Friday, June 28, 2013

D.A. Finally Has To Explain Flip-Flop On Child Endangerment Law

Hugh J. Burns Jr.
By Ralph Cipriano

It's one of the enduring mysteries of the current district attorney's self-described "historic" prosecution of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

How could the former district attorney, Lynne Abraham, and one grand jury back in 2005 look at the state law for endangering the welfare of a child [EWOC], and decide it didn't apply to Msgr. William J. Lynn, Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua, or any other high-ranking official at the archdiocese?

And how could the current district attorney, Seth Williams, and another grand jury in 2011 look at that same exact EWOC law and decide it did apply, not only to Msgr. Lynn, but also to Father James J. Brennan, Father Edward V. Avery, Father Charles Engelhardt, and Bernard Shero?

In the appeals battle over the conviction of Msgr. Lynn, District Attorney Seth Williams finally had to answer the question that he had previously been dodging. The D.A.'s official explanation for the flip-flop was spelled out in a 63-page brief filed June 25th in Superior Court.

In the brief, written by Hugh J. Burns Jr., chief of the D.A.'s Appeals Unit, the author conceded that one Philadelphia district attorney got it right and one Philadelphia district attorney got it wrong.

The question is, did Burns prove that his current boss, Seth Williams, got it right?

Or did Burns, in the opinion of Msgr. Lynn's defense lawyer, Thomas A. Bergstrom, write a fatal flaw into his argument that finally exposed Seth Williams's tortured logic?

The decision may ultimately not only affect Msgr. Lynn, but also Engelhardt and Shero. All three men are now sitting in jail after being convicted of one count of EWOC each. The decision may also impact Father Brennan,  acquitted last year when a jury hung on two charges against him, one of which was EWOC. The priest is scheduled to be retried Oct. 21.

In his brief, Burns noted that Msgr. Lynn "complains that a 2005 grand jury report written by counsel for the prosecution concluded that high-level Archdiocesan officials could not be successfully prosecuted, and at the time the Commonwealth did not charge him; but a later Grand Jury that heard additional evidence recommended charging ..."

Burns wrote that Lynn "concludes ... these events establish that, in the opinion of the prosecutors (or at least those who wrote the 2005 report)" that the state EWOC law "does not apply to him."

"This complaint is illegally incoherent," Burns wrote. "An exercise of prosecutorial discretion in declining to charge at one point in time has nothing to do with a purely legal issue of statutory construction, which is for this Court to determine and is not controlled by the opinions of counsel."

In other words, the Superior Court can decide which D.A. got it right, and which D.A. got it wrong. In his brief, Burns conceded that one of the two D.A.s screwed up.

"Further, that one of the Commonwealth's two charging decisions was arguably wrong (albeit the latter was based on additional evidence) does not mean that the one [decision] defendant dislikes is wrong," Burns wrote.

It should be noted that the "additional evidence" that the 2011 grand jury heard, as mentioned by Burns, was the extremely suspect testimony of two drug-addicted criminals, Billy Doe and Mark Bukowski.

The state's EWOC law, which went into effect in 1972, says: "A parent, guardian or other person supervising the welfare of a child under 18 years of age commits a misdemeanor of the second degree if he knowingly endangers the welfare of a child by violating a duty of care, protection or support."

In previous legal filings, Msgr. Lynn's lawyers have argued that state appeals courts have interpreted those "supervising the welfare of a child" to be people in direct contact with children, such as parents, guardians and teachers. Since 1972, defense lawyers argued, the state EWOC law has been applied in nearly 300 cases. Until Lynn came along, that 1972 EWOC law had never been applied to a supervisor.

Unfortunately, for Msgr. Lynn, it wasn't his only legal milestone.

On June 22, 2012, Lynn became the first Catholic administrator in the country to be sent to jail in connection with the church's sex abuse scandals when he was convicted by a Philadelphia jury on one count of EWOC. Specifically, Lynn was charged with placing Father Avery, a known offender, back in ministry where he raped a 10-year-old altar boy identified in the 2011 grand jury report as Billy Doe.

Lynn is now serving a 3 to 6 year jail sentence.

The D.A., in his brief, would like to forget that after no archdiocese official was charged with EWOC in 2005, the district attorney's office began campaigning state-wide for the EWOC law to be amended to include supervisors.

The D.A.'s office in its campaign admitted that even if the amended law was passed, nothing could be done retroactively under the amended law to charge any archdiocese official with a crime.

When the amended law was introduced in the state legislature, proponents claimed new language was needed to include supervisors, because the old law didn't apply to supervisors. This legislative history, the D.A. argued in its most recent filing, is "useless" and "legally inadmissible."

The amended EWOC law, which took effect in 2007, says, "A parent, guardian or other person supervising the welfare of a child under 18 years of age, or a person that employs or supervises such a person, commits an offense if he knowingly endangers the welfare of the child by violating a duty of care, protection or support."

In the D.A.'s brief, Burns conceded that Lynn could not have been charged under the amended 2007 EWOC law, because his crime occurred before the law was amended.

"Proceeding under the 2007 amendment would also have been impermissible as an ex post facto violation of the constitution," Burns stated on page 24 of the D.A.'s brief.

But two pages later, on page 26, Burns stated, "As Defendant well knows, he endangered the welfare of [Billy Doe] by breaching his duty to prevent priests under his supervision, such as Avery, from sexually molesting children. The evidence is sufficient because defendant was Avery's supervisor, with a specific duty to prevent Avery from doing exactly what defendant instead facilitated."

Thomas A. Bergstrom
That argument put a smile on the face of defense attorney Bergstrom.

"They've fallen into their own trap," Bergstrom said. "The old law requires that Lynn be the supervisor of the welfare of a child. That there be direct contact between Lynn and the child. The new statute doesn't make that connection. They [the D.A.] just ignore the fact that Lynn is not supervising a child."

Instead, the D.A. argued in their brief that Lynn's duty was to supervise Avery.

"That's the new statute," Bergstrom said. "That's absolutely fatal to them. Now if I can only get a judge to listen to me ..."

Elsewhere in the D.A.'s brief, however, Burns argued that the meaning of the amended 2007 law in effect was there all along in the wording of the original 1972 statute. It's a clever argument about semantics. In order to succeed, it requires that the history of the law and how it was applied by prosecutors and the appeals courts, as well as the legislative history of the 2007 amendment, disappear.

"While the defendant argues that the evidence failed to show that he was a 'supervisor of children' ... the plain language of the [original] statute applies to a 'person supervising the welfare of a child, not 'supervising a child,'" Burns wrote. "It is therefore not limited to supervision of a child but includes supervision of the welfare of children ..."

"Under the unambiguous language of the statute, defendant was a person 'supervising the welfare' of children, with a clearly defined duty to protect them from priests under his supervision who were known to have already sexually abused children and who presented a threat of similar conduct in the future," Burns wrote. "By doing just the opposite and exposing children to danger, defendant violated his duty of care, and thus the statute."

"In arguing to the contrary, defendant seizes upon anything and everything except the only thing that matters," Burns wrote, namely, "the plain language of the statute under which he was convicted."

Not exactly, Mr. D.A. Here's where the D.A.'s argument finally crashes and burns. It's the inevitable result of what happens when public officials take the meaning of a law and twist it into a pretzel, to suit their own political purposes.

If the D.A. is right, then he gets to wave a magic wand, and claim there never was a problem with interpreting the meaning of the original law.

If the wording of that original EWOC law was as plain and unambiguous as the D.A. claims, then why did they have to amend that law to include supervisors?

Why did two successive district attorneys -- and two grand juries -- take totally opposite positions based upon totally opposite interpretations of that same original law?

In the world of Seth Williams, where the only governing principle is political expediency, anything is possible. But at the end of the day, maybe an appeals court will finally expose this district attorney for what he's been able to get away with since 2011, namely a cheap magic trick worthy of a charlatan.


  1. Lynn knew of abusive priests. Made up his own list of those priests and is innocent now because he did not have direct contact with those abused ?

    You are only saying if your neighbor leaves a loaded gun around his house and your kid goes to that house to play with his friend and they find that gun and shoots and kills himself your neighbor has no fault because he did not have direct contact with your child.

    Lynn is more dangerous then the other three. Avery, Engelhardt and Shero can claim they have a sickness and try and get some help while in prison to curb their pedophile appetite. What do you do with Lynn ? Replace his mind, his heart and soul and try to teach him to be his own man or human being ?

    I will admit everybody should follow the same rules if we like them or not, but I hope those who comment do not get their hopes up to high.

    1. Please stop this ranting.

      Do you have selective memory or are you just that dumb. Read Ralph's previous blogs or remember what you heard back on June 12th in court - fr. Engelhardt and mr. Shero (that's the respect they deserve) it was concluded do not have pedophile appetites. This was the da's and state of pa's experts.

      Billy never did anything wrong, all that he did was because of what happened to him. Hear this - none of it happened. He knows it, his father the cop, mother whose a nurse and should have been able to tell if signs at the time back in 1998, an let's not forget their favorite son, James doe jr. Jr. has a signed document with the da investigators saying this never happened. Wonder if his statement on the 12th was so that he would not be left out of the dirty family money. Kind of reminds you of a drug dealer and his family - greed and money. Oh wait, billy has admitted on one occasion that he was and would be willing to bet still is a drug dealer.

      Philly's finest protecting their own.....

    2. No need to insult. Just shows your IQ.

    3. Dennis, maybe you need to have somebody read you this story so you can understand it.

  2. Great work again, Ralph.

    But now the question is, Is the Supreme Court brave enough to overturn such a high-profile (but obviously unjust) verdict?


  3. I thought the following headlines for today 6/28/13 are interesting also:

    Chaput: "Church finances are improving."

    then on the same front page it reads

    Archdiocese seeking to liquidate 8 properties.

    Then Chaput makes the statement

    Chaput warns: 'Serious' financial news looming"

    So please Chaput tell us the truth. Are you once beginning to grow, or do you continue to "crash
    and burn."

    I must admit there was a reporter who seen this happening many years ago and it went ignored.

    I will give credit when credit is do. I now wonder if this could have been avoided if the Inky and the
    diocese were not in the same bed.

    1. Mr. Irrelevant continues with his commentary. It's the Dennis Ecker show. Hi, look at me, I'm a victim.

    2. The sad part is the Archdiocese is better shape then the city.
      "Philadelphia's public education system is in serious financial trouble. Again. With a $304 million deficit"
      May 2013"Philadelphia, 5th Largest City in US is Effectively Bankrupt; Mayor Holds Closed Meeting With Wall Street to Discuss Asset Sales"
      SO Bishop Chaput is doing much better then Nutter and the sad corrupt city of Philadelphia

    3. When Steve Urkel is the mayor, and the city is controlled by one corrupt political party. And that political party also controls the city's paper of record, generally you are screwed.

    4. Anonymous, get it right I am no longer a victim but a survivor.

      What are you though ? Family Member ? Friend ?

      I know, Coward ! I believe that is how you described yourself and others in another post about those who do not use real names.

      Your a waste of my time. If you put as much effort into seeing that Engelhardt and Shero get released as you do here calling people names and acting uncivilized you might accomplish something.

      So, let me tell everyone in case you are not aware. This blog will do nothing in getting anyone released or keeping anyone in prison. This is nothing more than an informational blog that keeps people up to date and allows to sides to debate their feelings and what they may have read. It provides NO service but to inform and vent.

  4. It seems like bigtrial has already decided which DA had it right. So why waste all the tax payers money.

    1. That's why we'e here, to call 'em as we see 'em.

    2. Good to know that you're calling them as you see them. One question: has Shero ever said he was falsely accused other than the night he was arrested?

  5. Why does the drug addict and his family continue to hide behind billy doe? Is it because they are embarrassed and ashamed what they did?

    Or do they not want their name publicized and outed as the Lynn, Engrlhardt and Shero names have been for the past four years.

    Cowards, let's start using real names when referencing the doe family.

    1. WHAT ?

      "Cowards,Lets start using real names when referencing the Doe Family"

      Why don't we start demanding Ralph to only allow people to leave comments if they use
      their real names, and names that can be verified.

      COWARDS, Anonymous stop throwing those stones, you too live in a glass house.

      Cowards, HahaHaha.

    2. Sorenson named the family. Look at page 6 of the Grand Jury report.

  6. I can't understand how anyone can think Lynn is innocent if he knew who the abusive priests were and did nothing. That to me is a real coward. I have to agree with Dennis' first statement in his first comment. Direct contact certaintly should not be necessary if it leads to sexual abuse. Lynn is a dangerous man, for sure.

    1. The story is a lie concocted by the drug addict & thief Danny.Gallagher innocent men are in jail oh by the way the brother didn't write any letter of support he referred to his kid brother ss DANIEL AS IF HR EERE A CKMPLETE STRANGER THE CASE WAS A FRAUD START TO FINIDH

    2. Seems like this DA might need to provide answers to several questions the interpretation of the law being just one aspect the infamous civil lawyer referral by the DA office to BILLY DOE AS TESTIFIED KN COURT ADD the 1 year unexplained delay kn investigating the assault allegations etc etc etc the list just seems go grow day by day.

    3. If Lynn is a dangerous man, why don't we take a junkie criminal who's posing as a victim of sex abuse and try Lynn for a crime that never happened, and put him in jail based on a concocted story.

      That's one way to take care of a dangerous man, isn't it?

    4. I don't know how to address you. Should I call you anonymous or the way you describe yourself on 6/29.

      The dangerous man is in prison.

  7. From part of Bishop Chaput's statement re pending financial report:

    “….The resources of the Church don’t belong to the bishops or the clergy or some remote institution. They belong to her people…..”

    Then why does it seem/appear that the laity has little, if any, input re the decision-making and conduct that controls these resources? If the resources of the Church belong to “her people”, then allow “her people” access to the decision-making process and allow legitimate, reasonable, valuable and important input and ideas to flow to “the Church” (i.e, hierarchy).

  8. The problem here is that pedophiles are totally creepy and one of these men did not declare his innocence, not in his suicide note and not on the witness stand. That was Shero. Did he ever tell anyone he was falsely accused? In a deposition or anything? Did we ever hear why children drummed him out of their neighborhood by throwing rocks at his house?

    1. You are incorrect. Read the studies. Pedophiles appear as normal as Ward Cleaver. Your mindset as to what the profile of a pedophile should be is very naive and dangerous.

  9. You seem to forget that Shero pleaded not guilty when he was arrested, and also at trial. And that he was actually presumed innocent at trial.

    You also don't seem to understand that the accusations were totally unbelievable from a common sense point of view, and were made by a victim who was not credible.

    You're looking for proof of innocence from the defense when the burden of proof was on the prosecution to prove guilt. Other than Billy's silly stories, which changed every five minutes, there wasn't one shred of proof that any of Billy's imagined crimes actually happened.

    It's the world of the Salem witch trials. I say you're a witch, Sarah TX2, because I saw you cast a spell on a prince, and turn him into a toad. Now prove you're not.

    1. Does it matter that all of the evidence that I am aware of that was gathered by the district attorney's own detectives in their investigation contradicted the victim's stories? Does that matter?

    2. It is true! Sarah TX2 is a witch! I saw her cast a spell on a priest and turn him into a seagull. What say you, Sarah Kleman? Where is your proof that you did not commit this unspeakable act? You have guilt written all over you.

  10. Ralph.....

    Does it matter that all of this attention, focus, review and scrutiny can be applied to hundreds of cases presented in criminal proceedings in Philadelphia courtrooms throughout the year?

    1. Ralph,

      Aside from the intriguing investigative reporting, I truly see a novel could be born out of this and wish I had your ability. I have written news/history pieces for a local paper but I have always lacked the discipline it takes to write a book. With your obvious knowledge of the case and grasp of the characters in this saga, you could handle it in many ways. Maybe an Andrew Greeley style story surrounding a historical, cultural period in society.

      Speaking of history, the anti-catholicism of the period in the mid nineteenth century has always been of interest-the burning of churches, i.e. Old City's St. Augustines in Philly, why our Cathedral has high windows, etc. Lincoln's quote about the rather small, bigoted "know nothing" party-that if they took office the Dec. of Ind. would have to be rewritten to exclude as equal-"negroes, foreigners and Catholics". History repeats.....

      The Philly DA's office, political aspirations, corruptness, old prejudices, etc. could all be brought out Andrew Greeley style. No room here to go on about my idea except to say that I was prompted by the name Mariana Coleman Sorensen which led me to background, the Colemans, Dawsons, Biddles, Cadwaladers and many more familiar names to Philadelphians (no immigrants there and no Catholics, if you get my historical drift). The Kellys, McShains and other immigrants of note came later, of course. The possibilities are endless...I will get your email.

  11. Prosecuting Lynn on a supposedly changed law that did not apply to him when the alleged incidents took place is akin to taking away the final strike of the 1980 World Series to award the trophy to Kansas City Royals. You cannot do such things when you choose to misinterpret the intent of the law to suit your own purposes.

    Worse of all two female Common Pleas jurists were complicit in the prosecution of three priests and a teacher by denying relief to the defense when objections were filed on relevant issues. Thus, the DA had two jurist allies on his side. Sarmina and Ceisler wanted to make a political point about the abuse of children by running the court to ensure that the jury convicted the defendants.

    That is why appeals were filed and we hope that a more responsible judge will take a fresh look at the appeals and rule accordingly.

  12. The purpose here was to prosecute and place in jail a high ranking catholic archdiocese administrator to gain national attention, and they've succeeded. Didn't matter if the case was a fraud, didn't matter that Billy Doe's wildly inconsistent stories of abuse didn't add up, didn't matter that there was significant testimony by several individuals that absolutely refutes Billy's wild tales of the alleged hours long assaults in the sacristy and the storage room, it didn't matter. The "less than impartial judges Sarmina and Ceisler made certain these individuals were going to be railroaded into jail for their alleged crimes despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
    Even if these convictions are overturned, these innocent men will have served significant time in jail by the time those decisions might be handed down by the higher court.

    And for all those above who weren't in the courtroom during the trials who do nothing but pontificate about those evil clergy, you have no clue about the truth. James, you are right on but you can add ex Judge Hughes to the list of judges who collaborated with the DA's office on this case, she cowrote the grand jury report with Sorenson. Then when facing possible charges from the state for altering a trial transcript, she resigned. Those defendants didn't have a chance, the deck was stacked.

    1. To quote Judge Hughes to the defense lawyers, Somebody's going to jail!

    2. Stacked deck yes. Only two more trials left - Brennan and McCormick. Then that is it as there are no other trials on the horizon due to the expiration of the SOL, deaths of accused priests and deaths of many of surviving victims plus there are others who won't come forward lest they bring shame on themselves and their families.

      Yes, this is not the way to run a courtroom by having kangaroo courts as this is what is usually done in Russia and China, not in the USA! To run the courtroom like Sarmina, Ceisler and Hughes is an embarrassment to all serious legal scholars in Philadelphia including those who practice law, those who serve on the bench or served years ago until retirement and those who believe and cherish our democratic beliefs.

      When Superior Court de3livers its deafening response to the legal circus permeating the Catholic Child Sex abuse trials, then you will see Sarmina and Ceisler quietly leaving hte bench.

      If a first year law student would never think of doing what Hughes, Sarmina and Ceisler did, then why are Sarmina and Ceisler still on the bench when they have heard whispers about their competence to run a courtroom? Don't they have any shame at all?

  13. Ok, putting anything Billy Doe said aside, would you say that Lynn NEVER had a part in covering up any sexual abuse? Who could possibly condone such behavior?? It is a shame if he went to jail over an misinterpretation of a law, but how come he did what he did and why did the Archdiocese not take any action prior to his trial? If he gets out on Appeal,justice was served anyway, as it seems like it wasn't going to happen any other way.

    1. Great. Let's give prosecutors and the courts free reign to punish people who, according to the passions of the day, we think deserve to be punished. Who cares what the laws say, let's make it up as we go along. And if we have to use bogus witnesses with phony stories, and phony plea bargains, what does it matter?

      Justice wasn't going to happen any other way.

      Doesn't sound like America to me.

    2. Ralph, are you going to follow and report on the various civil cases as they unfold in the Philadelphia court rooms? I am referring to those civil lawsuits filed on behalf of alleged victims of clergy abuse within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia? The documents, statements, evidence, reports, etc. made available through depositions would provide legitimate source material for those participating in this blog to study, analyze and draw their own inferences and conclusions.

  14. Mr. or Miss Irrelevant continues with his/her commentary. It's the Anonymous show. Hi, look at me, I'm a family member of an innocent abuser.

    If you truly believed that you would be spending every waking moment fighting.

    Not spending time here on this blog bad mouthing people.

    I know you have done nothing wrong, every survivor out there knows you have done nothing wrong, but YOU and nobody else but YOU are making it hard for anyone to care about or have an open mind to listen to what you have to say.

    1. Dennis - That's great that you want your name out there. Look at me, i say i'm a victim, survivor, whatever it is and there are still no facts or documents to back up your story. You refused to provide information on multiple occasions so leave your sob story alone. no one wants to hear it anymore.

      You have a personal vendetta against the RCC and it is known now. You have stated it over and over again these last 6 months. The question you could never answer because you were not in that courtroom during the trial are do you believe Daniel? probably because he is attacking the RCC and that is what you want to see happen the rest of your sad life.

      All you have is the information that was provided to you in the grand jury reports and inquirer. You do not know the facts and nor should you pretend to. Your credibility was lost a long time ago as you are still trying to play your childish games.

      I'd be willing to bet that the family members are fighting each day for justice. But remember one thing, the judicial system moves slow and the DA i am sure will try to stonewall or delay everything until the last possible minute. and then there are the judges who seem to be leaving the bench to after all of this. what will happen to them - nothing. they'll enjoy their new jobs or retirement and not be punished one bit for their actions during the trials. Again, you were not in the courtroom so you have no insight to what happened.

  15. What an eloquent statement from the co-writer of that grand jury report, isn't she the judge that denied those defense attorney's their right to a preliminary hearing which 99 and 9/10% of the accused in this world are legally entitled to as a first step in the judicial process.. But not in this case since the fix was in.....

    I'm still waiting for someone to explain how a 5 hour long "alleged rape" of a 10 year old altar boy is reported, in writing by the legal counsel at the archdiocese to the DA's office in the city of Philadelphia and there's no investigation of that assault allegation until late JANUARY of the following year. May the truth be revealed thru an independent investigation of this entire case by either the state or the federal government....

    There might be many individuals in this world who were the victims of childhood sexual abuse, but Billy Doe wasn't one of them. That is becoming abundantly clearer by the day.....

  16. And we have the same problems outgoing in Penn State in which two innocent administrators are being ready to be tarred and feathered based on irrelevant evidence unearthed by the Freeh Commission and used by the NCAA to sack 112 wins from the record of Joe Paterno who cannot defend himself from his final resting place.

    Numerous judges have refused to dismiss the charges against the two administrators. Sounds like the fix is in place as they want a jury to decide their guilt or innocence.

  17. Once again there is headline news out of Milwaukee of how the archdiocese has protected pedophile priests for decades and how the archdiocese attempted to hide millions of dollars.

    To this survivor it was no shock. Because I truly believe if it was not Milwaukee it would have been some other diocese in this country. I also believe the reason why this is capable of happening is the catholic church has a great accomplice with their very own parishioners.

    Parishioners who could care less about what is happening in their own church unless they go through the experience of a loved one being abused by a clergy member.

    Parishioners who can be looked at as standing right along side the abuser while he destroys a life.

    1. So only catholics who know an abuse victim care about the sexual abuse of children?

      What makes you an expert on what catholics believe? You speak for the RCC and its followers now?

      I would argue that all human beings regardless of faith have a belief that no child should ever be abused. The protection of children is everyone's responsibility. What you fail to see here is that the lies and tales told by your hero Billy are exactly that lies and all involved were in it for political, career and monetary rewards.

    2. Hey Bam, watcha gonna do with all that money the church is gonna give ya? You the best fiction writer of all time!

  18. There Dennis goes again.....trying to take the focus off of the Englehardt/Sherro case by bringing up the Milwaukee diocese which has NOTHING to do with this blog or its purpose. I think we should all start referring to Dennis as Captain Deflection because that is what he does best.

    I will now prepare myself for another one of Dennis' incoherent rants.

  19. The title of the story, "DA has to finally explain his flip-flop on Child Endangerment Law", well, when I saw the headline I read the article with great interest. But, it was false advertising....Seth Williams hasn't had to explain it, so....hmmm.

  20. With inside the catholic church:

    Priest = Abuser

    Accomplice = Parishioner

    Call 'em as I see 'em.

    1. WHATEVER DENNIS!!!!= When they read Dennis Ecker's remarks! (O:

    2. That is not calling it as you see it. That is overgeneralized typecasting and blatant false witness.

  21. Ralph, are you going to follow and report on the various civil cases as they unfold in the Philadelphia court rooms? I am referring to those civil lawsuits filed on behalf of alleged victims of clergy abuse within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia? The documents, statements, evidence, reports, etc. made available through depositions would provide legitimate source material for those participating in this blog to study, analyze and draw their own inferences and conclusions.

    1. I do plan to follow those civil cases. You are right about what you're saying.

    2. Or those who are suing are thinking if Billy Doe can put three priests and a teacher in jail on fabricated stories, then maybe I can do the same.

      Not so easy as the lawyers will go through your account with a brutal comb with hardly a care for your welfare and comfort. It is cold but that is what defense lawyers for the Archdiocese or any other client being sued will do. Then they will dangle some candy in front of your eyes to settle the case. Not millions but 25 to 30K and they will tell you that you can take the money or end up with nothing.

      Children are better protected than decades past and clear strict boundary requirements are in place between teacher and children, priest and children.

  22. Happy 4th of July everyone.

    Freedom is something that no individual should take for Granted.

    1. You are absolutely right Dennis, guilty or innocent, your freedom, in this dirt city, could be taken away from any one! Happy 4th to you!

  23. ....freedom to be an active parishioner in a parish where the priest is NOT an abuser, nor are the parishioners accomplices.....and the freedom to recognize any who falsely claim such as zealots more interested in spite and scandal than in healing and resolution.

  24. Happy 4th to you, too, Dennis, and to everyone who is interested in Ralph's Blog.

    To Dennis, I agree with you about the "Anonymous" posts, there may be some good points that I am missing, but I've stopped reading them. There are simply too many people who post comments as "Anonymous", so I just skip over them entirely.

  25. In interest of the subject of abuse and to this case there are many individuals on both sides who call themselves anonymous. They may have their reason for doing so but I believe it shows more credibility of the person who maybe asking questions.

    There is one anonymous here for example who has been asking questions of me regarding my abuse over and over again about my abuse at the hands of fr.hermley but why should I give that information again after I have posted it time and time again, the age of my abuse, locations of my abuse, the neighborhood I grew up in, down to the street name where I was raised.

    But this is the same individual who will call someone a "coward" when someone else does not tell him who they are.

    Is this individual some type of sick groupie ?

    You on the other hand I know you have explained yourself as a female and how you started using your title.

    I HAVE nothing to hide. What you see is what you get. If you wish to put a face to my name I can be found in 1980 father judge yearbook, I'm on facebook.

    ....and to those who wish to use a title, fine. But don't think in my eyes what you say can be respected.

    Archie, I hope you are with your family like I am with mine, enjoying a great holiday weekend.

  26. Yes, I am Anonymous, and I guess I'll be ignored. However, I am just here to say that I read ages ago who abused Dennis, where and when. He stated it himself on here He was very free with his details, as he is NOT ashamed, as he shouldn't be, so I was surprised when someone mentioned his unwillingness to give details. If Dennis did that, most would be all over him. Too many people have not come out about pedophile abuse because it hurts way too much and the way some people disbelieve them can make a situation much, much worse. I've seen what it can do to someone and I would not wish that on my worse enemy. Not being God, I don't think it is for me to say who is guilty or innocent in this case. I just wish that there was much more empathy for the victims od Clergy Abuse or any abuse. I hope that there isn't any one that believes it has never happened. (And once again, I am not commenting on this particular case, just the downright meanness showed in this blog by many.)

    1. I don't think anyone here would deny that abuse occurred and that bishops failed to properly address the situation. However, that is not the point of this blog which is dedicated to high profile court cases in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. This is a point which Dennis, Jim, SarahTx, etc. have failed to grasp continuously as they evaluate all things through their own biased prism. Ralph Cipriano has followed the facts to where they have led him: the conclusion that Billy Doe is a fraud and that 4 men sit in prison for a crime which never occurred. THAT POINT ALONE is the purpose of these excellent reports. I am outraged that many years ago some clergy abused the trust placed in them and sullied the majority of honorable men who heroically live out their vocations. However, at the same time I recognize that these problems are in the distant past and that the Catholic Church has taken measures on n institutional

  27. There is no such thing as the "DISTANT" past of a victim of child abuse...


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