Saturday, September 28, 2013

Defense Lawyer Rips D.A.

By Ralph Cipriano

A defense lawyer for Msgr. William J. Lynn has publicly accused District Attorney Seth Williams of professional misconduct.

In a letter hand-delivered on Friday, defense lawyer Thomas A. Bergstrom ripped the D.A. for teeing off on his client during a Thursday press conference about the arrest of another priest, Father Robert L. Brennan. The defense lawyer said he intends to report the D.A. to the state disciplinary board. A spokesperson for Williams did not respond to a request for comment.

At the press conference, D.A. Williams took the occasion to lambaste the monsignor, now in jail serving a 3 to 6 year sentence after his conviction last year on a charge of endangering the welfare of a child. But according to the district attorney, Lynn was also guilty of conspiring to keep abusive priests in active duty, so they could harm more children.

"The case of Robert Brennan presents another instance of abuse under the watch of Msgr. Lynn, secretary of clergy under Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua," Williams said. "The actions Lynn took to shield predator priests from exposure and prosecution led to the victimization of untold numbers of Philadelphia area children."

After Brennan was removed from one church after a complaint of abuse, Lynn recommended that Father Brennan be recycled to Resurrection of Our Lord Parish, Williams said at the press conference. Even though doctors had warned that Brennan had exhibited evidence of pedophilia, and had a recurring behavior pattern that "presents future risk," Williams said.

"Two years before the incidents with which Brennan is now charged, the pastor at Resurrection reported to Secretary for Clergy Lynn that the rectory staff had observed Brennan inappropriately touching and wrestling with several adolescent boys in the sacristy and the rectory," Williams said. "Still, Lynn did nothing. He did not recommend removing the priest from his position, and Brennan continued as assistant pastor ... In that capacity he met, supervised and abused the victim who has now come forward."

"Lynn never reported to law enforcement any, any of the many allegations he heard about Brennan," the district attorney said at the press conference. "Some of Brennan's victims testified before the grand jury; others have come forward since to describe how he [Brennan] molested and sexually assaulted them."

"Yet these victims were unable to press charges because the crimes fell outside the statute of limitations," Williams said. "Thus, with the assistance of Lynn and others in the archdiocese, Brennan until today escaped prosecution for his decades-long sexual abuse of boys whom he encountered as a priest."

Father Brennan, 75, was charged with rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and aggravated indecent assault. According to the D.A., Brennan abused the altar boy between 1998 and 2001, when he was between 11 and 14 years old at Resurrection of Our Lord Parish in Northeast Philadelphia.

In his letter to D.A. Williams, Bergstrom wrote:

Dear District Attorney Williams:

Your recent statements to the press concerning Monsignor William Lynn in connection with the arrest of Father Robert Brennan display a total disregard for the facts of records and reveals conduct on your part that is very troubling and violative of the Rules of Professional Conduct (Rules 3.8 and 8.4) As you well know, Monsignor Lynn was never charged with those offenses you so blithely lay at his door step; and apparently, you have forgotten completely that a jury acquitted him of conspiracy. His lone conviction involves a single count of Endangering the Welfare of a Child he never knew or harmed.

Finally, your posturing that Monsignor Lynn would have been charged with Endangering, along with Father Brennan, but for the statute of limitations, ignores the reality that your right to have charged Monsignor Lynn at all is presently before the Superior Court. I find it unprofessional and appalling that while this appeal is pending you would embark on a campaign to continue to vilify Monsignor Lynn without benefit of factual or legal support.

Very truly yours,

Thomas A. Bergstrom


  1. Since when did the facts (or - for that m,atter - the subtleties of the law) ever matter to Seth Williams? In spite of that he says, I believe that he's focused on becoming either the next mayor of Phila, or some other elected official.

    There are a couple of interesting articles in Philadelphia magazine about Seth's competence.

    For openers, glance through the on-line October, 2012 article written by Robert Huber, -

    “I think he was overwhelmed,” the insider says of Williams. “He didn’t have good management expertise or training. Instead he wanted to be everyone’s friend and boost morale—have beer parties, make other ADAs feel better.”

    Williams was never going to be a great prosecutor—“He’d be fine if your house was robbed, but if your wife was murdered, you wouldn’t want him to prosecute,” says a former ADA—and he tended to leave the grunt work to others.

    Let's hope that the requested investigation into Williams' conduct in this matter bears fruit.

  2. "A spokesperson for Williams did not respond to a request for comment."

    Mr. Cipriano you must know by now the DA's office does not trust you with reporting the truth, without you taking a statement and twisting it to suit yourself and your closed minded membership, and every time you report a failed attempt it looks as the adult patting the child on the head and pushing him on his way.

    I think you should ask yourself the question why do I not receive the same respect as other reporters and why am I ignored ? Unless you can answer them I don't think you will receive the time of day.

    From Cipriano's blog:

    Brennan was removed from one church after a complaint of abuse, Lynn recommended that Father Brennan be recycled to Resurrection of Our Lord Parish, Even though doctors had warned that Brennan had exhibited evidence of pedophilia, and had a recurring behavior pattern that "presents future risk

    reported to Secretary for Clergy Lynn that the rectory staff had observed Brennan inappropriately touching and wrestling with several adolescent boys in the sacristy.

    "Lynn never reported to law enforcement any, any of the many allegations.

    with the assistance of Lynn and others in the archdiocese, Brennan until today escaped prosecution for his decades-long sexual abuse of boys whom he encountered as a priest."

    What you should look into Mr. Cipriano did those events listed unfold as I believe they had, and if so you need to tell Mr. Bergstrom to put on his big boy pants ?

    Until then keep asking questions from the DA's office, maybe they will get tired of you and throw you a bone.

    1. The reporters the DA's office does talk to are what are called "pencil pushers" or "yes men." Their flawed and watered down articles are what keeps them in the pockets and good graces of the DA and mayor's office.

    2. Time to change your diaper Denny! You've wet yourself again!

  3. Dennis, I'll make this real simple for you. I've written a mountain of stuff about this DA and his flawed investigation; a grand jury report with more than 20 factual errors, etc. It's all out there for anyone to see. Trust me, if I got something wrong, we'd know about it by now. He has no response for any of this, that's why he doesn't talk to me. Only someone as closed-minded and blind as yourself would fail to see this. Have a nice day and keep drinking the Kool-Aid.

    1. R-you are more patient than I could ever be-virtuous even!

  4. Well said Ralph! Amen!

  5. RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT.........are we talking about the legal profession here?

    And such alleged conduct is to be reported to Paul Killian, Chief Disciplinary Counsel of the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania?

    As a former law enforcement official, all I can say is that the Disciplinary Board is a total waste of time, energy, manpower and resources. Paul Killian and his crew could not conduct a thorough, objective, professional investigation and review of any PA attorney's conduct under any circumstances and I have ample evidence to indicate their incomplete, reckless and unprofessional conduct relative to the investigation of attorney conduct.

  6. How many more silent victims are out there because of Lynn's "I dropped the ball" or "I guess my best was not good enough" attitude ?

    Where was Lynn's Professional Conduct ???

    I guess it needs to be spelled out for the clergy to do the right thing. Law or no law.

    1. Dennis - look in the mirror! Where is your professional conduct? how many pension and health funds are you digging from?

    2. What ???

      A man shows a lack of concern for the safety of children, maybe even one of your children or grandchildren and your concern is my income ?

      However, I will give you an answer if your looking for one. "ITS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS !!!"

      Have a nice day.

  7. Well said, Dennis. Thank you.

  8. Just remember, the entire Billy Doe set of accusations and there are several versions starting with the January 2009 interview with the archdiocese social worker are false, they are untrue, he's a con artist who thus far has succeeded in putting innocent men behind bars. I'm not debating Lynn's actions over time as the clergy administrator, there are obvious situations that presented themselves where he could have intervened such as it appears with this newest indictment of the 75 year old soon to be ex-priest (he's still in process of being defrocked.

    But Lynn's in prison for a bogus set of accusations from a drug addict and criminal with a well known history of lying and stealing and there are others currently in prison who don't belong there.

    As for DA Williams, he does nothing unless it gets the maximum public relations treatment from the Inky and Daily News, the rubberstamp, fiscally strapped local print media that needs to be on his good side on a daily basis.

    I give Bergstrom a great deal of credit for at least making an effort to bring this to the attention of the state disciplanary board, but they will certainly wait until the higher court rules on the current appeal to do anything about this malicious statement by the DA.

  9. Anonymous 11:19

    You must be confused. You start out saying that you will not debate Lynn's actions, and there are obvious situations that present themselves, but then you talk about the malicious statements by DA Williams.

    It must be OK in your book to know about the wrong doings of Lynn, but when it is brought to the attention of the public that is a bad thing.

    Remember Sir/Miss this is exactly how your church ended up in the situation it is now. We know we have abusive priests but we won't say anything.

  10. Lynn is not incarcerated for his actions over the many years he was clergy administrator, he is incarcerated for a single conviction on bogus accusations by Danny Gallagher. He was never tried for any other accusation related to the archdiocese archives that were permitted to be brought into that courtroom even though they were not relevant to the Gallagher trials that resulted in innocent men being imprisoned. One of those superior court judges asked very specific questions in that recent hearing about the validity of allowing those archive files to be presented at trial.

    Why wasn't this new accusation released immediately after the accusation was made back in January instead of smack in the middle between the appeal hearing and the retrial of James Brennan later this month. IS that just a coincidence or is it an orchestrated effort to taint the jury pool for the upcoming trial.

    Dennis, I'm never confused as it relates to completey innocent men going to prison for crimes that were never committed.

  11. I want to clear something up since a lot of questions have come my way regarding Mr. Cipriano's past blog titled DA ARRESTS ANOTHER PRIESTBUT DECLINES TO RE-ARREST LYNN.

    It seems that many believe that the reason for Lynn not facing additional charges in the Brennan case is because Seth Williams fears Lynn's conviction will be overturned. However that is not the case.

    If I may quote from Mr. Williams:"Despite the applicability of the endangerment statute to Lynn and other archdiocese managers for this current victim, they are not being charged today," Williams said, "because this victim's age puts his allegations three months beyond criminal statute of limitations for endangering the welfare of a child.

    1. I quoted the DA saying that. But apparently it's not official until you say it. If you read the rest of my story [in your case never assume anything] you might have discovered that the DA prosecuted Lynn in 2012 for a case that missed the statute by NINE YEARS. If the DA's not worried about being overturned, how does one explain that contradiction Mr. Ecker? The DA ain't talking but perhaps you can elucidate us.

    2. I am only saying that Mr. Williams did not file additional charges not because of a fear the verdict in Lynn's case being overturned but because of the SOL.

      There was some questions regarding your heading on the previous blog. "Declines to re-arrest Lynn." It was an innocent question by others who did not understand your wording since an individual who is already in custody cannot be re-arrested. They may face additional charges, go to trial and face a jury of their peers on the new charges but cannot be re-arrested. But since you are an expert in the law I am sure you knew that and ONCE AGAIN it was a misprint.

    3. You don't address the discrepancy between 3 months and nine years. Do you see a contradiction there? Certainly an argument could have been made that Father Robert L. Brennan was guilty of a continuing pattern of misconduct. In the case of Father James J. Brennan, they missed the EWOC statute by 9 years but that didn't deter them with charging Lynn with EWOC and conspiracy. In the Father Robert L. Brennan case, they miss the EWOC statute by 3 months but they decide not to go after Lynn. Do you see a contradiction there, Mr. Ecker, or do you swallow everything Mr. Williams puts out there as gospel truth?

    4. Dennis Ecker Misinformation Alert: An individual in custody can be arrested again. Nothing prevents a person already in custody from being charged with a new offense. You are dead wrong about that, but nothing new there. However, my use of the word re-arrest in the headline suggests Lynn would be arrested again for the same crime, rather than what would amount to a new arrest. So I changed the headline to DA Arrests Another Priest But Won't Arrest Or Charge Msgr. Lynn.

      I would like to point out that Mr. Ecker can't or won't address the conflict over the DA electing to prosecute Msgr. Lynn on an EWOC charge that missed the statute of limitations by NINE YEARS but the DA declined to prosecute Msgr. Lynn on an EWOC charge that missed the statute of limitations by three months.

      That's what we call a complete reversal. Notice the DA has nothing to say about it and neither does Ecker. One fraud attempting to cover for another, with predictable results.

    5. WRONG. Getting your information from Bergstrom ?

      An arrest is the act of depriving a person of his or her liberty usually in relation to the purported investigation or prevention of crime and presenting (the arrestee) to a procedure as part of the criminal justice system. The term is Anglo-Norman in origin and is related to the French word arrêt, meaning "stop".

      Arrest, when used in its ordinary and natural sense, means the apprehension of a person or the deprivation of a person's liberty. The question whether the person is under arrest or not depends not on the legality of the arrest, but on whether the person has been deprived of personal liberty of movement. When used in the legal sense in the procedure connected with criminal offences, an arrest consists in the taking into custody of another person under authority empowered by law, to be held or detained to answer a criminal charge or to prevent the commission of a criminal or further offence. The essential elements to constitute an arrest in the above sense are that there must be an intent to arrest under the authority, accompanied by a seizure or detention of the person in the manner known to law, which is so understood by the person arrested

    6. Thank you Oliver Wendell Holmes, for elucidating us on Criminal Justice 101. I noticed you didn't address the DA's complete reversal on Lynn and EWOC. Don't have much to say about that, do you? You're kind of an empty barrel, but please tell me more about depriving a person of his or her liberty. Your writing is so fascinating I have to know more.

    7. Depriving a person of his or her liberty?

      That should be a question for Daniel Gallagher . Or his parents, James Gallagher Sr. and Sheila Gallagher, brother James Gallagher Jr (MIA) and wife Rebecca or Becky Gallagher.

    8. This empty barrel proved you wrong !!! When you give out your misinformation alert again be careful that it does not backfire.

      Remember - If you have those statements you don't have to be Hemingway.

  12. While we are waiting for the Superior Court's ruling on Monsignor Lynn's appeal, let's check the status of the appeals filed by Father Engelhardt's and Bernie Shero's lawyers.

    They can be found here:

    Father Engelhardt's appeal is 2040 EDA 2013, and Bernie Shero's is 2164 EDA 2013.

    As you'll note, both appeals are waiting for Judge Ceisler to send the original trial records and her 'opinion' to the Superior Court. This is an important step in the process and will pave the way for the briefs and arguments from both sides, and ultimately a decision.

    This information was due from Ceisler on September 9th and is now overdue. If you'll recollect, Judge Sarmina herself was close to 6 months late getting her material to the Superior Court and actually had to be 'compelled' (i.e. legally coerced) by the Superior Court to do her job and provide it. Take a look at 2171 EDA 2012 and you'll see for yourselves.

    And this was a judge who had actively campaigned for a Superior Court position herself - incongruous, isn't it??

    Let's hope that Mike McGovern and Burt Rose expeditiously take the necessary legal steps to get this moving along.

    These falsely convicted men deserve justice.

    1. Thanks Joe. What a disgrace that these judges can abuse the system like this.
      Sarmina and Ceisler of course feature in the latest rogues gallery of this sordid episode:

      Judges: Renée Cardwell Hughes, Sarmina and Ceisler
      DA office: Mark Cipoletti, Seth Williams, Mariana Sorensen
      False accusers: Daniel P Gallagher, officer James Gallagher Sr., Sheila Gallagher and James Gallagher Jr.,
      Others suggested by readers: Renée Cardwell Hughes

    2. add ADA Patrick Blessington, he co-prosecuted Lynn and tried to force himself and many of those archived files into the most recent trial on the eve of the trial (along with the recently departed ADA Sorenson) to further pollute that trial (unsuccessfully) ......but I''ll assume that many of those unprosecuted files from many decades ago made it into the transcript via Cippoletti's end around during his many uncontrolled speeches during those proceedings in January.....

      the die was cast long before those trials even began, those men had no chance in this city at a fair and impartial trial, starting with the judges named above who railroaded that grand jury report thru the system as if it were 100% factual and true which it wasn't........

  13. Joe1944............maybe such circumstances require a complaint with the Board of Judicial Conduct??? .............another fascinating body of professionals................just ask the Luzerne County juveniles who had no legal representation as they were being hammered by two corrupt judges.
    There is no oversight, accountabililty, consequences in these systems.......whether it is the Disciplinary Board for the attorneys or the Judicial Conduct Board for PA Judges.........

    1. Hi Mike -

      Good point!

      What do you think about requesting that Governor Corbett initiate an investigation into this mess? I just read that his daughter works for the Philadelphia DA's office.

  14. Let's hope that Danny Alvarez is following this blog.

    See -

    If elected, he can start with his own DA's office.

  15. Hmmmm....Story all over Philly news-Assistant DA Lynn Nichols, a 22 yr. veteran of that office arrested- 2 counts-obstruction of justice-falsifying police records-seems to be more to it than that. Seth Williams, the DA, and she are neighbors-news people are questioning that the investigation has been going on for awhile BUT she just left the DA office. Seems like there is an exit of ADAs recently, huh? Stay tuned-I write this in haste.

  16. ....and Josie you feel this woman's crime plays a role in how DA Seth Williams has prosecuted your guilty priests ?

    If you would have done your homework you would have known that as soon as Seth Williams became aware of the crime he turned everything over to the Attorney General who conducted the investigation.

    Hmmmm seems like you have been doing everything in haste but I will stay tuned in case you have something else silly to say.

    1. Dennis, are you the spokesman for the DA's office now? If so, maybe you can answer that question about the DA backing down on Msgr. Lynn that you and he have been studiously ignoring.

    2. I will give you the same polite response every time you ask a question of the DA's office.


    3. And everything printed in the inquirer that the DA hand delivers is fact.

      Inquirer like you are puppets. Anything else you want to plagiarize and enlighten us on?

  17. In a statement, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said:

    “Lynn Nichols had a long and successful career in this office. While it is with both professional and personal sadness that I am making this announcement today, we must maintain the highest standards of conduct in my office, and the legal process must take its course.”

    Yeah - right!

    Hogwash on the highest (ethical) standards part.

    Election Day is getting closer.

  18. I'm stlll waiting for someone to explain how a vicious series of sexual assaults are reported by DG/Billy Doe to the DA's office late Jan 2009 and nothing is allegedly investigated until January 21st ex ADA Charles Gallagher (no alleged relation to Danny."Billy Doe" Gallagher) and others in that office have some explaining to do concerning this mysterious 12 month lapse investigating those alleged crimes in this historic prosecution....and now another trusted veteran ADA is brought up on obstruction of justice/falsification of police records charges, perhaps that type of conduct was not only overlooked but encouraged by the DA's office in recent years in efforts to put innocent men in jail on this clergy trial.......


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