Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Archdiocese Of Philadelphia Settles With Billy Doe

Held Up By A Hustler
By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

The archdiocese caved; Billy Doe got paid.

That's the depressing bottom line in the civil case of Doe v. Archdiocese of Philadelphia et al, according to multiple sources.

On the court docket today, Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Jacqueline F. Allen dismissed both a motion for partial summary judgment filed by the former altar boy, and a motion for summary judgment filed by the archdiocese, as "moot," because both parties had "settled all claims . . . in the instant matter."

The settlement is confidential. As part of the settlement, Msgr. William J. Lynn, the archdiocese's former secretary for clergy, was dismissed as a defendant in the civil case, according to sources. Billy Doe's civil lawyers had also sued the estate of the late Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua, the former archbishop of Philadelphia, but that claim too was settled, according to the court docket.

A trial in the civil case had been scheduled for Nov. 9th. Three defendants who had supposedly sexually assaulted the former altar boy remain in the civil case as defendants: former priest Edward V. Avery, the late Father Charles Engelhardt, and former Catholic teacher Bernard Shero. The trio of alleged assailants were the defendants at two historic criminal trials. Avery pleaded guilty on the eve of the first trial in 2012; the following year Engelhardt and Shero were convicted by a jury in the second trial on sex charges and sent to jail.

The heavyweight in the civil case has always been the archdiocese, the defendant with the deepest pockets. A spokesperson for Archbishop Charles Chaput, who would have had to approve the settlement, did not respond to a request for comment.

Thanks to the archbishop, the civil case is most likely over. Unless the state Supreme Court responds to Hail Mary-type legal appeals filed on behalf of the late Engelhardt and Shero, the criminal convictions will stand. And the civil trial in November may become just a forum for a jury to decide how much more in damages should be awarded to the plaintiff.

"Billy Doe" is a grand jury's pseudonym for the former altar boy turned heroin addict who told an incredible and constantly-evolving story about supposedly being raped by two priests and a school teacher.

In normal times, Billy would have been laughed out of the D.A.'s office on the face of his ridiculous allegations. But in this case, District Attorney Seth Williams wanted to make prosecutorial history. He wanted to become the first district attorney in the country to put a Catholic administrator behind bars for transferring known priestly abusers from one clerical assignment to another.

And Billy Doe's crazy stories were one of only two cases that fit into the statute of limitations.

Even people in the D.A.'s office knew that Doe wasn't a credible witness. He'd been kicked out of two high schools and had been in and out of 23 drug rehabs. He was arrested six times as an adult, including one bust for possession with intent to distribute 56 bags of heroin. He had a long track record of lying to doctors, social workers and law enforcement authorities.

One high-ranking official in the D.A.'s office even confirmed that people in his office agreed with a defense lawyer's characterization of Billy Doe as a "lying sack of shit."

Records back that up. According to medical records gathered for the civil case, Doe at first told his drug counselors that he had "no history of physical or sexual abuse."

Then, according to those records, Billy told his many drug counselors that he was: sexually abused at 6 by a friend; sexually abused at 7 by a teacher; sexually abused or raped at 8 by an unknown assailant; sexually abused or raped at 9 by an unknown assailant; and sexually abused again at 9 by a 14-year-old family friend.

It was, as one defense lawyer, wrote, an ongoing "fantasy of sexual abuse." And that was before Billy told the district attorney he was raped at 10 by two priests, and at 11 by a school teacher.

To make matters worse, the stories that Billy Doe told were constantly changing.

At first, Billy told two archdiocese social workers that after a 6:30 a.m. Mass, Father Engelhardt had supposedly attacked him in the church sacristy, locking all four doors, stripping himself naked, and forcing the boy to have oral sex. Then, according to Billy, the priest flipped Billy over and pounded away at him with five hours of brutal anal sex. After it was over, Billy claimed, the priest threatened to kill him if he told anybody about it.

Billy had originally claimed that Father Avery "punched him in the head" and knocked him unconscious. When Billy woke up, he claimed he was naked and that the priest had tied him up with altar sashes. Avery then supposedly then raped Billy anally so brutally that he "bled for a week."

Billy had originally claimed that teacher Bernard Shero had punched him in the face and attempted to strangle him by wrapping a seatbelt around his neck before he supposedly raped Billly in the back sat of Shero's car.

But when Billy Doe told his story of abuse to the police and grand jury, all that anal sex, the death threat, the punch in the head from Avery, the punch in the face from Shero, the claims about being tied up naked with altar sashes and strangled with a seat belt, all those details were dropped from Billy's stories.

Instead, Billy told a completely new tale about oral sex and mutual masturbation with his alleged assailants, complete with brand new story lines about Father Engelhardt supposedly showing him pornography and serving him altar wine, and Father Avery forcing Billy to perform a strip tease to music.

Billy's lack of credibility was accompanied by an law enforcement investigation compromised from day one, because the D.A., against the usual office policy, had allowed Billy's father, a Philadelphia police sergeant, and Billy's mother, a nurse, to sit in on the D.A.'s interview with Billy, who was an adult.

A subsequent grand jury report had more than 20 factual errors in it. And when the D.A. finally got around to investigating the case, nearly two years after the grand jury report was published, what did the D.A.'s own detectives discover? That just about every witness they interviewed, including Billy's own mother and brother, contradicted Billy's stories.

But on the eve of trial, Avery pleaded guilty to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child, and conspiring with Msgr. Lynn to endanger the welfare of a child.

Avery, then 69, was facing a sentence of 13 1/2 to 27 years; instead, he got a sweetheart deal, 2 1/2 to 5 years. Avery subsequently recanted his confession, testifying in court that he had lied and taken the plea bargain because he didn't want to die in jail.

In settling the case, the archdiocese's lawyers apparently decided that they couldn't get around Avery's plea bargain. Or the criminal convictions of the other two defendants left in the civil case.

There's a voluntary confidentiality stipulation in the civil case that has effectively silenced all the participants. Lawyers for the archdiocese could not be reached for comment.

Engelhardt, 67, died in jail last November after serving nearly two years of a 6 to 12 years sentence. He had been convicted of endangering the welfare of a child, corruption of a minor and indecent assault.

Engelhardt's estate remains a defendant in the civil case. On the court docket today, Judge Allen denied Billy Doe's motion to overrule Engelhardt's objections to the plaintiff's document requests.

Shero, 51, was sentenced to 8 to 16 years in jail after he was convicted by a jury of the rape of a child, attempted rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child, endangering the welfare of a child, corruption of a minor, and indecent assault.

Reacting to the news of the settlement, Bonnie Shero, the defendant's mother, said she couldn't believe how it just keeps getting worse.

"We all feel the injustice of everything that's happened since day one," she said about the case. "Now for [Doe] to have all this money, to do what? I feel terrible about it. We never thought the archdiocese would cave and give him the money."

Both Engelhardt and Shero lost appeals in Superior Court, and have since appealed their criminal convictions to state Supreme Court, where the success rate is less than 10 percent.

Another recent legal factor going against the archdiocese was the state Supreme Court's recent reversal of an earlier Superior Court reversal of Msgr. Lynn's original conviction. The monsignor was convicted on one count of endangering the welfare of a child, namely Billy Doe.

In Lynn's original trial, the trial judge allowed the prosecution to drag in 21 supplemental cases of sex abuse in the archdiocese, dating back to 1948, three years before Lynn was born.

The state Superior Court had ruled that the state's original child endangerment law did not apply to Lynn, a conclusion that a previous district attorney, Lynne Abraham, and a previous grand jury, had already stated in writing.

But the state Supreme Court reversed the reversal, and blasted Lynn and the archdiocese.

In their opinion, the state Supreme Court described Lynn as the "point man" regarding allegations of sex abuse by the clergy. It was Lynn's job to protect the welfare of children, the state Supreme Court said. Instead, Lynn took no actions to ensure children's safety. It was part of a pattern by the monsignor under the administration of Cardinal Bevilacqua, the court said.

Lynn "suppressed complaints and concerns by the colleagues" of abusive priests such as Avery, the Supreme Court stated. And when contacted by law enforcement in cases involving abusive priests, Lynn "misrepresented facts to thwart their investigation of these priests and their crimes," the Supreme Court wrote.

In such a legal climate, the archdiocese apparently decided that rather than risk a long trial, some bad publicity and a big jury verdict, it was time to pay up.

So it was a pragmatic decision made by a bunch of lawyers and an archbishop playing the numbers. Predictably, it was done under cover of darkness, as have all the sinister deeds in this case beginning with the political calculations of the district attorney and that so-called "investigation" of the grand jury.

Unfortunately in this case, from start to finish, truth was always the first casualty.

Catholics ought to protest the settlement. And everyone associated with it should be ashamed of themselves.

Especially the archbishop, who just signed off on a pack of lies. When the truth would have set everyone free.


  1. may Danny Gallagher put the money up his arm where it belongs....

  2. Very sad news. Hard to believe that the Archdiocese gave in to this. Hopefully, it is not because the Pope is coming to Philadelphia. I have been following this case over the past several years. All I can say is that several people will have to answer to the real true Judge. Remember we all have to answer to Him. Avery, Billy Doe, Seth, Sarmina, Avery who took the plea deal & destroyed anyone getting a fair trial. Billy Doe who stories had so many holes in it & so many missed it. Seth who was so eager to get a conviction he didn't care how or who. Sarmina to use her power in the courtroom is such a vicious manner. We had a faithful Priest die in Prison, another Good Priest spending his days there. A teacher who looked like a easy target spending time in Prison. As I see it the entire case was truly forgotten about the innocent victims that truly were abused. That is what is so discouraging about this entire case. What people will do for money and glory. Very sad..............

    1. "What people will do for money and glory." Kind of sounds like the Archdiocese although you don't mention any Archdiocese officials in your list of people who will answer to Him.

  3. So... the Archdiocese refused to take a principled stand in regards to "Billy Doe" and decided to "settle" the case rather than risk the loss of more money. What does this tell us about this fine "Christian" organization? It is never about truth, principles, and justice with these people, it is ALWAYS about the money. That the Archdiocese would rather give money to "Billy Doe" than take a stand on it's vaunted values, would rather pay money to "Billy Doe" than stand up and loudly and repeatedly tell the truth and reiterate their innocence, says everything about them. If everything"bad" ever said about "Billy Doe" is correct, what does it say about the organization that would still rather pay him MORE money that face him in court with all of their righteous indignation? Their faith in their "God" must really be lacking if they refuse to take a stand, rely on "God," and let the chips fall where they may. The reader above is correct... although not in the way imagined. A more correct statement would be "...What people (and organizations) will do with money(and the truth...) to maintain the illusion of glory.

    1. Prosecutors that get defendants to plead guilty to a crime they did not commit, are selling the soul of our country as well as their own. Who will be left to stand up for America when our own government won't stand up for us. Doing the right thing starts at home, in schools in the workplace and in the courtroom. The government should be a good example for the people, not a vicious, winner takes all at any price government. The media should be taking note of this behavior, instead of taking directions from the prosecutors.

  4. In civil court, there is no admission of liability. A settlement paid does not mean that the church admits to wrongdoing on its part or that wrongdoing happened. Everybody knows Billy Doe lacks any credibility while on the stand and that is a fact. I am assuming the church has liability coverage and its insurer apparently decided it was well worth it paying off Billy Doe a reasonable settlement than to go to trial where they could end up paying much more than what they just paid off now. Lawyers for Billy Doe could have given the Archdiocese a hefty discount and after much haggling, they agreed on a sum the insurer was willing to pay.

    Two things we could read into it. One is the lawyers for Billy Doe are tired of representing a client who will only make a fool out of himself in a trial setting during civil court. The upcoming visit by the Pope may well be a minor thing as the Archdiocese wanted to get this matter cleaned up before the Pope visits. A charitable donor could have contributed some money to add to the settlement with a condition that the two priests and a teacher be released from prison immediately.

    Second thing, there may well be in play a complex maneuvering plan in place to spring out Lynn, Shero and Avery from prison and the DA may well be wiling to consider this as a means to clean off his own plate. A request by both the Archdiocese and the DA could be made to Judge Sarmina to order the release of two priests and a teacher from prison and she would almost certainly approve this since the Doe case was settled civil court. Even better would be the judge to order their criminal records expunged of all of the charges levied against them.

    Were all of this to happen to Shero, Avery and Lynn and were Sarmina to concur with this, it would go a long way toward helping to clean up Sarmina's reputation.

    I have no reason to believe that the Archdiocese paid off Billy Doe as a way to apologize for his "treatment" at the hands of abusive priests and teacher or to appear contrite before the Pope but to angle for the immediate release of the three priests and teacher from prison. I believe they explored every angle of this with the DA and found common ground to be sure that such a release was possible if Billy Doe was paid off. Plus a reasonable settlement from Doe's lawyers and that was it.

    If this is not as it was scripted to happen, then I will conclude the Archdiocese or perhaps Chaput himself was foolish enough to ignore and overrule their lawyers and went out to settle. Only a fool would do something like that to give money to a non-credible accuser without getting something in return.

    In the final analysis, I will say that the whole sage by the DA against the Archdiocese was a desperate attempt to find someone responsible for the suffering of children decades past and the statute of limitations having barring any successful prosecutor of alleged abusers. They had nobody to charge but with the exception of Lynn due to the SOL enabling prosecution of him as Billy Doe's case was within the SOL. Plus, finding an judge like Sarmina who let hundreds of victims testify against Lynn about their abuses suffering decades past (something no other judge would have done and would have simply struck out such testimony from the trial record with the exception of Sarmina!). Thus, it was this case or nothing at all for victims to speak out.Lessons have been learned. Changes have been made to protect children. Policies have been drawn to keep children from getting too close to teachers. Yet we still have teachers in public schools arrested for sexual misconduct - more women than men. Vigilance must be the word to protect children. One more thing, what Billy Doe did to fabricate a false case of abuse did far more damage to victims of abuse who were not able to get justice due to the SOL.

    One thing is for sure, Billy Doe will have his chance to meet his maker deep in hell.

    1. Wow, I actually read this whole thing and here we have another commenter talking about people meeting their maker and failing to include the people who committed these crimes and covered them up. Even if you don't think this particular set of crimes happened, do you think that a whole bunch of other crimes against children did occur and that the criminals who committed them and covered them up will also be meeting their maker?

  5. One possible scenario after Billy Doe's civil settlement is for immediate bail granted for two priests and a teacher who will be freed from prison and allowed to be with their families (no in house confinement with ankle monitors). Then a future trial date when a judge (Sarmina probably) will end the case by taking a defense motion to dismiss the charges to render the defendants free.

    This will probably happen in October, long after the Pope has left Philadelphia.

    1. @anonymous - wishful thinking as this will regrettably never happen.

      Williams, Sarmina and Ceisler won't concede an inch and will move on with their careers - - unblemished. After all, the juries found the defendants guilty, right?? They'll probably all be regarded as heroes in putting away child molesters.

      By engaging in this civil settlement, Chaput has effectively thrown Lynn, Avery, Shero and (the deceased) Engelhardt under the proverbial ecclesiastical bus.

      In the face of all of Billy Doe's incredibly shifting and absurd testimonies, and the sheer lack of any corroborating physical evidence, this is tantamount to tacitly affirming that the AD regards them all guilty as charged.

      Father Avery was vilified for pleading out to something he just didn't do. IMHO, Chaput did much the same (but on a much grander scale) by rewarding Doe and his lawyers. The AD had an excellent chance to defend themselves in the upcoming civil trial, but they too copped a plea. Shame, shame on them!

      I'm going to write to Chaput about this with a copy to the Pope. Maybe His Holiness will listen to reason.

      This is a cowardly miscarriage of justice at the expense of the many parishioners who have graciously supported the Archdiocese of Philadelphia over the years.

      Even worse, it sends an awful signal to other false claimants with ridiculous statements who want to dip into the church's deep pockets, as well.

      I wonder if Chaput and the others at 222 considered these possible ramifications to the Catholic Church in North America???

    2. HAHAHAHA!!!! More hand-wringing, wailing, and gnashing of teeth among the "faithful." The Archdiocese has decided to give "Billy Doe" even MORE money rather than publicly contest these charges. There is no "secret deal" pending to let pedophile priests out of jail early... no magic solution freeing the "beast" (Lynn) that facilitated much of the sexual abuse of innocent children... no will at all from the Bishop leading the archdiocese to stand firm in defense of his priests. Some will make excuses ("...it's just a civil settlement..." or ",,.so what if we gave even MORE money to Billy Doe, it doesn't mean he's not lying..."), some will moan, but most don't care. If a religious organization would rather give money to "Billy Doe" than stand for the truth or defend it's priests from "slander and lies" it says more about their character than "Billy Doe's."

    3. It will happen as no one will front up settlement money for a hole in a napkin. No one likes to pay and get nothing in exchange. If it is found that the Archdiocese used its own money to pay off Billy Doe against the advice of its attorneys who wanted to fight the case in civil court and kill Billy Doe on the witness stand like they did at the deposition, I will stop donating money to my church and thousands of other Catholics will feel deeper revulsion against the church for paying off Billy Doe because he told fantastic stories on the witness stand that changed each time he told them. Certainly, Chaput knows this well and how it would damage the church's relationship with its flock once they realize how impotent Chaput was.

      That is why the Archdiocese carries liability insurance and that is why they went to their insurer to handle Billy Doe's case. And it was the insurance company who decided it was far much cheaper to pay off Billy Doe than to litigate the case in civil court. Most likely, insurance company took a smell of the judicial system and the DA and found how corrupt it was when it handled the church abuse cases and this read convinced them that a settlement was better than going to trial, pending the receptiveness of Billy Doe's attorneys who were getting tired of defending him. Even the DA and his minions knew he was a lying stack of shit and laughed at that.

      Take a look at Lynn's pending appeal, the settlement sunk any chances of him getting his case heard in a new trial or even a release ordered by Commonwealth Court if the DA can simply run to his good friend who is chief justice of the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court to order him put back in jail. Henceforth, before paying any money to Billy Doe, the Archdiocese would want something in return and that is the release of two priests and a teacher still in jail because of Billy Doe's false trumped allegations. That is what would perk the DA's interest in cleaning up a mess of his own creation.

      Any amount of money paid to Billy Doe will be totally worthless in a few years when he wastes much of it on needless junk, including junk injected into his veins. Billy Doe has no future of any kind, no friends he can rely on and will be left to fend for himself once his parents pass on. No one will want to be in the position Billy Doe is in right now whether enriched by the settlement or not enriched at all.

      Nothing to laugh at and nothing to wring hands on and gnashing of teeth among the faithful. Cold hard facts make the case, my friend.



    Words used by Ralph Cipriano to describe the settlement and ending of a nightmare for Billy Doe after he was raped and abused by two Archdiocese of Philadelphia priests and a Archdiocese of Philadelphia school teacher and another priest who facilitated the abuse to happen. All who are still serving prison sentences after being convicted in a court of law except for one of the abusers Charles Engelhardt who died in prison.

    May Billy Doe and his family be able to put closure to the horrific events this young man had to endure at such a young age.

    .....and may this bring peace as we forget those convicted and pray for those who will fill their shoes will learn from their mistakes and have better moral character.

    1. Events that had no evidence except of the imagination of a drug addict and comment from an individual whose only purpose in life was to get his own payout from the archdiocese and now considers the youth of philadelphia as the following from a comment he made on themediarepot.com:

      The archdiocese and the city have gone to far. From closing of roads that will restrict people from getting into their own homes, closing of the Ben Franklin Bridge, and now the Philadelphia Schools requesting to close additional days have pissed off alot of people. Removal of school days to the already dumb kids of Philadelphia does not sound like a smart move, and the little hoodlums would be most likely be the ones who cause any trouble. I see some lawsuits after the pope is long gone because of all the lost revenue.

    2. Dumb kids of philadelphia and little hoodlums......

  7. ......and BL what's your point ? C'mon did I offend you ? Is one of your kids the dumb ones in Philly I speak of or a hoodlum ?

    I'm disappointed in you BL at least you could have given me credit for writing that comment on the media report, my name is on it. I have been given credit here before for things I never even wrote.

    .....and how did your center of attention BL come my way when Ralph's article is about Billy Doe and the millions he will collect and how Chaput gave up. Good thing though there was no out for his abusive priests,

    I am flattered you remember my comments so much but I can't take all the credit. I remember what a reporter told me once about one not having to be Hemingway.

    1. Billy Doe collected not millions, but pennies on the dollar. Why would you pay a drug addled addict millions to live the good life based on a series of changeable lies told on the witness stand that varied day by day he told them? Why would you cave in to a settlement without getting something back in return which would be the immediate release of two priests and a teacher who were victims of his lies on the witness stand/ More will happen in coming weeks AFTER the Pope leaves Philadelphia.

      No such charity and no one cares for Billy Doe. No one of us would want to live the usel3ess life he now lives, millions or nothing.

      Just hard cold facts, my friend.

  8. Wow...no surprise here, bash, attack degrade the victim. Scare others from wanting to come forward. It doesn't matter that one priest was accused or convicted of abusing a different victim, or that a priest and teacher could have molested a child or that a Monsignor who should have protected children instead of an institution, either plead guilty or were convicted, nor does it matter that the Archdiocese of Philly just paid a settlement to ensure the case doesn't go to trial where the whole truth of the matter would certainly be exposed.

    No...forget all that, this man who was so badly abused as a young boy, like countless other victims has been struggling all his life so let's pick him apart. Shame on all this ignorance and down right deception from the writer and some who have posted here. It sounds very much like sour grapes but worse than that...the real intent here is most likely to ensure that others who may have been harmed never step forward.

    1. Billy Doe asked to be deposed, asked to be a witness and told all those fantastic stories that changed day to day. He was lucky to have Judge Sarmina and Ceisler who put three priests and a teacher in jail for him. Nobody believes in the changeable stories he told as he continued to perjure himself on the stand protected by those two judges. Settlements are always paid BEFORE the civil trial starts - what the victim asks and what they will get will be much less than what they had hoped to get. Billy Doe was ruthlessly slammed at depositions and the same would have happened to him at the civil trial who would be held under ANOTHER judge, not Sarmina and Ceisler.

      To tell you the truth, Billy Doe hurt the cases of many victims who were unable to bring criminal charges because the SOL expired. He was only in this for himself and the twelve pieces of silver he took without a care for the victims of such abuse speaks volumes.

  9. Either a judge or jury decided that Billy Doe was telling the truth. That's our system of justice.

    1. Both judges refused to approve defense motions to strike down Billy Doe's unreliable testimony and the lineup of many past abuse victims who recounted their tales of abuse even such which occurred BEFORE Lynn was appointed to the post. Judge Sarmina refused to dismiss one charge against Lynn numerous times. Both judges helped pollute the collective jury decision making process to ensure that a guilty verdict was agreed on.

      Our system of justice is for the fair application of justice in a trial in which the judge acts as an impartial arbitrator during trial deliberations by both the defense and the prosecution instead of a favoritism toward the prosecution over the defense and the refusal to approve defense motions to strike down testimony irrelevant to the case and the charges levied against the defendants.

      No other judge other than Sarmina and Ceisler would have done what Sarmina and Ceisler did during the trial. Our system of justice is designed to be fair and impartial to all parties involved in the proceedings, not run trials like kangaroo courts as is done in third world countries.

    2. @anonymous - sorry, but but this is unfortunately not likely to happen. I wish it would, but it just won't. From Rufus on down, the criminal justice system in Philadelphia is flawed and will only be corrected whenever (if ever) a thorough apolitical investigation is launched. As Kate Smith might say 'fat chance'.

      We were hoping that Doe's testimony at the upcoming civil trial would be so incredible that his claim would have been summarily dismissed which undoubtedly would have helped Lynn, Avery, Engelhardt and Shero in their own quests for justice.

      However, Chaput's sudden, inexplicable and (in my mind) unconscionable decision to virtually surrender and summarily settle this case - without even firing a shot no less - guillotined this possibility forever.

      This regrettable decision also tells men considering a vocation that future AD priests cannot expect any financial help from the AD as they will be expected to fund their own legal defenses against all molestation complaints, bogus or not.

      And we were always led to believe that the bishop was a father figure to his priests.....

    3. There is no justice, if you are indicted by the federal prosecutors office or the District Attorneys office, you are guilty, the media runs with the accusations ruining a defendants chance for a fair trial. Accusations of prior wrongs committed by others i.e priest scandal, public corruptions cases, help to produce a conviction for the prosecutors . The prosecutors are the fair haired children of the judges, the jury sides with the prosecution , because a prosecutor or an FBI agent would never lie , or distort the facts or hide evidence that could help clear a defendant. Grand juries should be abolished, or allow the defendants attorney to sit in on all proceedings. Prosecutors are in the job to find fault ,not to help a defendant be found innocent, what ever they need to do to incriminate the victim they will do . I know first hand the multitude of lies that are told to produce an indictment, after that is easy, lie to the jury, have the media spread the lies, have the defendant plead guilty to something. They win.
      I cant image a more heinous profession than a prosecutor, one that hides behind the name of the federal government , inventing crimes and imprisoning the innocent , all to further their careers. I believe I will meet my maker one day and have to answer for my sins, obviously prosecutors must think they are exempt, the way they are here in this lifetime, thanks to the judicial system.

  10. Fired employees are usually thrown under the bus. This happens more often than necessary. No boss is your friend. Chaput has no friends in the AD. He is very weak and easily bullied into submission. Most likely, he was ordered by Rome to make the problem go away and he paid a settlement with AD funds from an unknown source (not Rome!) as the AD struggles with financial issues each day. A look at the AD's future 2015 990 form will reveal nothing about the settlements.

    I hope that the two surviving priests, Avery and Lynn will be granted parole as they have served most of their sentence (Lynn's prison time can easily be credited to house arrest if they are willing to do so). No objection from the DA and parole easily granted by the parole board for one year before they will be free to resume their lives. Billy Doe's settlement was a result of secret negotiations for months until the Doe team became reasonable to facilitate the settlement. Source of funds is up to the imagination as Rome would not pay for this. Many people donated 45M to the WMOF event that preceded the papal visit.

  11. Good news. Maybe we'll hear even better news that Ralph just might go off on a tear against the Archdiocese which was the problem from the get-go. You're a little late, Ralph, but better late than never. Just think, maybe you can get all your supporters here to march up to the Archbishop's door and bang on it and demand to know what happened. Oops, forgot, your supporters would never have the guts to do that. They're only willing to go after judges, juries, D.A.s, families of victims, and anyone else who had no role in committing these crimes and covering them up. Do them a favor, Ralph. Show them what real guts can do. Go after the Archbishop. Let's see if your supporters drop you like a lead balloon if you actually go after the source. Or you could keep stoking these whiners because they did make you pretty popular after all.

    1. @sarahTX2 - hi there. I'm one of Ralph's supporters and am going to write to both Chaput and to the Pope about the way that this was handled. As far as I know, they had the 'goods' on Doe and an excellent chance to trip him up in civil court. They also have a fine (and probably expensive) legal team. Looks like - for whatever reason - they wimped out.

    2. Honestly, I think the defense counsel in all the cases were pretty lame. This result isn't even close to surprising compared to the defense counsel that somehow allowed Avery to take the stand to recant his guilty plea. I never had the feeling that the defense counsel was especially aggressive, any of them. Some of them didn't even take depositions or issue subpoenas when any other defense counsel most likely would have.

      I hope you'll post your letter here, or some part of it, because there were two stories here. One story about the progress of these cases, and another story about the Archdiocese's handling or not handling of all these matters, I guess you would call that the back story. There could be a back story here more illuminating than even the Boston Globe Spotlight thing. Or not. I just hate the fact that people in Philadelphia who committed no crimes against children got lambasted for acting as judges and juries and came to their own conclusions what with all the evidence that a bunch of crimes against children definitely did take place in their midst. What a hard job. To be in the spotlight in that way.

      Thanks for writing to Chaput and the Pope. Whatever you write, I hope it reaches your addressee. Letters are way more powerful than comments on a blog and I sure do commend you.

  12. SarahTX2, nobody in this town was on the archdiocese before I was. It was back in 92 and 93 and I believe the whole saga is online still.

    1. I do remember reading about that. And I remember it was heroic. That's why I couldn't understand letting them off the hook throughout this series of cases and going after people who didn't commit any crimes against children but instead had to perform their jobs as judges, jurors, prosecutors, investigators, etc. the best they could, all while knowing what everyone else knows that dozens of children were sexually abused in this Archdiocese. I do acknowledge and commend you for the tremendous work you did back then.

    2. SarahTX2 use caution when patting the back of journalist Ralph Cipriano on the back. I am not saying Ralph the human being is a bad guy, If there was ever two people who butted heads in this case it was him and me, and I have to say away from this blog I was treated with respect and fairness. However, when it came to Ralph the journalist things changed. When he put that hat on he seems to catch the disease tunnel vision syndrome a closed minded, one way of looking at things especially when it came to any case involving clergy sexual abuse. I have to give him credit though even with that dreaded disease he was able to gain a following like the piped piper. The guy with his flute and his old school catholics following right behind him. I don't think I have enough years on this earth to begin counting how many times he attacked Billy Doe. Sure, Billy may have been a drug addict and or drug dealer and may not have lived his life as we would have liked. But in all the time I have been reading this blog not once has he done a story from a victims side. He has led his little mice to believe the actions by Billy were wrong and although they were wrong if he investigated side effects of sexual abuse would have learned his (Billy) behavior is normal. Drug use, risky behavior, depression, suicide and in the worst cases abuse victims becoming abusers themselves. He took that tunnel vision path as many others have done that Billy is a liar or only doing it for the money. I am very interested on reading what he writes during the upcoming re-trial of Fr. Brennan. I know I have not closed a cell door on Brennan but has my friend closed one on a potential victim ?

    3. The ravings of a lunatic.

    4. I was arguing the facts of the case. Dennis was using a case he knew absolutely nothing about as a soapbox to promote his cult of victimology, where every victim is telling the gospel truth, no matter what the facts. Jim Robertson is another loyal cult member.

  13. Since 2011, Chaput has done a great job managing the AD in a businesslike way, closing and surplus church facilities, screening jobs and making changes needed in order to staunch the financial losses from decades of mismanagement. One thing I have wondered is why hasn't Pope Francis named him Cardinal given all that he has done to right the ship?

    The Philly abuse case may well be the reason. Since Pope Francis is coming to town a month from now, orders may have come from Rome to dispose of the two pending lawsuits - one from Billy Doe and the other from another man allegedly abused by a priest who survived two mistrials and the DA has declined to prosecute this case. one has been disposed of and the other is still pending. I am presuming the AD has liability insurance and that its insurer is the one in charge of handling the two lawsuits. Sounds like negotiations have been ongoing with Billy Doe's attorneys for some time and with the impending civil trial in November drawing closer, they apparently cut the demand from millions to thousands of dollars in order to facilitate a settlement which triggered interest in both the AD and its insurer in settling the case as insurer defending the AD would always be the point person to determine whether it was worth it to proceed on to trial or to settle.

    Another possibility is the AD is defending itself and paying for its own defense by high powered law firm ready for bear and eager to kill Billy Doe on the witness stand until Rome asked Chaput to bury the case before the Pope comes. Talks take place and demand drops form millions to thousands of dollars as Billy Doe's law firm is getting tired of representing him and does not want him to make a fool out of himself at the civil trial. So, Chaput will go to one of Philly's finest benefactors and get them to write a check to pay off Billy Doe. Most likely sum $750K with 1/3 plus expenses to the law firm defending Billy Doe, thus leaving 500K which will be reduced by federal taxes, including the Alternate Minimum Tax, thus leaving him very little to live on. Because check came from private source, nothing needs to be told to the flock as to why Chaput "caved" in but one day in the future, the story will be told in order to prevent migration of the faithful from the church and decline in donations to the church.

    Either of those scenarios is possible. Was it smart for Chaput to settle or go to war against Billy Doe in civil court? Or were they thinking that since Sarmina was now in civil court, they did not want her to be assigned the case? In the end, Billy Doe does not have much of a future and Chaput will get his red hat from the Pope.

    1. What the AD should have done years ago, proactively if they saw financial ruin on the way, was to make good regional schools, offer sports, extra curricular activities, have accredited teachers. Closing parishes the they way they did has lead to charter schools filing a need and picking up the children that would have stayed in Catholic schools. Offering parents more would have been a smarter move. Chaput is playing mop up, where was the AD leadership at that point, it was bad management , as the amount of children declined from the high of the 50's and 60's a real plan needed to be implemented. Catholic students and parents deserve more, not less. With the decline of children in Catholic schools I do not foresee any strong ties to the church, without a primary education in Catholicism, its only a matter of time before there are many more closings. There are plenty of expensive Catholic schools in the city and suburbs that parents are throwing money at, so the need is apparent. Its not to late to put a plan into action.

  14. The Inquirer version of the story:


  15. Ralph- Do you think the outcome of this case will have any effect on the civil trial against Father Andrew McCormick?

  16. I kind of doubt it as the archdiocese hasn't paid for Father Andy's defense. They're still paying for Msgr. Lynn's.


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