.

  5. Lest we forget, the lead prosecutor on the most recent trial is now working for the Dept of Justice, municipal corruption unit of all places. Am I the only one that is suspicious of the quick departure of Cippoletti 3 months ago and now Sorenson just days after the vicious sentencing by Judge Ceisler. Oh, lest we forget Xjudge Hughes, as she was possibly facing sanctions from the state for changing a transcript in one of the cases she handled years ago, she abruptly resigned and got the big job at the local blood bank.

    The whole case from start to finish was orchestrated, and innocent men sit in prison as a direct result.

    What I can't understand is how this DA's office can possibly get away with openly recommending a civil lawyer to the accuser in this case (which he testified to in the most recent case) while at the same time, making four (yes 4_) of his most recent arrests in Philadelphia go away including the infamous 56 bags of heroin case. Does anyone know how to spell "corruption".

  6. Only in Philadelphia, a one-party town where the newspaper of record functions as an arm of the prosecution, and the rest of the press is asleep.

    The Democrats own the town and the newspaper of record; the weeklies are on life-support, the TVs are dumb and dumber.

    The Inquirer turns down $58,000, rather than publicize a story it willfully continues to ignore.

    What a town! What a hotbed of corruption! With Steve Urkel as our mayor.

  7. Most likely Sorenson departed the DA's office much the same way people departed the sinking Titanic on lifeboats and many of the survivors stayed aboard only to go down with the ship because of a shortage of lifeboats. DItto to DA Seth who is behaving like the captain of the Titanic sitting solemnly in the steering area until the water burst throught he glass.

  8. Regardless of one's understanding or viewpoint re the DA's Grand Jury Reports, here's the question:

    Are the children and young adults in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia safer as a result of the work of Mariana Sorenson and others?

    1. No. They are safer because the Catholic Church has dealt effectively with a crisis which was the consequence of homosexual priests infiltrating the seminaries way back in the 1950s and 1960s. Benedict took the required decisive action years ago by banning active homosexual priests from seminaries.

      Question for you: are the children and young adults of America today safer from sexual abuse by step-fathers, mothers' boyfriends, uncles, family friends, scout leaders, sports coaches, public school teachers, protestant pastors and Jewish leaders?


  9. To All:

    Let me tell you a little bit about Miss Sorensen or what she would like me to call her Mariana.

    The second time I attempted to report my abuse Miss Sorensen was more of a comfort to me then anyone within the catholic church. I was assigned a coordinator within the church who was no help
    at all. But I knew if I had any questions or only needed someone to speak to I could count on
    Miss Sorensen to take or return my call or answer any e-mail that I sent.
    Miss Sorensen along with other men and women of the District Attorney's office uncovered
    the horrors of what was happening within the catholic church . Miss Sorensen gave people
    like me a voice and the strength to fight back and make people listen, and for that I am
    eternally grateful.

    I knew of Miss Sorensen plans to depart her position even before Mr. Cipriano posted this
    blog. I knew of her plans to now spend time with her own family after protecting the interests
    of so many children in the city of Philadelphia. She has done her job not good but very well
    and she did it professionally.

    You may have read past comments of mine on Bigtrial.net when I thank a hero or refer to
    my hero, I now think it would be o.k. to inform you it was Miss Sorensen.

    It will be interesting to read what people may think of Miss Sorensen, but I can honestly say
    it will not anger me because I know what the truth is. I cannot say what her future plans are
    and can only wish her the best in any road she goes down.

    However, I do know this is a great loss to the city and children of Philadelphia, and I am so proud
    along with many others to know her.

    ....and if you are wondering why I still call her Miss Sorensen is because I cannot give
    any better gift then my highest respect to her.

    Dennis Ecker

    1. Why 3.5 decades to report as you so claim? Could you too have been motivated by the possibility of a big payday?

    2. Dennis:

      she knowingly fabricated those assault charges that have resulted in the malicious prosecutions and convictions of innocent people. Better to take the word of a drug addict, drug dealer and thief than the individuals that were wrongly convicted as a result of her factually inaccurate grand jury report.

      There was nothing truthful in that report as it related to the alleged assault(s) of Billy Doe, another one of your heroes I'm sure.

    3. Fabricated is an understatement. Dennis, go on on your rant about whatever. You had the chance to report your abuse and yiu chose not to. I have an innocent family member incarcerated because of the lies
      Of this dope. Live a minute in my shoes. Billy Doe and his family check this site regularly, why else would our beloved billy delete his Facebook immediately after our great and wonderful reporter Raph posted a few pictures of him. I don't care what certain people have been through, I have a family member that is completely innocent and living the life "billy" should be living because of all of his arrests. I can guarantee you if Billy came clean of all of his lies, it may be hard, but these men would accept his lies and possibly forgive him. But
      Unfortunately Billy dope would
      Never do that and he will have to worry his whole
      Life that paybacks are a b*tvh and he would never be the man his "parents" ( you know the cop
      And nurse) raised him to be. I hope
      Billy is loving the large like now on his payout he already received from the archdiocese, but it will all be over soon. Your poor fiancé, haha I feel very bad for her.

    4. I feel bad or his fiancée but worse for her son. Beware Billy may turn him to drugs or worse abuse him!

  10. Funny, one of his key lieutenants in this malicious vendetta against the archdiocese of philadelphia and the spokesperson sends an email announcing her departure, guess Seth is making certain he keeps his distance from these newly departed DA's like Sorenson in case there is a legitimate investigation of this entire prosecution.

    1. @Anonymous 7:59

      For all any of us know (except perhaps for Sorensen), this investigation may already be underway.

  11. Here's a thought, now she won't have to meet Billy's civil attorney on a park bench to get her cut of the referral fee Billy testified to in that courtoom back in January, that is if the archdiocese decides to pony up, which I hope and pray they never do until this fraud is fully investigated.

    Joe1944, I hope you are correct

  12. ..all the little, lying bigoted rats are abandoning ship.....

  13. You know Delphin making up stories is a sin in your faith. Calling human beings "lying bigoted rats" is making up a story. Therefor.....

  14. Four general questions.

    In my opinion, any investigation should start with the initiators of the Grand Jury action. The grand jurors apparently accepted at face value Billy’s largely uncorroborated testimony and then chose to indict well before Billy’s widely varying accounts were thoroughly investigated. A criminal and admitted drug abuser claiming sexual abuse at the hands of three perps – all from the same school mind you – should have raised a bunch of red flags right from the get-go.

    The first question then is why the investigation was assumed to be complete when clearly it was not? Who at the DA’s office signed off on this? There must be document to this effect somewhere. Does the DA’s office have a locked safe like the Archdiocese did?

    Had the grand jurors been presented with the details of the investigative work done at Saint Jerome’s just before the trial, they – in all probability – would never have indicted anyone, not even the ‘ham sandwich’ to which Kopride once alluded.

    The second question is about the final investigations (e.g. Detective Walsh, etc) at Saint Jerome’s. Who initiated them and why? Could this have been the ‘high ranking official’ in the DA’s office that Mike McGoven mentioned in one of Ralph’s previous posts? Perhaps one or more of these professionals will come forward with the unvarnished truth.

    The third question concerns the flawed 2011 Grand Jury Report, still showcased on the DA’s website (http://www.phila.gov/districtattorney/grandjury_clergyabuse2.html), readily available on internet search engines, and indelibly stored on innumerable computers throughout the world. When it will be removed – or if not totally removed – at the very least redacted to comport with the facts??

    The fourth and last question concerns the DA’s discretionary prosecutorial powers. Specifically, were they unethically ‘stretched’ by affording ‘Billy’ the ‘red carpet’ treatment and other perks in exchange for his testimony which resulted in a (previously elusive) historic conviction, i.e. - the incarceration of three priests and a visually handicapped teacher?

    Ralph mildly ‘grades’ this report as ‘intellectually dishonest’. I believe that the motives that prompted it are reprehensible.

    1. You neglected to mention the 11 month, 21 day "UNEXPLAINED GAP" between the time this Accusation was reported, in writing, by the legal counsel at the archdiocese of philadelphia to the DA's office. The accusations ranged from the 5 hour/in the sacristy assault that had not 1, not 2, not 3 but 4 exit doors leading into the church and school, the alleged assault being on a weekday after the 6:15 mass, the 8AM mass soon to follow. Sextons in the church during that time, devout churchgoers in the church during that period of time, religious associated with the school and church most likely in attendance either during or after that particular mass, and the sacristy at that time had the only bathroom available to the people in St. Jerome's church. An innocent priest, Father Engelhardt now sits in prison because of that letter of notification based on BILLY DOE's statement, can anyone explain the 1 year gap in the commencement of the DA's investigation of this alleged assault like I'm a 10 year old. THE ASSAULT NEVER HAPPENED. This newly departed DA wrote the report, they indicted those men and then the DA's office selectively investigated the alleged crimes to justify those bogus criminal charges.

    2. @anonymous 11:30.

      Thanks - you're right! I was trying to find a reference to this last nite before my eyeballs crapped out. So, I didn't mention it.

      Did not the Archdiocese dutifully report this alleged incident during Lynn Abraham's tenure? If so, wouldn't one think that Abraham would have jumped right on it if she and her staff believed it to be legitimate?

  15. Who do you think will be presiding over Billy's upcoming wedding? Sorensen, Hughes, ceisler; possibly all three or is he still a devout catholic and will return to his alma mater, st. Jerome's, for the ceremony?

  16. I'm sure they will all get invited to his fiancee's wedding shower, and since the 56 bags of heroin Billy Doe was arrested with by the Philadelphia police were miraculously suppressed as evidence by the newly elected common pleas court judge that he had gone to originally for legal advice for his bogus claims of assault at St. Jerome's and his lawsuit against the archdiocese, they can probably still use the 56 bags of heroin as wedding shower favors. Four arrests inside of five years, all miraculously discharged and/or plea bargained out by this lying criminal. That's justice in Philadelphia for you if your family is connected.

  17. http://www.themediareport.com/2013/06/27/philadelphia-clergy-abuse-round-up-cipriano/

  18. Fear not, the Dirt-Bag Doe-Boy has only been emboldened by his recent success, which will undoubtedly lead to even more bad behavior, and no one will cover for him then since he has nothing to give them in return, such as more innocent priest-blood. He has been used and discarded by his equally evil cohorts, as will be his destiny on earth.

    And, truly, fear not, God has plans for the innocently imprisoned. I'd rather be a jailed innocent man than a free guilty man when the judgment does come (in this life and the next).


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