Saturday, February 11, 2017

Our Corrupt D.A. And Four "Truly Innocent" Men That He Put In Jail

Shame of the city: Our corrupt D.A. Photo: AP/Matt Rourke
By Ralph Cipriano

There was a truly cringe-worthy moment at Seth Williams' teary press conference on Friday where he announced that he wouldn't seek a third term as D.A.

It came when Williams was talking about his many alleged accomplishments in office that included the "enhancement of our Conviction Review Unit."

In case you missed it, the D.A. has an entire squad whose mission is, in Williams' words, "to ensure that we do all that we can to exonerate the truly innocent."

"So that not one Philadelphian spends a day in prison if they shouldn't," Williams said.

Unbelievable words coming from this guy, on this day.

Well, the D.A.'s Conviction Review Unit doesn't have to look far to find the "truly innocent." There are four truly innocent men right now that the D.A.'s squad can get started on exonerating. They can begin with Msgr. William J. Lynn and former Catholic schoolteacher Bernard Shero.

Lynn, as many people will tell you, is no innocent because he didn't do enough to protect kids from abusive priests. Instead of looking out for the kids, they say, Lynn was more worried about protecting the Catholic Church from scandal.

Well, they have a point.

Lynn, of course, tells a different story. One of his early official acts as the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's secretary for clergy in 1994, was to go through more than 300 of the church's "secret archive files" to compile a list of 35 abusive priests then in ministry.

Lynn, the new guy on the job, took it upon himself to figure out who the bad guys were on his new beat. He promptly took that list to the late Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua. The monsignor may have expected a pat on the head for his good work in getting out ahead on the sex abuse scandal that was about to hit the Catholic Church, beginning in Boston, and subsequently spreading to Philadelphia.

But the wily cardinal, who was both a canon and a civil lawyer, knew the legal implications of that list, namely that the Catholic Church was guilty as sin for keeping those known abusers in active ministry. So, the cardinal met in private with three high-ranking church officials. Two of those officials, the Rev. Joseph R. Cistone, bishop of Saginaw, MI., and the Rev. Edward P. Cullen, bishop emeritus of Allentown, PA, are still at large. Then, the cardinal gave the order to shred the list.

A lot of people would like to forget that.

Some people also have a problem putting the words "Ed Avery" and "innocent" in the same sentence. Because Avery had a history of at least one known prior incident involving the molestation of a teenager. [That's why he was No. 1 on the list that Lynn compiled.]

I get that too.

But, going by the law, Lynn, Shero and even Avery are truly innocent of the crimes that Seth Williams put them in jail for.

 Because, as we now know, those crimes never happened. They were only figments in the imagination of a demented former altar boy turned heroin addict named Daniel Gallagher, AKA "Billy Doe," who, at the time, was scheming to figure a way out of jail.

Little did Gallagher know that his false tales of rape were music to the ears of Seth Williams and the prosecutors who worked for him. Because they fit precisely into the statute of limitations for sex abuse victims.

Or that those out-and-out lies would lead to the white-washing of Gallagher's criminal record, thanks to the D.A. And a pot of gold, in the form of a $5 million civil settlement secretly approved by Archbishop Charles J. "Checkbook Charlie" Chaput.

But now we know that Gallagher's stories were lies, that the series of violent rapes imagined by Gallagher never happened, and that the district attorney's entire prosecution of the church was a complete fraud from day one.

How do we know this?

We have two forensic psychiatrists who interviewed Gallagher for hours and went over his copious medical records from some 28 doctors, hospitals and rehabs. One of those shrinks concluded that all of Gallagher's claims of alleged injuries, both physical and psychic, were disproven by his medical records.

We know from both psychiatrists that Gallagher admitted that he told many lies, including many tales of alleged sex abuse when he was a kid. He also falsely told the shrinks that he was a former professional surfer, emergency medical technician, and that he once weighed at least hundred pounds more than he did.

Last month, retired detective Joseph Walsh, the man who led the D.A.'s own investigation into the Billy Doe case, took the witness stand to testify that when he repeatedly questioned Gallagher about all the contradictions and factual consistencies in his many fables of abuse, that Gallagher either said nothing and put his head down, or claimed he was high on drugs.

We know when Gallagher was deposed in his civil case, he explained away those inconsistencies by saying that he couldn't remember more than 130 times.

Today, we have every reason to believe that Danny Gallagher is a liar. We have every reason to believe that the D.A. who put Gallagher on that witness stand is himself a liar, and possibly facing jail time as a consequence.

And we have the word of former Detective Walsh that when he told all of the factual inconsistencies to the prosecutor handling the case, former Assistant District Attorney Mariana Sorensen, a zealot blinded by her own hatred of the church, she replied that Walsh was killing her case with the truth.

On Monday, somebody in the D.A.'s Conviction Review Unit should call off the retrial of Msgr. Lynn, scheduled for May.

Somebody in the D.A.'s Conviction Review Unit should help get Bernie Shero out of jail, where he's now serving an 8 to 16 year jail term for an imaginary rape of Danny Gallagher.

Even Ed Avery deserves to get out of jail, where he is now doing 2 1/2 to 5 years for another imaginary rape of Danny Gallagher.

Of course, it's too late to help the fourth victim of Seth Williams' witch hunt. Father Charles Engelhardt died in prison in 2014, where he was serving 6 to 12 years for yet another imaginary rape of Danny Gallagher.

The D.A.'s office, even at this late date, should apologize to Engelhardt's family for the heinous crime they committed against a "truly innocent" man.

And then the D.A.'s office could go about helping Engelhardt's religious order, the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, in their campaign to posthumously clear Engelhardt's name.

The only reason Seth Williams crucified these four men was for the advancement of his political career.

But now that career is over.

It would truly be an act of justice for a man who has perverted it for so long, to right these wrongs now.

And if he won't do it, somebody else over at the D.A.'s office should.

So the truth can set everyone free.

Ralph Cipriano can be reached at


  1. I investigated a hundred cases on behalf of the Archdiocese as their retired FBI agent private investigator and never saw a case where an alleged victim was passes around to two let alone three alleged abusers. I told this to the DA Detective who gave me a subpoena and he agreed with me. Shame on the DA and ADA Sorena and most of all the judeges, Bright, Sareno and Sarmino. All losers

  2. Can you email me at

  3. The Inquirer should step to the plate and help those they helped to convict, they could start at the beginning and walk the readers though the entire sham of a case. Then maybe just maybe future jurors might not side blindly with the prosecution and spare innocent lives.

    One paragraph is all the mention Monsignor Lynn was allotted in the article on Williams not seeking reelection in the Inquirer. Too bad the rest of the facts were missing, but when you only print the prosecution's side, they must be all the facts they are allowed to print.

    Friday was a great day for all those that believed in the truth coming out and the downfall of a man that deserves everything that is coming to him.

    Prosecutors use the same play day in an day out, get someone facing jail time, or a drug addict or better yet one in the same, have them incriminate the intended target. Get the Inky to print the "facts" for the prosecution.

    I am sure lots of politicians, police, and Catholic parishioners prayed for this day, time to rejoice. Now everyone should write to the Inquirer and ask them to print the facts in their entirety. They owe it to Catholics , police and politicians. Forget the people who spew the hatred in the comment section after one of their articles. A good letter to the paper asking when they can expect the rest of the facts that were left out of the article.

    Allowing the Inquirer to continually stand with the prosecution is unacceptable. Maybe the Archdiocese can initiate a letter writing campaign asking not only for the truth for themselves but for every other innocent person sitting in jail because of lying prosecutors, FBI agents and jail house informants. Talk about selling your soul.

    One of the intentions at mass should be " that all prosecutors tell the truth and share with the defense all exculpatory evidence so that no innocent person is convicted of a crime they did not commit".

    1. Don't hold your breath. At this point I really don't know what it would take for the Inquirer to come around on Billy Doe. They are wedded to a false narrative, no matter how many facts and how many witnesses come forward to disprove it.

    2. So the Inquirer is actually doing Seth a favor, which is curious as he is also considered a politician and society as whole has been taught to despise politicians by the media. The Inky must be caught in a bind, as they always side with the prosecution and would probably love to disclose all the facts but that may make it look like they were hiding something all along.

      Politicians are the most maligned and abused people in America, perceived to be the root of all evil.

      The Inky should take note, they now can't go back and criticize someone after they broadcasted they were right for months and years on end (prosecution side), much like they won't go back and say someone was innocent once they proclaimed them guilty (prosecution side).

      I think this is killing the Inky reporters, they have the facts, they know the truth, they just can't print it. If they had been impartial they would now be able to give the public a true and accurate picture of our DA.

      The public needs to start asking questions, not just the members of the police union but all of us, and this is just the time to do it. Always siding with the prosecution is dangerous to democracy and innocent lives. How can the public make an informed decision with only half the facts.

      Open minded and liberal are not words that jump to mind when describing the Inquirer. What policy does this violate for them, the same one as the prosecution, never admitting an error. Must also be a liability issue.

    3. Anonymous 5:15 you might be getting warmer.

      Who would benefit from a prosecution for hire, AND an article for hire?

    4. On the political aspect it would be the opposition party that would stand to gain.Republicans after Democrats and Democrats after Republicans, each one wanting to show that the other party is unscrupulous. Old as the hills, until they involve the prosecution to finish the job for them.

      On the Inquirer side, unless they are truly politically motivated as well and are assisting the prosecution with the icing on the cake.
      It has to be a liability issue, they can be sued, but the prosecution can not, another reason they never admit being wrong.
      Imagine if the prosecution said they were wrong, admitting to hiding evidence or having a jailhouse witness admit they lied for the prosecution for a promised lighter sentence or not being prosecuted at all.
      The paper then would have to admit to not covering a trial accurately , just report the prosecution side, not covering what actually took place in a courtroom.

      So the Inky subscribes to the same defense,just deny to the death. Lets grant them immunity to tell the truth.

    5. Of the articles that the Inky publishes, which ones appear to be "plugs?"

  4. He's Next!!!! To Get Indicted!!!!

  5. Don't go to jail Seth will need those muscles you think you got....real deal there bo.....protective custody for think your gonna scrap with people after you been sending people to jail....good luck...the feds is up ur ass ... they grind there ax advice buy some silk panties that you could wear.

  6. Seth Williams for Pa. Gov. & Sorenson for Lt. Gov.

  7. Discounts will be given on the Lynn case and his lawyer can easily get all that is needed to clean his name. Pro Bono help needed for the others still in jail to get them released on bail and their names cleaned out.

  8. Could the Inquirer be sued for obstruction of justice, for the part they play in covering up facts ?

    1. Now that would be justice!!!!

  9. Ralph, please don't stop the search for the truth. There are people whose reputations and careers have been destroyed from the outrageous lies in the 2011 GJ report. They have been hurt; their families have been hurt. They have consistently been told that they are "just collateral damage" as though their lives are worthless.

  10. How is it that Rigali, Cullen, and Cistone get off Scot free? Last time I checked, spoliation of evidence and perjury were still illegal. Or is that what five million dollars buys these days?

  11. My working theory: the archbishop swung a deal with Seth; give me the monsignor's head on a platter and the rest of the bishops can get a pass.

    It does make some sense because at the time, Seth was going after men of the cloth for boundary violations. Nobody was safe. Then, the arrest of Lynn made national headlines. Seth got his trophy head. And his inquisition of the church came to a screeching halt.

  12. I have a similar working theory about the building collapse trial, though I can't tell if it was made between Seth and a defendant or between Seth and a plaintiff's attorney.

  13. The Inky article with a plug could be the one in which they take credit for Williams downfall for asking questions about the gifts and his non-profit. Surely the feds handed them the information to publicize.

    They do make note in an editorial that Williams created a possible conflict of interest when deciding guilt when he accepted gifts from some defense attorneys with ongoing cases. I agree he should resign now, not because of the gifts he did not declare but because no Philadelphian is safe when his office will not try cases brought by the the Philadelphia Police Department. Finding out there is a feud between the DA's office and the Police is one of the most troubling aspects. A man that took gifts and abused his office, in my opinion, is also a man that would sell innocents for glory. Facts I learned here in this column.

    1. I give the FOP a great deal of credit for their billboard and radio ad campaign to oust this criminal from his perch atop the DA's office. now if just one other person besides retired detective Walsh would step up and expose the wrongful prosecution of those men for what it was, a prosecution based on lies and deceit done solely for political gain....

      my hope, the feds come down with indictments for his systematic looting of the nonprofit organization, his own political action committee as well as the 162,000 in gifts and bribes he took from the defense attorney's and others that he neglected to disclose for several years...

      he belongs in the same cell as Chaka Fattah, they are 2 of a kind, public servants who betrayed the public trust time and time again stealing funds from the taxpayers of Philadelphia as well as the state of Pennsylvania (nonprofits get most of their money from those state grants)...

  14. Put Bob Brady in the cell with them. He's in charge of all the Philadelphia democratic felons.

  15. Most prosecutors have a field day with politicians,they are easy targets. Would love to see the general public be put under as much scrutiny as a politician.
    People openly discriminate against all elected officials, I would love for all politicians to walk off the job and select a person at will to take over their jobs and see if they could live with the hatred they would receive. See if their families are up to the torment of living with the constant abuse of strangers that think they are at liberty to pass judgment on every action they take.
    Give up your job and get ready to take a legislative job, see how long last you. Give it s break.


Thoughtful commentary welcome. Trolling, harassing, and defaming not welcome. Consistent with 47 U.S.C. 230, we have the right to delete without warning any comments we believe are obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.