Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Judge Ceisler Puts Away Engelhardt And Shero

Assistant District Attorney Evangelia Manos
By Ralph Cipriano

Judge Ellen Ceisler today gave onetime Catholic school teacher Bernard Shero a jail sentence of 8 to 16 years for raping a former altar boy dubbed "Billy Doe." The judge threw out one charge against Father Charles Engelhardt, a bogus conspiracy rap, as unproven, but still hit the priest with 6 to 12 years in jail for sexually abusing the former altar boy.

The judged handed out the sentences even though a mandatory Commonwealth psychological exam had determined that neither defendant was a sexually violent predator. The judge tacked on five years of probation to each defendant's jail sentence.

It was a bizarre day in court. The proceedings featured defendant Shero rising in an unsuccessful attempt to debate Assistant District Attorney Enangelia Manos. Billy Doe didn't show, but his brother finally did, via a letter to the judge read aloud by the prosecutor. [During the trial, the jury had sent a note to the judge inquiring about the whereabouts of Billy's older brother].

But the low light of the day came when prosecutor Manos began testifying about a decades-old unproven allegation against Father Engelhardt that never made it before the jury, and was not in evidence in the case. That didn't deter prosecutor Manos from using the sentencing hearing to charge Father Engelhardt with a new crime. The prosecutor shouted out what she claimed the priest had allegedly said decades ago to a male relative, namely, "I want to fuck you up the ass!"

Classy. No wonder the proceedings left several female relatives of both defendants sobbing in court. That came to the attention the court crier, who ordered the sobbing relatives to leave, thereby calling even more attention to the situation.

The sobbing relatives weren't the only spectators to leave the courtroom in disgust. One veteran lawyer left muttering he didn't know how the prosecutor could sleep at night. Father James J. Greenfield, head of the religious order that employs Father Engelhardt, described the proceedings as "a punch in the gut."

D.A. Manos appeared to be aiming even lower. But to District Attorney Seth Williams, this was justice.

"This prison sentence sends a clear message to sexual assault victims in Philadelphia," Williams said in a prepared statement. "If you come forward, you will be heard. I would also like to compliment the jury for its hard work in carefully sifting through the evidence and coming up with a just verdict."

The judge who sent two innocent men to jail
In order to get up to the 9th floor of the Criminal Justice Center, where Judge Ceisler was holding court, spectators had their choice of riding in suffocating, overcrowded elevators that left people fanning themselves. Or hiking up nine flights of stairwells past prominent no-smoking signs, clouds of nicotine, and smokers puffing away with impunity.

Courtroom 905 was packed. Sitting prominently in the front row were the parents of the victim, and their lawyer for Billy Doe's civil suit against the archdiocese. All three were wearing green ribbons in support of abuse victims. Billy Doe was conspicuous by his absence.

Burton A. Rose was the first lawyer to address Judge Ceisler. Rose, who represented Shero, and Michael J. McGovern, who represented Engelhardt, had notified the judge in advance that they were going to make oral motions for extraordinary relief.

Rose told the judge the verdict was not justified by the weight of the evidence. He cited an abundance of reasonable doubt in the case, and said the guilty verdicts constituted a "serious miscarriage of justice."

The victim's story "makes no sense," Rose lamented. Billy Doe told conflicting stories and there were no corroborating witnesses or evidence, Rose said.

The judge quickly notified Rose that his plea was falling on deaf ears.

"I don't want to relive the whole trial," she said.

Rose continued talking about the unreliable testimony of Billy Doe, and his 23 drug rehabs in the past 10 years.

"The jury for whatever reason ignored evidence of reasonable doubt," Rose said.

The defense lawyer brought up Father Ed Avery, and the guilty plea that the former priest testified during the trial was bogus. This case should be retried, Rose concluded.

Next it was McGovern's turn. He talked about the discrepancies between Billy Doe's various accounts of the rape by Father Engelhardt. How Billy Doe first told an archdiocese social worker that Father Engelhardt anally raped him for four or five hours in the sacristy at St. Jerome's Church.

And then how Billy Doe, in subsequent versions of his story, kept changing the details. It wasn't anal sex, it was oral sex,  then it was mutual masturbation. It wasn't one incident, it was four incidents. The discrepancies in Billy Doe's various versions of the alleged assault should "shock the conscience," McGovern told the judge.

The judge clearly wasn't buying it. But she did say that one of the charges against Father Engelhardt, that he conspired with Father Avery to rape Billy Doe, didn't appear to have any evidence behind it.

Manos got up to dispute that. "They worked together, they lived together," she said of the two priests who lived at St. Jerome's rectory. Manos brought up the code word "sessions," saying that only the two priests used that word to describe sex with Billy Doe.

It didn't matter to the prosecutor that the "sessions" story line was suspect from day one. Or that the district attorney's own detectives found a far more likely origin for the word sessions, a word that both priests claimed they never used.

The use of the code word sessions was direct proof of a conspiracy, Manos argued. The defendants had a fair trial, they got to cross-examine the victim, and they lost, Manos said.

"They just don't like the verdict."

It was the judge's turn to rule.

The judge said the jury took their job "extremely seriously" and "they believed the victim." There were discrepancies in the victim's stories, the judge agreed, but "that alone does not require reasonable doubt." Especially, she said, because the victim's initial account to the archdiocese social worker came when Billy Doe was "ambushed and under the influence of heroin."

The looks on the faces of Shero and Engelhardt's family members spoke of stunned disbelief.

The discrepancies in Billy Doe's accounts, the judge continued, "does not shock my conscience."

But regarding the conspiracy charge, the judge ruled that the jury had made an "error of law" by finding Father Engelhardt guilty of conspiring with Father Avery. There was no evidence to back the conspiracy charge, the judge said.

So the judge announced she was dropping the conspiracy charge as unproven. That gave the Engelhardt camp some false hope. But then the judge said she would not grant the defense motion calling for a new trial.

The 66-year-old Engelhardt was left with three charges against him; endangering the welfare of a child, indecent assault against a minor, and corrupting the morals of a minor. Before the judge dropped the conspiracy charge, the priest was looking at a minimum of 6 to 12 years.

The 50-year-old Shero had five charges against him, including rape of a child, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child, endangering the welfare of a child, corruption of a minor, and indecent assault.  He was facing a minimum of 5 to 10 years.

Manos stood to read two victim impact statements. The first was from Billy Doe, who asked the judge to impose maximum sentences against these "these horrendous men.

Billy Doe claimed that after he was raped, for 14 years, he "tried to numb the pain" with drugs. 

"It never seemed to go away," he wrote. Then, he told the judge, he made the choice to publicly confront his assailants, and come clean to his parents about the reason for his drug addiction.

"It finally feels good to make my family proud of me,"Billy Doe wrote.

The relatives of the defendants looked like they were ready to vomit.

The next letter Manos read was from Billy's older brother.

The brother had given a statement to police, disputing many of the facts that Billy had claimed in his account of being raped by the two priests. During trial, the defense had implied they were going to call the older brother, a lawyer, to impeach Billy Doe. But the prosecution told the judge that the witness had not been properly served with a subpoena, and the judge agreed.

In his letter to the judge, Billy's older brother said that he never realized that the reason for his brother's bad behavior and drug addiction was that he had been raped as a youth by three predators.

"No one knew the root cause of his suffering," the brother wrote to the judge. The brother talked about how he had a "tenuous and grief-filled relationship for eight years" with Billy because of the drugs. But since Billy Doe came forward to accuse the defendants, the brother wrote, "I've seen a brand new individual."

Billy has a fiancee, and he's "working a steady job," the brother wrote. He told the judge how happy he was "to see my brother begin to flourish as a human being."

It was time for Manos to sum up the prosecution case for maximum sentences.

Manos accused the two defendants of "masquerading" as men of God. "They fooled everyone," she said. While Father Engelhardt was saying Mass and pretending to be a godly person, "he was taking a little innocent boy and ruining him," Manos said.

Shero, she said, was always complaining about his eye defects, "always playing the victim." Meanwhile, he was secretly fondling and violating Billy Doe, the prosecutor said. "How can these acts ever be justified?"

The two defendants were always "hiding the rotten evil inside," she said. "Their crimes are horrible." She talked about Shero grooming Billy, evidence that was in short supply during the trial, except when the prosecutor was making his closing statement.

Manos then brought up Brian Lyman, a cousin of Engelhardt's who was a character witness in the case.  The judge turned down a prosecution request to have Lyman testify about a supposed incident where the priest allegedly attempted to have sex with him.

Although the judge had not allowed the cousin's allegation to be made in front of the jury, Manos began testifying about all the alleged facts of the allegation like it had been presented as evidence. Perhaps she felt she had to refute Engelhardt's clean record, and psych report, so that's why she made a big deal out of the Lyman allegation.

Defense attorney McGovern got angry. The incident stemmed from 1983, McGovern said, and Lyman came forward decades later.

"This is so desperate," McGovern told the judge. "Every family has a nut."

But Judge Ceisler let Manos continue with her oratory.

That's when the prosecutor yelled, "I want to fuck you up the ass."

After that outburst, Manos talked about Billy Doe's decision to come forward.

"[Billy Doe] was forced to testify," she said. "He was forced to look evil in the face."

Manos asked for the maximum possible sentence.

Father James J. Greenfield is the provincial who leads the Wilmington-Philadelphia province of the Oblates of St. Francis De Sales, of which Engelhardt is a member.

As head of the province, Greenfield said, he has settled some 39 cases of past abuse.

"I've seen up close" the toll of sex abuse, plus "subsequent cover-ups," the priest told the judge. But this wasn't one of them.

Greenfield said he's known Father Engelhardt since 1979. "He is a generous and loving priest," he said. "I believe that he is innocent."

Regarding Billy Doe, "the jury believed him," Greenfield said. "I don't."

Father Greenfield tried to talk Judge Ceisler into giving Father Engelhardt probation. The priest could work in an oblates' facility in Maryland that treats "infirm, aged and demented" priests, Greenfield said.

It was the defendants' turn to address the judge.

Father Engelhardt stood and said that he had served as a priest for "close to 40 years" when he was falsely accused in 2009 by Billy Doe. The priest said he couldn't even remember who Billy Doe was when the accusation was made.

"I have no recollection" of the victim, he told the judge.

The priest talked about how he had taught hundreds of students every year at several high schools, and how he had served as a "moderator" or a link between Catholic school coaches and student athletes on soccer, baseball, basketball and wrestling teams.

"I'm very proud of my life's work," he said, holding back tears. "I have accepted this injustice," he said, believing that eventually "it would be righted."

There's a lot of pain and suffering in the world, the priest said, but he still holds on to his faith. And he still believes that pain and suffering "was not created by our God."

The priest, who looked fragile and haggard, sat down without ever raising his voice. McGovern asked for a cup of water for Father Engelhardt, who gulped it with a trembling hand.

The priest, McGovern said, did not pose a threat to the community. Father Engelhardt had already served four and a half months in jail since his conviction on Jan. 30.

"This is a man who should not spend another day in prison,"McGovern concluded.

When Bernard Shero stood to address the judge, he was clearly incensed at the way he had been characterized by prosecutor Manos.

"You wouldn't have been able to go through what I've gone through," he told the prosecutor. "That's really not fair," he said of the prosecutor's remarks that he was always hiding behind his handicap.

He accused her of "twisting the facts," and challenged her to respond.

"Go ahead," he told the prosecutor. "I know you want to say something."

The judge told Shero he was out of line.

"I'm frustrated," the defendant responded.

Shero reiterated his innocence. There was "absolutely no way I could do that," he said of the crimes he was convicted of.

Shero said before trial, he was offered several plea bargains to lesser charges, but "I couldn't do that," he said. He couldn't plead guilty to something he didn't do.

He then attempted to answer a question he's been wrestling with since 2009, when he was first accused by Billy Doe.

"Why me?" he said. "I'm a target," because of his bad vision.

The judge interrupted Shero, asking if he had a driver's license.

He said he did.

Then the judge read her sentences.

The courtroom erupted in tears. McGovern embraced Father Engelhardt one more time before the deputies took him away.

The families of the defendants were left with grief and anger.

Engelhardt's family was particularly puzzled by the judge's mixed decision on "Uncle Charlie."

"Judge Ceisler just showed her lack of intelligence and common sense by stating she believed [Billy Doe] said Tracey Boyle, Father Engelhardt's niece.

"Ultimately, she [the judge] proved she is a puppet for the D.A.," Boyle said. "First she stated she agreed with the jury's decision, yet disagreed moments later with the conspiracy charge given by the jury! So after removing the conspiracy charge, she went above the guidelines for her sentence. Unbelievable!"

Outside, on the steps of the CJC, Assistant District Attorney Manos was talking about how courageous Billy Doe had been when he testified against the defendants.

This reporter asked Manos if Billy Doe was telling the truth when he told the jury that it was the district attorney's office that hooked him up with his civil attorney, so he could sue the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for damages. The question was, was somebody in the district attorney's office getting a referral fee?

A smiling Manos gave a long rambling speech about the sanctity of the jury system, and how a jury of 12 men and women had believed Billy Doe and rendered a just verdict. A long rambling answer that had nothing to do with the question.

Tasha Jamerson, a spokesman for the district attorney's office, then announced she had no intention of replaying the trial, and that the time for taking questions from reporters was over.

As she walked away, I asked Jamerson a question that the district attorney has refused to answer for months, namely whether any prosecutor had a financial interest in the criminal convictions of Engelhardt and Shero.

"Absolutely not," she said.


  1. Unbelievable is right. This is a victory for drug addicts and bad parenting everywhere. People believe what they want to believe. If someone keeps telling you a lie for 4 years you may start to believe. The judge was very unprofessional. I notice her rolling her eyes at least 3 times. And it looked like she was staring at the ceiling while McGovern was talking. It's a win-win for billy doe. He gets the respect of his parents back, because nothing is his fault. And his parents don't look like bad parents anymore, because nothing is their fault either. And two innocent men sit in jail. No big deal. Disgusting! That DA was worse than the judge. And take your sunglasses off your head when your in court. Your not at the beach!

    1. You are so on target with regard to the parents-especially a cop for a father and the mother being a nurse. It does not make any sense that they did not have a handle on their child or know what was going on. It helps to have the blame go to someone else now. They could not possibly have believed this kid's lies. How can any of them sleep at night(or any time of day)with the unjust convictions and sentences?

      This reporting is honest and direct. It has been great to follow here. One can always be hopeful that the truth will ultimately come out so that an appeal is granted to the innocent.

    2. In case you missed it, read

      Judge Ceisler's unprofessional behavior and bias is not surprising after one rereads the prior reporting of her here before today.

    3. So judge is wrong, jury is wrong, DA is wrong, victim is wrong
      Maybe we need to look back at all cases and see if we can them all overturned.

  2. Well Done Ralph.

  3. This is an absolute disgrace. Billy Doe has told so many lies, that he believes them. He is trying to win his family over again, In "his letter" to the judge, he basically needed an excuse for all of the pain he has caused them, Money fixes everything, right? His brother answered in his letter to the judge how the names of the priests were accused. He would rummaging through the house, looking for anything to steal and came across the names. Billy Doe, I have been told Karma is a b**ch, I would hate to be in your shoes. Billy Doe's fiance, your fiance has said so many lies, I am sure you will live a long and prosperous life together. I also wonder how many times he has lied to you already. Billys family can thank your precious boy for all the pain and sufferring you have been enduring for the past year or so. I do not know how the Billy Doe can sleep at night, for that case, the judge, the DA...... His poor family, I know you have no choice but to believe your loved one, but how in the world can you not question his credibilty. He has been a no good son, brother, nephew from high school on, why now would you belive him and how many times have you doubted him this trial?

  4. Ralph. Thank you. Your work on this has been nothing less than stellar.

    My thoughts:

    1. "There were discrepancies in the victim's stories, the judge agreed, but 'that alone does not require reasonable doubt'."

    Good grief. The discrepancies were not about minor details. They went to the very heart of Danny's claims, and the discrepancies were ridiculously rampant and glaring. Considering the ONLY real "evidence" in the case was the testimony from Danny, what would have been "reasonable doubt" in the eyes of Ceisler??

    2. Ceisler claimed that Danny was "ambushed and under the influence of heroin" when the Archdiocese questioned him.

    "Ambushed"? Is she kidding?! Danny *climbed out the window* of his house and *ran down the street* to talk to the Archdiocese. In fact, Danny disobeyed his father by agreeing to talk to the Archdiocese.

    3. Danny's brother claims, "I've seen a brand new individual" since Danny came forward.

    Really? That "brand new individual" has been arrested at least THREE times since he came forward, including crimes of theft and possession of drugs.

    There's a LOT more to say, but this is a very sad day for Engelhardt's and Shero's families and for justice.

    The bigots and haters must be very happy today, kinda like the Romans who threw the 1st century Christians to the lions ("christianos ad leones!").

  5. Ralph, pretty accurate summary of the day.
    I do have to correct one thing however, the lying, drug addict's family was wearing blue ribbons, not green.

  6. I am still in awe over why BD 56 bags of heroin got thrown out. A Philadelphia Officer was basically told he can't be suspicious of a suspicious person. It must pay that daddy is a cop. I am BD's age. I have no cops in my family. Fortunately for me, I was an honor student, went to college, have a career, and had no run in with the police. If I did, I would not have my daddy to protect me. I would have to oay the consequences. Absolutely disgusting! Now Philadelphia Police officers cannot do there job of protecting upstanding citizens in the city of brotherly love.

  7. Anonymous 7:33pm brings up a couple of points I agree with.

    Billy Doe Family: I know you want to believe it was someone else's fault his life has been so bad. Your wish has now been granted. Let's see how long it takes billy to screw it up. Maybe as time goes on you will realize he is a liar and you put innocent men behind bars.

    Karma - I love that word and I believe in it. Billy, you have put the Karma red flag on you and your family. Due to your accusation, an innocent man is in jail. You did this for $ and to make mends with your family. I think the $ is the bigger reason, so when you do get that pay day, run out and buy a big house, get a vacation home, but make it quick. Karma will find its way to you and your family and when it does, your family will have you to thank.

  8. Now we have a judge determining what was in the mind of those 12 jurors, that poor Billy Doe was ambushed by the Archdiocesan counseler who absolutely needed to get his statement for the record. Today was obviously another scam, this time it was the judge that was the one looking for political gain, send these 2 innocent men to prison for prison terms they didn't deserve, secure a positive rating from her peers at her next election. I think these men have so many appeal issues, but the sad part is they sit in a jail cell, unable to live the life they should have while Billy DOE is swigging corona's down in Puerto Rico. IS that the typical recovery drink of choice for a recovering addict, may his next drug of choice be his last, that's the justice I am praying for.

  9. Let's talk about Lyman, a 53 year old, 2 decades long cocaine addict, lifelong alcoholic who's a 53 year old unemployed nothing, lost his teaching career, lost his family, no one stepped forward into that courtroom to corroborate/for those that don't know, that means to verify or to testify that his version of that ficticious event was in fact, truthful. TRUST ME, IT NEVER HAPPENED EXCEPT IN HIS DRUG AND ALCOHOL FILLED MIND. How that judge could allow that DA to throw that uncorroborated allegation into today's sentencing hearing kind of says it all, the entire case is a money scam, thus far Billy Doe is in the lead but hopefully the truth will set these men free.

  10. Wow. wow. wow. That's all I can say right now. Thank you, Ralph, for your reporting. No one else will do it. Thank God for you. I need to process all of this before I can write more eloquently. Wow.

  11. Question begging to be answered is what kind of a plea bargain was Shero offered? It could have been the same 8 years jail he ultimately got from Judge Ceisler.

    Prosecutor using F*CK should have been cited for contempt of court and sent to jail until DA can fetch her out of jail. Professionalism must be on at all times, no matter what happens or how angry you are. Hushing the accused family out for simply crying is unprofessional as they have the right to cry. Bailiffs can be called bullies as they tempt you to use force against them knowing full well more will come and beat you up in the courtroom. Judges use bailiffs to intimidate people and crush them in the courtroom. Rules are very fluid.

    What defense lawyers for Shero and Englehardt need to do is to contact Lynn's defense lawyers and seek advice on filing appeal that will catch a judge's attention. Better to send in a well written appeal than an emotional based appeal and having honest critique from Lynn's lawyers will be a big help.

    Judge Ceisler had to do the only thing left open to her - sentence both men to prison. A jury found them guilty yet their reasoning is highly suspect. She could have sentenced both to prison 35 years which in itself would be a life sentence. Were she to free both men on bail and grant them new trials, she would have triggered violent outbursts in the courtroom from the victim's family that would have required tens of police to run up the stairs to quell a mob. She is Catholic and she has to protect herself and her family from verbal abuse outside the courthouse.

    Some would ask why didn't they ask for a trial by judge. Problem is that the judge would face huge public pressure to convict at all costs. Choosing a jury of people living in Philadelphia is much like choosing a snake from a barrel of snakes. And what judge would resist pressure to find both men innocent? Were him or her to do it, what would happen to their families and their relationships with people outside the courtroom?

    This trial was very much like a show trial that you usually see take place in Communist China. Given the kind of people we might dredge up in a jury pool, what are the chances we would fine one who would hold up a guilty verdict? Very small. Being imbued with the personna and the machismo of an fighter pilot, I think I could have withstood the angry invectives thrown at me during a long jury meeting on the verdict. It took one good juror to hold up the case until a mistrial was declared but this did not happen at all during both trials.

    Scuttlebutt holds that appellate court will almost certainly free Lynn, Shero, Englehardt and Avery once the evidence is shown by defense lawyers. In the meantime, those people will have served several years in jail before being freed upon appeal.

    1. As far as violent outbursts in the courtroom. I can assure you that would not have happened. There were more people there to support Shero and Engelhardt than "doe". And now that you mention it. Where was "Billy", or his brother?Because if someone did something like that to me or my siblings you bet your ass I would be there to send them off to prison. Probably on the beach laughing and waiting for a text.

    2. Judge Ceisler had a great deal of discretion, particularly with defendant Fr Engelhardt, no criminal record, no propensity as determined by the court's own phychologist that he's a predator or even inclined to be abuse anyone, and the overwhelming evidence presented at trial that contradicts the version of events by the abuser(take your pick of the several different stories told by Billy Doe over the course of four years) and the guidelines which called for incarceration significantly less than what she gave him. She throws out the conspiracy that was added erroneously by a fellow judge earlier in this bizarre case, then hands a 67 yr old man with serious health issues what is really "a death sentence", at least 6 years in prison. She had a lot of options, knew first hand this case was "suspect at the very least" but she is an elected judge in the city who has to protect her job at anyone's expense, this time, it was these 2 defendants whose lives have been destroyed by Billy Doe.

    3. axel - where was the rest of the family after the sentences were handed out. all i saw was individuals running from the courthouse looking as if they were running from the cameras. add that to the brothers were visibly absent yesterday and you have a family that is trying to protect their name. Amazing how a 24 year old is still referred to as billy doe. i'm sure with the exception of the fop leaders no one else knows of billy doe's father's involvement. and i'm sure the dept. of health or employer (past and present) would be interested in looking at the billy's mom per-say for any instances over the last 14 years involving her.

  12. I wonder how things would turn out if someone came forward and made accusations like these against the DA or the judge. Evidently any drug addict who wants a payday has free reign in Philly, so why not go after Seth or Ellen? Obviously they won't need proof, just make the accusation and you should be able to collect.

  13. Not every drug addict gets a payday in Philly. Most are basically ignored and squelched by the court system. Drug addicts are easily convicted of drug related offenses and put in jail. They may get "rehab" while in prison but when released usually relapse back. In short, drug addicts are the ignored and forgotten.

    Problem was the media's blowing way out of proportion "alleged abuse" cases against priests in archdiocese schools. Given all this wide coverage of an overblown issue, what person would want to acquit when others have had druggies in their families jobless, broke and dead early? We would get a much different verdict if the trial was held in Bucks, Montgomery, Chester and Delaware counties.

    Billy Doe's brother is the talk of his law firm. Not a pleasant way to start your career on. Being his brother's keeper means holding tight on your tongue.

    1. James, pull the dockets on Billy Doe's last 4 arrests just in the city of Philadelphia includiing the infamous 56 bags of heroin arrest thrown out by a now deceased judge, the same judge that Billy Doe went to for legal advice on an earlier Philly arrest. The only abuse here is the abuse of the legal system, they wanted to put a high ranking archdiocese cleric in prison and they succeeded, that was the goal and the DA's office used any means ethical or otherwise to achieve that goal, the others who are innocent are just collateral damage. The judge didn't follow her conscience, she couldn't be seen as an easy mark like these last 2 defendants were for this accuser, there's a future election down the road to protect her seat on the bench. And yes, what she did yesterday particularly with Fr. Engelhardt seems to be contradictory, just like the several different versions of assaults related by Billy Doe over the course of this entire sad event. The evidence didn't support the conviction and neither did it support the cruel incarceration these 2 men will face the next several years.

    2. Billy Doe's brother is on the record in the investigation by the DA with a completely contrary version of how his brother got involved in drugs and he dismissed any support of his brother in his allegations against those defendants. Now, as the smell of the money from the civil trial gets closer for this family, he contradicts his own sworn statement to the DA with a letter of support for his brother. Give me a break, he couldn't testify (never showed up in court even yesterday I've been led to believe) because as a lawyer, he couldn't perjure himself by testifying his sworn statement was wrong.

    3. This is well known knowledge of the 56 bags of heroin and the obvious coverup of Billy Doe's arrests. We know of the duplicity in the DA's office and Billy Doe's family. Especially his brother who is a newly minted lawyer working for a firm and now he contradicts his own sworn statement to issue a letter praising his brother which would merit a Bar Association investigation and his law firm choosing to dismiss him and hire one less controversial lawyer from the graduated class of 2013 among local law schools.

  14. Ralph,

    I have a question. Ceisler stated that Billy Doe was ambushed by the social worker. When during the trial was it ever played out that they ambushed him. He called them, set up the appointment, and left his house under his own free will to talk to them down the street. And when was it corroborated that he was high on heroin during this meeting. He was just home from rehab a few miles away from his house that day, with his father, a cop mind you, in the house and the two were having a conversation about whether he should talk to them or not. Add on the fact that Billy Doe remembers everything he did before and after the meeting, yet nothing of the actual meeting, I don't see the ambush or force as ambush really means. There was no threat by Hagner. She would have left had HE NOT CALLED HER BACK AND ASK TO TALK. Did the judge just make this up for sentencing so she could sentence these men beyond the guidelines?

    Also, as it pertains to the referral fee. Is a referral fee documented? As to say if someone in the DA"s office gets a 1/3 of a million dollar settlement, that lawyer in the DA's office is not going to get $300,000.00 cash right? Is the fee and the lawyer's name documented as public record as to be investigated after the fact for unethical behavior of a previous conviction?

  15. Ralph,

    I have a question. Ceisler stated that Billy Doe was ambushed by the social worker. When during the trial was it ever played out that they ambushed him. He called them, set up the appointment, and left his house under his own free will to talk to them down the street. And when was it corroborated that he was high on heroin during this meeting. He was just home from rehab a few miles away from his house that day, with his father, a cop mind you, in the house and the two were having a conversation about whether he should talk to them or not. Add on the fact that Billy Doe remembers everything he did before and after the meeting, yet nothing of the actual meeting, I don't see the ambush or force as ambush really means. There was no threat by Hagner. She would have left had HE NOT CALLED HER BACK AND ASK TO TALK. Did the judge just make this up for sentencing so she could sentence these men beyond the guidelines?

    Also, as it pertains to the referral fee. Is a referral fee documented? As to say if someone in the DA"s office gets a 1/3 of a million dollar settlement, that lawyer in the DA's office is not going to get $300,000.00 cash right? Is the fee and the lawyer's name documented as public record as to be investigated after the fact for unethical behavior of a previous conviction?

  16. Wow what a bunch of christians.

    Attack the victim, that's what Jesus said. The repeated attacks on the VICTIM for being a drug addict, a condition likely caused by being sexually abused as a child.

    Not only are your unfounded insuations regarding the Judge and other public servants bordering on religious terrorism, your inability to turn the other cheek, or do unto other is patently anti-christian.

    I pray that the commenters here will someday comprehend the real message of Jesus, because it's not the hatred and prejudice I see here.

    1. You obviously know nothing about this case, the blatant lack of evidence, the lies, the family documents, The three incidents over two years and his mother the nurse and father the cop did not even see a thing (impossible), the corruption downtown, the exemplary track record of the priest, save a false family members lie (who is friends with the Doe family by the way), or anything else. Save your Catholic rant. This isn't a church trial, it for big people who have an honest look on life. Shame on you for your bigotry to the real victims here, the priest and the teacher.

      Look at the facts, for once. Billy Doe LIED.

    2. The 10 commandments clearly state thou should not steal, honor thy mother and father, and thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor. Billy Doe sure is following the catholic ways of life, oh wait he committed all of these sins and some.

    3. The commenters you refer to have turned the other cheek and remained relatively silent for the last 4 years. Eventually you have to stand up to a bully (DA and his string of puppets) and eventually you need to call out a lying cheat.

    4. I completely agree with anon !2:02 June 13,13

    5. Everyone here seems to be an expert in our legal system. Same old same old, when you don't get your way you look for a way to find a loop hole.

  17. Just another expensive and traumatic Philadelphia prosecutorial / judicial disgrace.

    I think what we witnessed yesterday are the indians circling the wagons, so to speak. Ralph's investigative work must have severely rattled the folks in the DA's office AND many of the prosecution friendly judges as well. I hope the investigations are moving along. Looking forward to the talk show commentaries and the November DA election now that the gag orders have been elapsed.

    These gentlemen will most certainly prevail on appeal, so let's stay on Ceisler's case to ensure that she sends her Trial Report and Order to the Superior Court in a more timely fashion than did Sarmina for Monsignor Lynn.

    I read somewhere that Ceisler said that she was shocked that this trial did not end in either an acquittal or - at the very least - a hung jury type of mistrial. Ceisler probably has a 'bullshit detector' comparable to that of Mike Wallace, but I have to assume as sentencing time drew closer that she deliberately ignored it and anesthetized her conscience. Shame!

    As someone once said, 'you can't make this stuff up!'

    1. Great comment, Joe! You are very wise and articulate!

  18. Amaxing how with over 100 current judges actively connected to the common pleas court system in this city of ours, the judge assigned to head the newest "GRAND JURY" investigation of the building collapse for the District Attorney's office is the same judge that passed those vicious sentences to the 2 defendants yesterday (nothing but sadness in my heart for those that died or were injured in that catastrophe that certainly should have been avoided) Is that just a coincidence? Another high profile career advancing case conveniently given to that same judge just days before this sentencing hearing. And as for the judge's apparent use of the term, "ambushed" when describing the interview of the archdiocesan counselor back on 1-30-2009, this man willingly left his home and told the story of a 5 hourlong assault by Fr Engelhardt that, as we all know, quite simply never happened. And as is every junkie's perogative when they are caught in a blatant lie, blame it on the drugs.

    What an Injustice for these defendants. Does anyone know if the "sentencing hearing" becomes part of the appellate process, if so, both the DA and the judge appear to have opened up some additional avenues to overturn those verdicts and sentences.

  19. Chippy, has it been reported that Billy Doe's civil attorney was in the courtroom yesterday to view this sentencing hearing (really not a hearing but a lynching might be the more appropriate word), but not Billy and James DOE Jr, the accusers brother who is on record with a sworn statement during the investigation telling the detectives that these assaults could not have happened as told by his own brother.

    I hope the archdiocese has the courage in this city to resist making any settlement on these cases until the final appeal is exhausted years from now for these innocent men.

  20. Everyone here has been asking where this person was and giving excuses why this person was not in court. Here is my question where was Chaput ? You had Greenfield who is nothing more than a supervisor but where was the boss, the big cheese.

    Those with closed minds want to see the fault in everyone else but when it comes down to looking at themselves they seem to have a blind eye.

    1. thought you went to catholic school?

      greenfield does not report to chaput. think you woud know the difference between a diocesan and a religious order priest.

      insert foot now.....

    2. Dennis, was that you in the court room yesterday with the Tommy Bahama shirt on? - the shirt with the Parrot's smoking cigars on the back of it? For some reason I could picutre that.

    3. Dennis,
      Can you honestly, HONESTLY, say that you believe Billy's story and don't just have an ax to grind with the Catholic Church? Charles Engelhardt and Bernard Shero worked with children for decades, and have never been accused before Billy or since. So we are to believe that Charles Engelhardt locked FOUR doors to the sacristy from 8:30 to 12:30 on a Sunday and brutally sodomized Billy and then decided he wasn't going to rape children anymore? Or even molest, or fondle, since absolutely no one else has come forward? You know you don't believe that. I just wish you would admit that you want the Church to be punished, and these innocent men will just have to serve as scapegoats.

    4. Dennis: you are a dummy, the oblates have a different organization than the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Greenfield reports directly to the Oblate order superior in ROME, so the comment, he's just a supervisor is totally inaccurate. He is responsible for the entire east coast down to florida as well as some ministries in the midwest. Do me a favor, if you don't know anything about what you are talking about, don't comment so as to save you the embarrasment.

  21. Hey Dennis,
    Chaput has nothing to do with this. Billy Doe does. Try and understand this... I know it's hard for you what with the most narrow minded mentality on the planet and all, but try...
    For the family involved it is not about the Catholic Church. It is about a liar accusing a priest and family member of a crime that did NOT happen. It is narrow minded asses like you that are using this as a way to bring down the Catholic Church. Chaput was not there because he doesn't give a crap. Fr. Englehart is not a diocesan priest. Billy Doe has the balls to accuse, then he should have the balls to show up. Man up Billy!!

  22. Greenfield, is he not the supervisor who came out of nowhere to defend his priest ?

    Stating he would send Engelhardt to most likely Childs Maryland the same place they sent my abuser who I understand died there of a horrific stroke.

    Is this also the same place I understand from an inside source that holds other abusive priests who have the freedom to come and go as they please, access to the internet both with no supervision.

    You guys have no idea what is going on right under your nose.

    See not only through this blog did survivors, families of survivors and law enforcement contact me who I promised I would not divulge, but clergy members who reside at that residence contacted me ashamed of the workings of the church.

    I have come to a conclusion, its just not the fault of your clergy destroying lives, its the fault of every parishioner who turns deaf, blind and dumb when it comes to accusations of clergy abuse, and I will be the first to admit that man who enters the priesthood because he has received that calling and puts that white collar on will be stereotyped as an abuser or guilty by association.

    Start thinking about those men instead of those who have harmed children. If not you will cease to be. It might not be five years from now or fifty but if you do not change it will happen.

    1. Yes, the church is at fault for its years of neglect to protect young children. The innocent men who sit in prison today are taking the blame for it is what you fail to see. The DAs prosecution of these men was unwarranted and what has been his response when confronted about these trials. I'll give you the answer - silence. All of this was politically and career motivated for those who prosecuted and presided over the two trials.

      You mention your abuser above. When confronted and asked to provide details is it not true that you would not say a word. You had a chance to speak and would not. Why is that?

    2. Anonymous, if you must know my first report of my abuse went ignored and pushed under the rug as stated in the grand jury report. Stating they would attempt to contact the victim. I never went anywhere so why would they need to attempt to contact me.

  23. What a disgrace of the sentencing of Fr. Charles Engelhardt! Fr. Engelhardt was assigned to my parish in Wilmington, DE a few yrs. ago while I was employed there. Since I was a housekeeper & laundress, I had access to his rooms & never saw anything inappropriate in either place! He was the moderator of our CCD Program (religious education for students in grades 1-8 who do not attend Catholic School) & the parish never received a complaint from any parents nor parents of altar servers (male & female). I wholeheartedly agree that Fr. Engelhardt is innocent of all charges! Shame on the jury; it was a miscarriage of justice! By the way, why is the accuser still listed as "Billy Doe"? Why can't we know his name? He should be ashamed of himself! He was in it for the money & is nothing but a drug addict who needed funds to support his rotten habit! We will continue to pray for Fr. Engelhardt & his family.

    1. It's was very nice of father to hide his child porn from you while you cleaned his room

    2. another unintelligent, uninformed commenter who only believes what they read in the DA's media outlet, aka the philadelphia inquirer.

    3. It's so sad that Charles will no longer have a housekeeper and laundress. How did he ever afford it? Hope he wasn't in it just for the money etc.

    4. Seriously, you want to continue on with these types of comments. I'd be willing to bet your a catholic and know about the rectory and the good people who help out the priest.

  24. Ralph,

    Your defense of the convicted felons is no doubt well meant but I followed the trial in detail and will put my trust in the jury's decision. So what if Billy wasn't there for the sentencing or that he abuse drugs. Who wouldn't be tempted to take drugs after what Billy went through.

    Tim Stier
    Oakland, CA

  25. Tim Stier, unless you were in that courtroom, you have not a clue unless reading Ralph's daily reports (accurate reports). He is the only one who has written what happened each day in detail. If you notice Ralph was procommonwealth at the beginning of this case yet after seeing what was happening, he know the truth in that billy is a liar and these men are innocent.

  26. According to the Philly DA..."If you come forward, you will be heard. I would also like to compliment the jury for its hard work in carefully sifting through the evidence and coming up with a just verdict."

    I wonder if he'll feel the same way if ever he goes to trial...


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