Sunday, April 12, 2015

Archdiocese Serves Subpoena On District Attorney

Does This Man Have Anything to Hide?
By Ralph Cipriano

Here's a switch. More than a decade ago, after former District Attorney Lynne Abraham got a judge to serve multiple subpoenas on the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the archdiocese in a civil case has talked a judge into serving a subpoena on Abraham's successor, District Attorney Seth Williams.

In a lengthy investigation that preceded a groundbreaking 2005 grand jury report on the church, D.A. Abraham got a judge to approve a series of subpoenas that pried open the archdiocese's secret archive files. The files, kept under lock and key in a safe, contained some 45,000 pages of documents detailing what the grand jury described as "countless acts of sexual depravity" committed by 169 priests over four decades against hundreds of children.

But on March 12, ruling in the civil case of former altar boy "Billy Doe," Common Pleas Court Judge Jacqueline F. Allen approved the serving of a subpoena on the D.A.'s office, over the objections of the former altar boy's lawyers.

Court records don't say what the archdiocese's lawyers are seeking. But since the archdiocese has recently deposed two detectives from the D.A.'s office, it would be logical to assume that the archdiocese wants to see the D.A.'s confidential files from his flawed investigation of Billy Doe.


Billy Doe is a grand jury's pseudonym for a former altar boy who claimed when he was 10 and 11 he was raped in separate attacks by two priests and a Catholic school teacher. In two historic criminal trials in Philadelphia, Billy Doe's allegations resulted in his three alleged attackers being sentenced to jail. In addition, a fourth defendant, Msgr. William J. Lynn, became the first Catholic administrator in the country to go to jail for not properly supervising predator priests.

The current D.A.'s investigation of Doe's allegations, however, as reported on this blog, was flawed from day one. In contrast to the groundbreaking work done under D.A. Abraham, namely that 2005 grand jury report that's withstood the test of time, a subsequent grand jury report done in 2011 under D.A. Williams was so sloppy it contained more than 20 factual errors.

Under Abraham, the D.A.'s office investigated the archdiocese for years and issued multiple subpoenas, the last of which was executed in 2002, before the D.A. published the 2005 grand jury report.

In contrast, under Seth Williams, the D.A.'s office issued its flawed grand jury report in January 2011, and then, 11 months later, detectives finally got around to interviewing witnesses in the case. And what did discover? Every witness statement that I've seen, including ones from the alleged victim's mother and brother, contradict Billy Doe's allegations.

In the civil case, scheduled to go to trial Aug. 3rd, Billy Doe is seeking to cash in on his alleged pain and suffering. Named as defendants are the archdiocese, Msgr. Lynn, and the three men who went to jail for raping Billy: Father Charles Engelhardt, former priest Edward V. Avery and former Catholic school teacher Bernard Shero. Also named as a defendant in the civil suit is the late Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua.

Father Engelhardt died last November in jail after serving nearly two years of his 6-to-12 year sentence. Shero remains in jail serving 8 to 16 years, as does Avery, serving sentence of 2 1/2 to 5 years.

Msgr. Lynn was sentenced to 3 to 6 years in jail. But on Dec. 26, 2013 Lynn's conviction was overturned by the state Superior Court, which ordered him to be "discharged forthwith." More than a year later, however, the monsignor remains under house arrest on a couple of floors of a Northeast Philadelphia rectory while the state Supreme Court mulls his case.

Reporting on Billy Doe's civil case has been hampered by a voluntary confidentiality stipulation entered into by all the parties "to protect the confidentiality of medical records and other protected documents," according to the docket. Hence, the only information available on the case is what's reported on the lengthy civil docket.

Last month, Billy Doe's lawyers were thwarted in their efforts to seek summary judgment. On March 23rd, Judge Allen denied the plaintiff's motion for summary judgment against Avery. That same day, the judge denied the plaintiff's motion for summary judgment against Shero.


According to the court docket, the case has been hard fought on both sides during a prolonged discovery process.

In a 36-page motion filed Jan. 5, the archdiocese's defense lawyers opposed "plaintiff Billy Doe's omnibus motion to overrule objections and compel discovery."

"With inflammatory bluster, plaintiff accuses the Archdiocese of making 'incomplete at best' productions, thereby warranting 'appropriate sanctions,' " wrote defense lawyers James J. Rohn, Nicholas M. Centrella, Frank R. Emmerich Jr. on behalf of the archdiocese.

During the civil case, the archdiocese has turned over 472 pages of discovery and "has made comprehensive responses to the vast discovery sought by plaintiff," the defense lawyers wrote.

"Significantly, plaintiff has deposed each and every living person who served within the archdiocese's administration in the 1990s and 2000s who might have knowledge of facts responsive to plaintiff's discovery requests," the defense lawyers wrote.

During the case where the first docket entry is recorded in July 2011, ten current or former archdiocese officials have been deposed. They include retired Bishop Edward P. Cullen, the archdiocese's former vicar for administration, who was deposed for two days.

Msgr. Lynn was deposed for three days.

Father Engelhardt was interviewed twice in prison before his death. Also interviewed in jail were Shero and Avery.

During the case, the plaintiff has filed "eight separate sets of discovery requests," that according to the archdiocese's defense lawyers, constitute an "overly broad and unduly burdensome order."

The plaintiff's discovery requests included a request to "compel the archdiocese to make admissions on behalf of dead individuals such as Mgr. [James E.] Molloy who passed away on March 14, 2006," the defense lawyers wrote.

Molloy was the archdiocese's former assistant vicar for administration.

"The archdiocese has good reason not to make admissions on behalf of deceased individuals or others no longer serving with the archdiocese," the defense lawyers wrote. In their response, the defense lawyers characterized the plaintiff's discovery requests as "overly broad, unduly burdensome and irrelevant."

"The plaintiff's repeated attempts to conduct a third grand jury investigation through these civil proceedings must be rejected," the defense lawyers wrote. The "plaintiff must be foreclosed from conducting a fishing expedition."

According to the defense lawyers, during the discovery process, a "civil claim for one alleged victim" has been "transformed into an inquisition of the archdiocese's handling of sexual abuse allegations across decades."

The archdiocese has "already responded to plaintiff's 984 requests for admission served March 4 2014, the defense lawyers wrote. "Plaintiff continues to abuse the discovery process."

In her ruling on the contested discovery motions, the judge seems to have split the baby. In an order entered March 12th, the judge ruled that the plaintiff's motion to overrule defense opposition and compel discovery was "granted in part." But no further details are divulged.


While most of the depositions conducted during the civil case remain confidential, one notable exception posted on the docket is a transcript of a videotaped deposition of Avery conducted on Dec. 15, 2014, at SCI Laurel Highlands.

In the deposition, which lasted 17 minutes and was recorded on 21 pages, Avery pleaded the Fifth Amendment to every question.

A little background is in order here. On March 22, 2012, Avery pleaded guilty to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and conspiring with Msgr. Lynn to endanger the welfare of a child. At the time, the 69-year-old Avery was facing a sentence of 13 1/2 to 27 years in jail. Instead, he got 2 1/2 to 5 years.

Avery subsequently recanted his plea deal, telling a prosecutor in court that the only reason he pleaded guilty and lied about raping a child he never met was because he didn't want to die in jail.

The transcript of Avery's jailhouse interview posted on the docket reveals the following exchanges:

Q.  Do you understand that today here during this videotaped deposition you have an opportunity to tell your side of the story to the civil jury who will be watching and listening to this deposition?

A. I plead the Fifth Amendment . . .

Q. Now, if you didn't actually sexually abuse [Billy Doe] you understand that today is an opportunity for you to say that under oath?

A. I plead the Fifth Amendment . . . 

Q. Mr. Avery you used to be a Catholic priest correct?

A. Yeah, I plead the Fifth Amendment . . . 

Q. Mr. Avery, you've never been married, correct?

A. I plead the Fifth Amendment.

Q. And you've never married because you'e not sexually attracted to women, correct?

A. I plead the Fifth Amendment.

Q. Mr. Avery, you are a pedophile, aren't you?

A. A. I plead the Fifth Amendment.

Q. Sir, you are a child molester, aren't you?

A. I plead the Fifth Amendment.


  1. If Lois Lerner can be permitted to invoke her 5th Amendment rights regarding the current Administrations' persecution of conservative 501(c)3 organizations via their IRS attack dogs, why shouldn't a priest do the same?

    She still gets to collect her pension, and keep her freedom; I guess, so should he - even though rewarding lying, as the SP crowd is prone to doing, will only lead to more lying- which is bad no matter who is the perpetrator of the lie.

    Danny Gallagher is possibly about to prove that two wrongs do make a right when he is probably awarded some cath-bucks for his lying.

    Wonder how much of his Church loot-booty will go toward charitable endeavors to help real victims of abuse?

  2. If anybody did not know this was going to happen lives under a rock. A move the archdiocese is making to delay the filing of bankruptcy when Billy Doe and the other law suits such as the wrongful death suit filed by a victims mother goes to court.

    I hear cha-ching of the archdiocese cash drawer opening up to do the big pay-out.

    I still would like to know how this reporter feels that it was a flawed investigation ? Animals arrested, animals charged, animals convicted and animals sentenced. All done in a court of law with a jury of their peers. Could it be these animals feel they are above the law because they wear a white collar and these average citizens who made up the jury can no way be considered their peers ?

    Then there is the appeal process these animals are still afforded by our court system that upheld the convictions and sentencing.

    Flawed investigation ?

    One more thing. It seems Mr. Ralph Cipriano has failed to mention how his own subpoena went in this case. Maybe you wrote something and I did not see it. Let me know where I can read it.

    Have a good day.

    1. How u doing Dennis u Prick been trying to figure it out but its u stay anonymous as will i but its u Just a annoying piece of shit.

    2. If you followed this enough to know I got a subpoena you must know what I've previously written about the flawed investigation. There's usually something wrong if you issue a grand jury report first and then get around to investigating it later. And then discover everybody contradicts your star witness, including his mother and older brother. That sounds flawed to me.

    3. Are you a reporter or politician ? You still have not answered a very simple question. What was the outcome of your very own subpoena ? Have you been warned about something ? Are you on that list to be sued or was the subpoena not worth the paper it was written on ?

      Curious minds would like to know.

      Maybe we will hear from you I PLEAD THE FIFTH AMENDMENT.

    4. You're completely dishonest and on some kind of a mission yourself. We have a very strong shield law in Pennsylvania. See if you can figure out what might have happened.

    5. I believe I know the outcome, but its not my place to tell your readers. If good or bad that's your job to clear up any questions or thoughts someone has about you.

      If you prefer to be mute about the subject that's fine but you are a player in these abuse cases because of the bias you project. You truly are no different then the anti-catholics.

      No mission on my part, I sleep great at night.

    6. I'm the reporter; you're the politician. And a bad one at that.

      You're also acting suspiciously like Dennis Ecker, only you don't have the guts to put your name to your missives. The tactics are the same. You can't argue the facts, only your ideological view. So you seize upon some extraneous issue and try and use it in a campaign to discredit me.

      When the church was closing poor churches and schools in the early 90s, and the archbishop was feathering his nest by redecorating his mansion and rehabbing his seaside villa and building himself a new multimedia conference room, all in secret, I was the only reporter in town who wrote about it, much to the distress of the church.

      It was all true.

      When the secret archive files were opened, I wrote about it extensively and killed it. The DA's office used to hand out my work to explain to people what was going on.

      It was all true.

      Then came the Lynn case. I saw how fundamentally unfair it was, twisting the law so it would apply to a guy that it didn't apply to, that a previous DA and grand jury said it writing that it didn't apply to.

      Then I saw how unfair the Lynn trial was. The guy was on trial for one incident and the DA threw in 21 supplemental cases of abuse dating back to before Lynn was born. They were trying the archdiocese and the judge let them get away with it.

      It was all true.

      Then I watched the Engelhardt-Shero trial. Every reporter who covered it knew the jury made the wrong decision. Even if you believed little Billy there was too much reasonable doubt.

      Then I saw the discovery in the case, all of which contradicts Billy, and talked to people on the inside who know Billy made it all up.

      Everything that I wrote was true. Once again, I was the only guy who wrote about it. Hopefully the truth will come out, maybe even in the civil case if it goes to trial.

      The subpoena issue amounts to some lawyer trying to go through a back door to get around the shield law and force a reporter to give up his sources. The judge in the case has supposedly told the lawyer this isn't going anywhere. And nothing's happened since, although you're trying to turn this into some secret scandal.

      Nice try. Now on to your next irrelevant issue.

    7. We should question the productiveness of responding to every insane and/or defamatory claim from the slithering types that periodically emerge only to spew their Anonymous venom. The bigots red herrings will not distract those of us looking for the truth.

      There is some good info being provided here. Only those in league with the liars and scammers persecuting the Church would attempt to discourage full disclosure of those crimes by attempting to disparage reportage that clearly goes against the prevailing insidious culture.

      Danny Gallagher and his fellow slimy peers and family of Anons must have a lot of time on their hands while they impatiently await the arrival of their good ship "Lootypop".

    8. Yo Ralph, did someone wake up on the wrong side of the bed.

      No matter,, check the attitude at the door. Show some sort of professionalism.

      Dennis Ecker ? No. Do I know the man ? Yes But who I am I will let you and your readers keep on guessing or until you remove the anonymous selection since there are plenty of cowards that seem to post to your blog. Mr. Ecker must of left some type of mark on this blog since you are now the second person who has mentioned his name and seem kind of pissed.

      I have one other question. Did your subpoena have to do with medical records you obtained that did not become part of public record after the trial ? Records that may have been past on to you illegally ? Disregarding patient confidentiality laws.

    9. Ralph - this individual likes to play games. how about a guessing game? name that person. whoever it is will never give up their name we all know that. Seems they have some inside knowledge though that would have not gotten out with the gag order in place.

      My guess is James Gallagher Jr.

    10. Slade McLaughlin

  3. What did Winston Churchill say during WW2? "Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."

    Let's sincerely hope that this will lead to a thorough investigation of the 'indict before investigate' District Attorney's office and ultimately the vindication of those who have been falsely accused and unjustly imprisoned.

    I wonder if Mariana Sorensen, the author of the so called 'intellectually dishonest' Grand Jury Report has received (or will receive) a subpoena? IMHO, she's pivotal in this whole farce.

  4. Well he.s been sent for but im sure the shredder is working overtime.

  5. One question begging to be answered is has "Bily Doe" and his best friend been deposed by the deadling of a judge who warned that if they did not show up on time, their case would be thrown out the window?

    Another thing, Englehardt died in prison while his case was under appeal, one of our anons said that abatement ws the best strategy to clean his record (expungement) of the charges against him. Has this been done or what?

    State Supreme Court seems to be in a flux given the rsignation of Seamus McCafferty. Are they up to speed in reading appeals filed from all points of the state? I refer to the Msgr Lynn appeal.

  6. Dan Gallagher should be deposing his own family for the real reason for his bad habits/drug abuse.

    1. Dontcha know, its always someone else's fault when you become 'gay' (or LBGTQXUYTVFDSEO....) , drug or alcohol addicted, child abuser, rapist, divorced, unemployable, ugly, short, fat, stupid, old, and any other characteristic or trait for which you have determined you should be compensated by society (especially those too few of us who actually pay taxes) or the Catholic Church.

      While the Al Sharpton's of this diseased ideology go after public funds, we have their mirror image in the anti-Catholic crowd here that do the very same pick-pocketing of the Church's piggybanks- for the very same reason- which is the lame leftist ideology that steals from the good to give to the bad.

  7. Do we have a price tag for the archdiocesan legal fees that the archdiocesan parishioners are subsidizing in these matters?

    1. Why are the costs to the Archdiocese or any parishioners (you presume much here Einstein) your business?

      Will you worry about any of the Church's settlement costs going out to pay fraudulent accusers?

      Will you worry about the costs of a corrupt government to the taxpayers who must pay for their prosecutorial misconduct?

      Isn't there an old abandoned trail out there somewhere where you can finally meet the tree of your dreams?

    2. I applaud this judge for running a trial in a fair an impartial manner, a judge who from all appearances is actually looking for the truth and not merely accepting the pack of lies and multiple stories of abuse as told by Danny Gallagher.....

      summary judgments, my ass.........they might ultimately prevail but I hope those archdiocesan defense lawyers continue their assault on the DA's office to flush out their files, at least those that haven't been shredded yet

      .....depose them all, every one of them, active, retired and be sure to include Lynne Abraham(DA at the time that allegation was first made by Danny Gallagher, January, 2009), retired ADA Charlie Gallagher and retired detective Joe Walsh amongst the group....and dont' forget Sorenson who handwrote that grand jury report along with the bloodbank queen, Renee Cardwell Hughes.....

    3. Speaking of 'Snapdoodle' Hughes, did you know that the bar association apparently never disbarred her for altering that trial transcript?

  8. Yo, Jae

    " Why are the costs to the Archdiocese or any parishioners (you presume much here Einstein) your business? "

    Life-long Philadelphia Catholic asking the question.

    1. so take it to the archdiocese if you want to find out capt. mike

    2. Yo, SkiBum- so then don't contribute your weekly quarter to the Sunday collection basket.

      You should be more concerned about your taxes that were wasted on Williams' and his predecessors and cohorts bigoted career moves.

      Unless you don't pay taxes (presumed).

  9. This is OUR CHURCH, isn't it? Shouldn't WE, THE PARISHIONERS have an accounting of how the money is being spent, particularly on an effort (defending abuse allegations) that is very expensive and time consuming?

    Wait a minute, Jae. Don't pay taxes???? I still have two more days until April 15th.

    1. I am sure your parish publishes its annual financial statement, just as any other religious organization, all far less targeted that our Church, is required to do. If you have doubts about how your contributions are expended, stop contributing, no one forces you to ante up.

      Now, paying your taxes, so that Williams and his and his fellow bigots can steal from and malign our Church's resources, well, that's a real 'taxation' (persecution) problem now, isn't it?

      I hope that you are more loyal to your family than you are to your Church-

  10. Great article Ralph!! Keep up the great reporting. Ashame the inky are a bunch a puppets and a media outlet for the DA.

  11. There is some good info being provided here. Only those in league with the liars and scammers persecuting the Church would attempt to discourage full disclosure of those crimes by attempting to disparage reportage that clearly goes against the prevailing insidious culture.

    I want to see the truth also. But Jae take your foot out of your mouth. Did you not reread what you wrote. "Only those in league with the liars and scammers." or "would attempt to discourage full disclosure of crimes".


  12. No Dennis, I mean Anon@4:02- you just distorted and twisted my words to fit your lies-the very same way all you bigots distort all truths. Now that you don't like what BT is reporting, because it flies in the ugly face of your ideology, you want to attack the veracity of the reports or their author.

    Live with the truth- which is what you and all the other bigots who let your morally and logically bankrupt ideology and your hatred for the Catholic Church, and which put innocents in jail -and worse, and then rewarded liars, junkies and others who had visions of (others) dollars dancing around in their shrunken heads, will have to do - just live with it.

    Only an imbecile has to try make his (highly invalid) point in all caps. Grow up.

  13. Now I know why I walked away from this blog a few months ago...........Where did they get this guy, JAE?

    1. Jae is the same guy that sees your anti-Catholic posts on virulently anti-Catholic blogs.

      But, I give you more credit than I do to all the 'Anons'- at least you're willing to identify yourself with a pseudonym.

      Don't worry about who you think I am- just focus on the facts. Are there any facts (or evidence) that support the prosecution or condemnation of the men (forget that they are Catholic priests) accused of sexual abuse by Danny Gallagher?

      Do you support this distortion and abuse of the best legal system in the world - just to grind your ax against Catholics?

      If your father, brother or son were similarly accused, same 'victim', same evidence, same testimony, same DA, would you support this prosecution?

  14. Rev. The world is living with the truth. You, your church and fellow clergy members tortured and raped innocent children. Children who showed complete respect. Only for that respect to be taken advantage of while children cried and begged for the horror to be over.

    Then when these victims came forward it was once again your church who attempted to make them out as liars and distort and twist their words as you like to say and protect the abuser.

    You and your boo hoo hoo stories are going on deaf ears. Your ranting about putting innocents in jail does not even compare to destroying the innocents of a 8 year old.

    Call me anti-Catholic or a bigot I GAIN STRENGTH FROM IT. I"M PROUD OF IT.

  15. Ralph works for a law firm. He is not unbiased. He has an agenda.

    1. Yeah- unlike the DA, Judges and anti-Catholic torchbearers are 'unbiased' and have an 'agenda'.

      What does the BT website sponsor have to do with accurate (fact-based) reporting, or the case?

      Do you have evidence to dispute the reporting here?

      Do you know what evidence is?

      Here's an extrapolation of your illogic: "Ralph works for a law firm. That law firm once defended an accused rapist. Therefore, Ralph is a rapist."

      And, these are the same geniuses condemning men to prison, and worse.


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