Monday, March 16, 2015

Rufus, Rambo & Father Andy

By Ralph Cipriano

The district attorney has until May 10 to decide, after two mistrials, whether to retry Father Andrew McCormick a third time for the alleged attempted rape of an altar boy.

On his twitter account, Rufus Seth Williams, our crusading district attorney, was remarkably low-key about the case. He briefly noted Father Andy's latest mistrial before deleting the tweet and moving on to more important things.

Like the D.A.'s call-in on the WIP morning show where he joked about subpoenaing Eagles Coach Chip Kelly to find out "where all these deals will lead us." And the D.A.'s comparison of himself to Rambo in the D.A.'s running feud with state Attorney General Kathleen Kane over whether to prosecute local pols caught in a sting operation. ["I find myself like John J. Rambo," the D.A. tweeted. "They drew first blood not me."]

Meanwhile, the "friends of Father Andy" have launched a petition drive online to "demand an end to the persecution of Father Andrew McCormick by the District Attorney of Philadelphia." Maybe Father Andy's friends are on to something. Like those tired Rocky and Rambo franchises it might be time to end the priest abuse trials in Philadelphia before we waste any more taxpayer money and have to suffer through any further embarrassments.

"Sign this petition because you don't want more of your tax money spent on a trial and investigation that's been going on since 2011," says the online petition in support of Father Andy. "Sign this petition because it's not fair for a man of limited financial resources to spend more than $100,000 to defend his name for a third straight time."

In the Father Andy case, none of the principals can talk because of the gag order imposed by Judge Gwendolyn N. Bright. It did seem fitting, however, that in the fourth installment of the D.A.'s priest abuse trials a defense lawyer finally put the right guy on trial, namely the D.A.

Trevan Borum, Father Andy's lawyer, ripped the D.A.'s office for not doing their homework in the case, and instead relying on a blatant appeal to emotion.

"Do not decide this case based on sympathy," Borum told the jury. He asked the jury to recall how many times he had objected to questions from the prosecutor "designed to evoke an emotional response" from a witness, and how many times a witness broke down crying.

Borum's indictment could easily be applied to the D.A's entire prosecution of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia beginning with the 2012 trial of Msgr. Lynn and Father James J. Brennan, the 2013 trial of Father Charles Engelhardt and former Catholic school teacher Bernard Shero, and last year's mistrial of Father Andy.

During the Engelhardt-Shero trial, while Assistant District Attorney Mark Cipolletti gave his 82-minute closing statement, the prosecution kept a photo up on several courtroom TVs of the alleged victim in the case, a smiling 10-year-old Billy Doe, wearing his parochial school uniform and looking like the star of Leave It To Beaver.

In her closing in the Father Andy case, Assistant District Attorney Kristen Kemp talked about how only a guilty verdict could take away the pain of the alleged victim, as well as the collective guilt felt by his mother, father and cousin, who was 11 when the alleged victim told her about the abuse and still feels bad about not doing anything.

While Cipolletti and Kemp gave their speeches, the sobbing victims were used as props in the courtroom, to soak up more sympathy from jurors.

In the Father Andy case, Borum said, the D.A. took the witnesses at their word. "Instead of vetting anybody, they decide to run with it," Borum said, because, "We're gonna convict a priest."

"It doesn't matter how we do it," Borum said. "The ends justify the means."

Again, Borum could have been speaking about the entire prosecution of the archdiocese. Talk about not doing your homework.

It starts with a 2011 grand jury report that had more than 20 mistakes in it. And an investigation of Billy Doe's allegations two years later where every witness interviewed by the D.A.'s own detectives, including the alleged victim's mother and brother, contradicted the star witness.

Instead of vetting anybody, the D.A. just decided to run with it. Because the ends justify the means.

Down in the Italian Market on Wednesday, they're closing off Ninth Street for the filming of Creed, the latest Rocky movie. In this one, Rocky's the manager schooling Apollo Creed's grandson, who wants to be a contender.

A guy who works at Lorenzo's Pizza joked that they're going to keep filming Rocky sequels until they have to push Sylvester Stallone up Ninth Street in a wheelchair.

Would Stallone sink that low? What about our D.A.? Has he hit bottom yet?

In the Father Andy case, in order to get a guilty plea, the D.A. was willing to bargain five sex charges -- involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault, endangering the welfare of a child, indecent assault of a child, and corrupting the morals of a minor -- down to a single guilty plea for corrupting the morals of a minor.

In order to win at all costs, the D.A. was willing to let a priest he publicly accused of attempting to rape a 10-year-old altar boy not spend a day in jail, go on probation for four years and not even have to register as a sex offender under Megan's Law.

Father Andy's friends noticed.

"This offer [declined by Father McCormick] stands as proof that the main objective of the district attorney is not to keep someone they believe to be a rapist and child molester off the streets but rather to inflate their own conviction statistics," says the petition to free Father Andy.

What about SNAP and the victims' advocates? If you're on the other side of this issue, and you believe the D.A.'s story line, that Father Andy is a menace to society, how does that plea bargain protect children?

Maybe the next time Seth Williams does some grandstanding, somebody should ask him that question.


  1. I'm sure it will be a wait and see if this petition is countered on the web by another submitted to sites such as requesting Seth Williams and the Philadelphia District Attorneys office to proceed with a third trial or how many trials it may take for a final conclusion under our justice system.

    Money should never be a issue when it comes down to the safety of children.

    I'm sure such information the Archdiocese of Philadelphia removed Father Andrew from ministry do to boundary issues not even associated with this present case will be an interesting read. Who knows maybe some very interesting quotes from this blog maybe an interesting read for someone who feels Fr. Andrew McCormick without the verdict from a jury may possibly believe he is a danger to children.

    Only time will tell.

  2. Read true crime stories of pedophile priests at City of Angels
    A blog by a journalist who is also one of a hundred thousand survivors of these crimes in the USA today.

    1. About the only thing lower than a lying, conniving 'journalist' these days (sadly, there was a time when this was an honorable and respected profession- not so much, anymore since so many of you 'journalists' decided to become politicized [liars]) are their masters- those very same secular-progressive politicians taking away our freedoms while their incredibly dumbed-down media lackeys do all the labor for them.So stupid- first thing to go when this leftist 'transformation' is complete will be the First Amendment; bye-bye, free press.

      Why not just claim that there are millions of present day 'victims' of priests- that would be as verifiable as your ridiculous claim.

      City of [fallen] Angels is nothing more than another fundraiser for the leftist bigots.

    2. Why such hatred ? Did you go to Kay's link ? There is not one thing she posted that could be perceived or made up. In other words we could call them facts.

      Can you contradict any of the stories she posted ? I guess not since you did not inform us. Instead you take the pro-pedophile stance and call her a liar.

      I may not use the word millions but I do believe there is hundreds of thousands of victims out there and yes the abuse of clergy is still happening today. Look in your area alone of the bomb shells that have been dropped in the recent two months. The FBI does not get involved in a case for a priest having pictures of girls in bikinis on his computer.

    3. P.S. Won't keep coming back to read your stupidity only to increase the comments on this blog which only makes people think Ralph's stories are worthy of reading.

      I said my piece. If Ralph wants me to keep confronting you back and forth HE WILL PAY ME.

    4. how do you plan to collect your fees as anonymous? Unless ralph is able to figure out who you are from the rest of the anons posting here.

      Good-bye, certain you will not be missed.

  3. A silent understanding can be agreed upon by both Seth Williams and Chaput to not have Father Andy ever ministry to an active ministry where children may be present in exchange for Seth to drop the case and leave like he achieved something.. Boundary issues are important as they protect both the teacher and children from each other. Violate them at your own peril. Lessons were learned by all in ministry from the two trials of Father Andy and they back the case of respecting boundary rights of children by not getting too close to them.

  4. Any idea what was the breakdown of the jury for conviction/acquittal?

    1. Inquiring minds want to knowMarch 17, 2015 at 6:39 AM


  5. This I believe will play a major factor if Seth Williams proceeds with a re-trial. He will wait for the 30 day gag order to expire then wait for reporters like Ralph who will be banging on the doors of those jurors and ask that very question how many votes were for guilty and how many for innocent.

    If it comes anywhere close to be the same as the rumored 11/1 vote for conviction in McCormick's first trial he will retry him.

    Keep in mind prosecutors do not like to lose. They only pick cases when the greater percentage is to win. Although they did not win this case it also would not go into the loss column. I believe it would be worth to retry not only to give the possible victim closure with a guilty verdict but also clear the name of a possible innocent man being Andrew McCormick.

    Ralph, if you could re-check on the date of May 10th being the deadline of when the DA's office has to notify the court would be greatly appreciated. The reason is if the May 10th date is accurate it seems like a long time for someone to wait for the unknown, but then again this possible victim may have been in fear of what was going to happen to him next.

  6. Ralph, in your article titled "Father Andy's Big Gamble Pays Off," you wrote the following: "The D.A., according to sources, was offering a pretty sweet deal. If Father Andy pleaded guilty to all the charges, he would be put on probation for five years and not have to serve a day of jail time. He would, however, have to register as a sex offender under Megan's Law." However, in the article above you wrote: "In order to win at all costs, the D.A. was willing to let a priest he publicly accused of attempting to rape a 10-year-old altar boy not spend a day in jail, go on probation for four years and not even have to register as a sex offender under Megan's Law." Can you clarify which details of the plea bargain are true? Was it 4 or 5 years" Was it register as a sex offender or no? Also, the petition you mentioned that the "friends of Father Andy" are circulating, does it call for the DA to stop with the retrials or does it call for the Archdiocese to reinstate him as an active priest? Can you speak to any cases in the past that have ended like this? Can the Archdiocese "reinstate" Father Andy?

  7. Wow, anonymous you sure ask a lot of questions. In my story about Father Andy's big gamble pays off I thought I made it clear that the D.A. made two offers.

    The first offer, made before the trial started, was if Father Andy pleaded guilty to all five charges he would get five years probation, no jail time and have to register as a sex offender under Megan's Law.

    Then, the day after the jury sent a note to the judge saying they were at an impasse, the DA made an even better offer: if Father Andy would plead guilty to the least of the five charges, corrupting the morals of a minor, he'd get four years probation, no jail time, and would not have to register as a sex offender under Megan's Law.

    The petition online doesn't deal with the archdiocese just the D.A.

    The Father James J. Brennan case is fairly similar; supposedly the D.A. will retry that one next January. The first case ended in a hung jury split 11-1 for acquittal.

    I suppose the archdiocese could reinstate Father Andy but that seems unlikely. Others may know far more about that subject than I do.

    1. I agree that Chaput is unlikely to reinstate Fr. McCormick because he was suspended from active ministry previously and Chaput doesn't need the headache that would certainly follow McCormick to another parish.

      There are two likely outcomes. McCormick will accept the fact that he's done with active ministry and go live in an archdiocesan facility or at the Jersey Shore. Or he will appeal to the Vatican for reinstatement or a church trial to determine his future once and for all.

    2. ....and this is why a retrial is necessary. As anonymous @ 3:29 states McCormick should have a church trial to determine his future once and for all, he then should be retried to establish innocence or guilt once and for all.

      McCormick can no longer hide behind the right innocent until proven guilty because some members of the jury if only one feel he is guilty.

  8. Thank you for clearing that up Ralph. I appreciate it.


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