Saturday, December 23, 2017

D.A.'s Office, Under New Management, Perpetuates Old Fraud

The D.A.'s Star Witness
By Ralph Cipriano

If you're caught in a lie, when do you have to admit it?

If you're the district attorney's office of Philadelphia, never.

The D.A.'s office, under Interim D.A. Kelley Hodge, has decided to uphold the corrupt regime of her predecessor, Rufus Seth Williams, by continuing to pursue a retrial of Msgr. William J. Lynn.

Never mind that Williams is wearing a jumpsuit and sitting in a federal prison in Oklahoma, where he's doing a five-year stretch for taking bribes from, as the judge who sentenced him put it, "the parasites" he chose to surround himself with.

Or that Danny Gallagher, the D.A.'s former star witness in the case against Msgr. Lynn, is hiding out down in Florida, spending his ill-gotten gains. That's the $5 million that Gallagher stole in a civil settlement from the Catholic Church, a heist made possible by the corrupt acts of D.A. Williams, who certified that a fraud like Danny Gallagher was an official victim of sex abuse.

In a 25-page brief filed Dec. 5th in state Superior Court, the D.A.'s office seeks to overturn Judge Gwendolyn Bright's motion to limit the evidence that the D.A. can present in a retrial of Msgr. Lynn. The defendant's lawyers, however, have a more ambitious goal; they're seeking to have the retrial thrown out on grounds of double jeopardy because of intentional prosecutorial misconduct, which is rife in the case.

Lynn is a free man because the Superior Court in 2015, for the second time in three years, overturned the monsignor's original 2012 conviction on one count of endangering the welfare of a child, namely Gallagher.

On March 24th, Judge Bright ruled that "certain information should have been provided to the defense," such as Detective Joe Walsh's trial prep of Gallagher. Walsh testified that he repeatedly questioned Gallagher about several factual discrepancies in his various tales of abuse, and that Gallagher responded by either claiming he was high on drugs, saying nothing, or inventing new stories.

In her March 24th ruling, Judge Bright said the prosecutorial misconduct in the Lynn case was sufficient to justify granting a new trial to the defendant. But since Msgr. Lynn had already been granted a new trial by the state Superior Court, the judge said, she didn't have to do anything else.

Well, there was one thing she could have done. If Judge Bright had found that the prosecutorial misconduct in the Msgr. Lynn case was intentional, she could have thrown out the retrial on grounds of double jeopardy.

But the judge ruled that a "total dismissal is not a sanction warranted under the facts," because there was "insufficient evidence to support such a remedy."

Well, Judge, I would say that if you know your star witness is a liar, and you put him on the witness stand anyway, that sounds intentional to me. Especially if the lead detective on the case, Detective Walsh, has already told your prosecutor that Gallagher is a liar, and the prosecutor responded by saying, "You're killing my case."

And that's exactly what Lynn's lawyers -- Thomas A. Bergstrom, Marc Tepper, and David A. Schumacher -- argue in their 24-page appeal brief filed Dec. 1st.

The defense cites the original grand jury report of Jan, 21 2011, which noted that "the grand jury investigation began with the tearful testimony" of Danny Gallagher. He's the former altar boy who claimed that during the 1998-99 school year, when he was a 10 year old fifth grader, he was repeatedly raped by two priests and a Catholic school teacher.

The defense lawyers concentrate on three lies that Gallagher told that were published in the grand jury report, a report the defense says was written by former Assistant District Attorney Mariana Sorensen.

Lie No. 1 --- Gallagher claimed that back when he was in fifth grade, he was a member of the bell choir maintenance crew at St. Jerome's Church in Northeast Philly. It was while he was putting the bells away after a concert, Gallagher claimed, that he was first accosted by Father Edward V. Avery, one of his attackers.

As anybody who's been reading this blog knows, three of Gallagher's former teachers testified that only eighth graders were big enough to lift the heavy bells and tables used by the bell choir, so there were no fifth grade members of the bell choir crew.

Lie No. 2 -- Danny Gallagher claimed he was serving at an early morning Mass when he was first attacked by Father Charles Engelhardt. Walsh, the defense lawyers wrote, found out that Danny's older brother James, also an altar boy at the same school, was the kid who served the early morning Mass. Walsh also found out that James Gallagher said his parents drove him to and from the church, and that the sexton, a senior citizen volunteer at the church, was the last person to lock up and leave the building.

The presence of the sexton in the building would have been another reason not to believe Danny Gallagher's fables that he was alone in the sacristy after the early morning Mass when the priest allegedly raped him.

Lie No. 3 -- the grand jury report claimed that Gallagher's mother noticed a big personality change in her son while he was still at St. Jerome's. Gallagher's mother, however, testified to the grand jury that she noticed the big personality change when her son was a freshman in high school, and he got kicked out for possession of marijuana and brass knuckles. Not while Danny was in elementary school, at St. Jerome's.

But the resourceful D.A.'s office solved that problem by simply rewriting the mother's grand jury testimony to fit their plot line.

In their appeal brief, the defense lawyers harp on the fact that the D.A.'s office had to know that Danny Gallagher was a liar.

"Despite the fact that it [the D.A.'s office] knew that it's primary witness was lying, the Commonwealth proceeded with its manufactured case against [Lynn] and put Gallagher on the stand," the defense lawyers wrote. "During his testimony, Gallagher falsely stated that he was part of the bell crew and choir in the 5th grade. Gallagher also falsely testified that he served the 6:15 a. m. Mass" with the altar boy was in fifth grade.

"But when the Commonwealth's lead investigator challenged Gallagher on these facts prior to trial, he could not adequately respond," the defense lawyers wrote. "And when the Commonwealth's lead investigator challenged [Assistant District Attorney Mariana Sorensen] on these facts prior to trial, the response was, 'You're killing my case."

"Yet the Commonwealth proceeded to trial against [Lynn] anyway, desperate for a conviction, failing along the way to disclose those facts to [Lynn] and essentially suborning perjury," the defense wrote. "And, notwithstanding its knowledge then of these facts the Commonwealth continues to ignore the reality that its key witness is a liar, and continues to re-prosecute [Lynn] , still desperate for the conviction it rightfully lost on appeal."


In summation, the defense lawyers claim that the prosecutorial misconduct in the D.A.'s office was indeed intentional.

"The Commonwealth abandoned their legal, ethical and moral responsibilities by presenting false testimony to two juries, resulting in the conviction and imprisonment of three men, one of whom died in prison."

The defense lawyers point out that in previous cases, the Superior Court has held that when the prosecution "intentionally engages in misconduct to deprive a defendant of a fair trial, double jeopardy attaches."

"Here, the Commonwealth improperly prepared Gallagher to testify, despite what it knew from Walsh, and continues to prosecute this case to this day, again despite what it knows from Walsh," the defense lawyers wrote.

In their 25-page brief, three top officials from the D.A.'s office, Hugh Burns Jr., Ronald Eisenberg, and John P. Delaney Jr., along with Interim D.A. Kelley Hodge, don't even mention the name of Detective Joe Walsh. Nor do they address any issue of misconduct.

Apparently, at the D.A.'s office, where the last occupant went to jail, the protocol is that they're above all that.

Instead, the D.A.'s entire 25-page brief, the D.A. attacks the "continuing criminal scheme" of Msgr. Lynn, which was a "pattern of intentionally mishandling other sexually abusive priests with the intent to shelter" both the priests and the church at large from scandal.

At Lynn's trial, the judge, M. Teresa Sarmina, approved the introduction as evidence of 21 supplemental cases of sex abuse dating back to 1948, three years before Msgr. Lynn was born, to show a pattern in the archdiocese of covering up sex abuse.

When the Superior Court threw out Lynn's conviction in 2015, a three-judge panel found that the evidence provided by the 21 cases was far exceeded by their prejudicial effect.

When the D.A. went to retry the case, they asked Judge Bright to admit nine supplemental cases of sex abuse to show a pattern of church cover ups. The judge approved the admission of only three cases.

So in their appeal brief, the D.A.'s office wants the judge's order overturned, arguing that all nine cases should be presented as evidence. So they can put the church on trial again, and ignore the fact that their alleged victim is, by now, a transparent fraud, something their own lead detective has testified to multiple times.

"The criminal plan shown by the evidence is the very same plan the defendant himself created and implemented, to elude his responsibility to protect children from sexually abusive priests," the prosecutors wrote. "It was by executing that criminal plan that he [Lynn] deliberately put children at risk; that is the very offense for which he is to be tried."

And, like the D.A.'s office, which has a new occupant, but continues to perpetuate a lie, the media continues its own willful misconduct in the case.

This is the only outlet where you'll read this story. The rest of the local media, especially The Philadelphia Inquirer, continues to willfully ignore this story.

Even though Walsh has come forward to testify in two different courtrooms, in two different cases. His testimony resulted in the release from jail of a convicted child rapist who got out 11 1/2 years early, because Walsh said he was falsely accused. When was the last time that happened? But it was only news to Big Trial and the Associated Press.

Walsh has also filed a twelve-page affidavit in Common Pleas Court that proclaims to anybody who wants to read it, that Danny Gallagher is a liar, and that the D.A.'s office didn't care; they were going to prosecute the case anyway.

Even if it meant jailing innocent men.

Just like the D.A.'s office, which continues to ignore its own prior intentional prosecutorial misconduct, the media continues its own malpractice in this continuing travesty of justice.


  1. I think we just need to come to the realization that the governments truth is what benefits the prosecution and sells newspapers. It has nothing much to do with what actually takes place.

    It sickens me to think how many innocents are in prison for outright schemes cooked up by the prosecution,but what make me even sicker is that the Inquirer could have helped in this situation and could be of help now to right this wrong, as well as other cases that have been brought to their attention which they have chosen to ignore .

  2. Do you foresee this type of prosecution under the newly elected D.A. ?

  3. What might be needed is legislation to force the media to publicize accurate facts when they become known, facts that have been withheld from the defense and the public by the prosecution.

    It needs to be illegal for a nationally recognized news outlet to continually report inaccurate facts. The record needs to be corrected whether the prosecutions agrees or not.

    No defendant should have to endure public humiliation and scrutiny for non-existent crimes invented by the prosecution.

  4. Seems like the prosecution has a very weak case given the revelations about their star witness. They risk being embarrassed at trial.

    Don't know why the judge doesn't dismiss it given that Lynn served most of the sentence already.

  5. It is crystal clear this is double jeopardy and given the level of intelligence in the interim DA Hodges office is mind boggling and an embarrassment to all of us in this esteemed city. I don't see any law firms standing in line to hire those incompetent clowns.

    To leave this pile of shit for incoming DA Krasner shows Hodges' incredible stupidity and total unfitness to practice law. Only an idiot would stay around to be told the case is being dropped for double jeopardy.

    Time for Hodge to leave the practice of law.


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