Thursday, October 25, 2018

Old Notes Show That 'Billy Doe' Only Wanted $$$, But D.A. Hid Evidence

By Ralph Cipriano

He wasn't interested in sending anyone to jail; all he wanted was cash.

In February 2009, nearly a full year before he met with the Philadelphia District Attorney's office to press criminal charges, Danny Gallagher, AKA "Billy Doe," the "lying, scheming altar boy," told a social worker for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia that "He has been talking to lawyers," and if "he gets money," he "does not want to press charges."

It was the kind of exculpatory evidence that would have made the district attorney's star witness look like he wasn't out for justice, he just wanted to get paid. The kind of exculpatory evidence that defense lawyers, had they known about it, would have used on cross-examination to question Gallagher's motives and impeach his credibility.

So what did the D.A.'s office do with that exculpatory evidence? Simple; they just buried it.

In yet another blatant example of calculated prosecutorial misconduct under former D.A. Seth Williams, those seven pages of notes from a couple of social workers were never turned over to defense lawyers. Nine years later, however, the notes have mysteriously reappeared, a copy of which was generously supplied to Big Trial. Expect those notes to be an issue in the retrial of Msgr. William J. Lynn, scheduled for some time next year.

The notes from the social workers are the second recent revelation of blatant prosecutorial misconduct in the long-running Lynn case.

 Previously, in March, seven pages of notes from the first interview with Danny Gallagher in January 2010, typed by former Assistant District Attorney Mariana Sorensen, mysteriously resurfaced eight years later. This was after Sorensen and two other assistant district attorneys had previously told three different judges in three different courtrooms that those notes didn't exist.

If you're a prosecutor in Philadelphia going after the Catholic Church, apparently it's Ok to lie to a judge as long as the end justifies the means.

Keep in mind that last year, the D.A.'s former lead detective in the archdiocese prosecution, Joe Walsh, came forward to testify in a 12-page affidavit that he repeatedly told ADA Sorensen that the evidence he was gathering showed that Danny Gallagher wasn't a credible witness. And that she repeatedly refused to believe him, and eventually responded, "You're killing my case."

Walsh also stated in his affidavit that when he was questioning Gallagher on the eve of the Lynn trial, the detective caught the altar boy in one lie after another until Gallagher finally admitted that he had "just made stuff up." But of course nobody from the D.A.'s office told the defense about that either.

A spokesman for District Attorney Larry Krasner did not respond to a request for comment. Krasner, according to sources, was too busy emancipating accused murderers, rapists, prostitutes and drug dealers. Progressive Larry is on a mission to empty the city's jails, but he has to draw the line when it comes to liberating a Catholic priest falsely accused.

Gallagher, a former heroin user and accused dealer, wound up being the D.A.'s star witness at two criminal trials in a historic prosecution that sent two priests and a Catholic schoolteacher to jail for supposedly raping Gallagher when he was a 10 and 11-year-old altar boy.

Gallagher's testimony also resulted in the conviction of a third priest, Msgr. Lynn, who was sent to jail for three years for endangering the welfare of a child. The monsignor was the first Catholic administrator in the country to be imprisoned during the ongoing Catholic Church sex abuse scandals, a jail sentence that made headlines around the world.

A jury in 2012 convicted Lynn, the archdiocese's former secretary for clergy from 1992 to 2004, on one count of endangering the welfare of a child, Gallagher, by exposing him to an abusive priest, Father Edward Avery, whom Lynn was supposed to be keeping out of trouble.

Lynn served 33 months out of his 36-month sentence, plus 18 years of house arrest, before the state Superior Court overturned his conviction for a second time.

But despite the fact that Lynn was an official scapegoat carrying out the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua's orders, and he had basically already served his sentence, new D.A. Krasner has decided to retry the case, presumably for the sake of headlines.

And why not? For prosecutors in the current media climate, going after the Catholic Church is such a rush that it's like shooting heroin. It sure got Seth Williams plenty of headlines, even though he had to use a phony victim to stage his witch hunt, propped up by prosecutors who lied and cheated every step of the way.

And since I'm the only reporter in town who called him on it, what was the downside, even for a convicted criminal like Williams. The former D.A. is now serving a four-year stretch in a federal prison in Oklahoma after admitting he took bribes, sold his office and stole money from his own mother.

And then Pennsylvania state Attorney General Josh Shapiro came along this summer and got a free ride from the media for basically digging up an ecclesiastic graveyard. In his grand jury report on sex abuse in a half-dozen dioceses in the state, Shapiro chronicled the alleged sex crimes committed by 250 priests, 117 of whom were dead, and couldn't defend themselves, along with another 13 priests who were so old they were presumed dead.

Almost all of the alleged crimes were well beyond the statute of limitations; some dated as far back to the 1940s. But the media played all of it like it had just happened yesterday. What was the aftermath? Prosecutors in 13 states immediately announced plans to launch similar probes. And not to be outdone, the U.S. Attorney's office in Pennsylvania has launched a federal probe of the Catholic Church.

And again, why not? The church is a sitting duck. Under ancient Vatican law, every diocese is required to record every accusation against a Catholic priest, whether it's true or false, lock it up in a safe, and keep it forever. So all a prosecutor has to do to generate a fresh set of headlines is to get a search warrant to pry loose a diocese's old batch of secret archive files.

It's a target you can't miss.

Meanwhile, the retrial of Lynn, the cardinal's dutiful lackey, is proceeding slowly through the courts. According to the court docket, a pretrial hearing was scheduled for Nov. 15th in the courtroom of Common Pleas Court Judge Gwendolyn Bright.

But on Sept. 28, the D.A.'s office under Progressive Larry Krasner filed yet another appeal in the eight-year-old case to the state Supreme Court. Krasner's office is appealing a decision by Judge Bright to limit the number of supplemental sex abuse cases the D.A. can present in a retrial of Msgr. Lynn, to show a pattern of cover ups in the archdiocese.

The D.A.'s office would like to include as many supplemental cases as possible so they can basically put the Catholic Church on trial, along with Lynn. But the D.A.'s office under Krasner previously lost an appeal of that same issue in state Superior Court. Now, they are appealing to the state Supreme Court, with little chance of success.

Back in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court, Judge Bright has a nonsensical gag order still in place that prohibits lawyers on both sides from taking to reporters. So nobody can comment on fresh revelations of prosecutorial misconduct.

But since I'm the only reporter in town still writing about this travesty of a case, here's what those old and previously deep-sixed documents have to say.

On Feb. 6, 2009, Joann Blaney, of the archdiocese's Office For Child and Youth Protection, sent an email to Louise Hagner, victim assistance coordinator. It was Hagner on Jan. 30, 2009 who drove out to Gallagher's home to interview him after he had called in on a sex abuse hot line to report that he had supposedly been raped by two priests and a schoolteacher.

Gallagher, Blaney wrote to Hagner, had just called the archdiocese and he "also wanted to know what department to call about suing us." In her email, Blaney asked Hagner to call Gallagher back.

In notes on a print-out of Blaney's email, an unidentified social worker wrote that she put in a "call to Dan," and that Gallagher told her "he is upset" because "when he goes to sleep he keeps dreaming the abuse is happening."

"He was slurring his words & I asked him if he was medicated," she wrote. "He said no -- he had not slept in 2 days. He said that he has had problems with drugs."

"The police have not called him yet," she wrote. "He did receive the letter from Tim Coyne to Charles Gallagher. He [Danny Gallagher] called Tim Coyne today because he wanted to find about suing us."

On Jan. 30, 2009, Timothy R. Coyne, director of the archdiocese's Office for Legal Services, wrote to Assistant District Attorney Charles Gallagher [no relation to Danny] to inform him of Danny Gallagher's allegations.

The notes from the social workers display two different handwriting styles, but are not signed, so it's hard to determine who wrote what.

On Feb. 17, 2009, a social worker wrote that she called Gallagher and he reported that he "had a dream on Valentine's Day. The news people were outside his home & and I was standing there too. He said he is concerned that it will become public."

In the handwritten notes, a social worker recorded on Feb. 2, 2009 that she called Danny Gallagher back, and he said "he is so depressed" because "he has been dreaming about it" again, it presumably being the imaginary rapes.

"He has been talking to lawyers," the social worker wrote. If "he gets money," she wrote, "He does not want to press charges."

But on his own, Danny Gallagher wasn't getting anywhere in his campaign to score some cash. But there was another option; besides the civil courts, there were the criminal courts.

On March 19, 2009, a social worker wrote that she called Gallagher and he told her he had "heard from the D.A." and that he "will probably go on Monday with his Dad."

Some of the handwritten notes are clearly Hagner's. On Jan. 30, 2009, Hagner wrote that after she and another social worker had driven out to interview Danny Gallagher, "He has been calling lawyers," and that he was concerned about the "statute of limitations."

But for the rest of the year, Gallagher apparently didn't do anything further to press a civil claim against the archdiocese, and the D.A.'s office apparently did nothing to pursue a criminal investigation. That's because, multiple sources say, the D.A.'s office under former D.A. Lynne Abraham had determined that Danny Gallagher's allegations of a rape spree were total B.S.

So Danny Gallagher had come up empty in his quest to get paid.

But then Abraham retired, Seth Williams became D.A. And Williams was very interested in putting together a case that would land Msgr. Lynn in jail. To nail Lynn, however, Williams needed a victim of sex abuse whose allegations fell within the statute of limitations.

At that point, credibility-deficient Danny Gallagher and his far-fetched and endlessly contradictory fables of abuse became useful to Seth Williams and his henchmen.

Nearly a full year after Danny Gallagher first told church social workers about his wacky stories about being repeatedly raped, on Jan. 28, 2010, Detective Drew Snyder bailed Danny Gallagher out of Graterford Prison, where he was being held on a probation violation. Snyder drove Gallagher to the D.A.'s office, where his parents were waiting, along with ADA Sorensen.

The fix was in. A gullible media ate it up, and didn't ask any questions about the altar boy's incredible allegations that he was passed around from predator to predator. And by playing the D.A.'s star witness, Danny Gallagher eventually got paid big time.

The D.A.'s office, according to Gallagher's testimony at the trial of Father Charles Engelhardt and schoolteacher Bernard Shero, hooked Gallagher up with a civil lawyer so he could sue the archdiocese and collect $5 million.

That's what happens when a habitual liar, third-rate conman and junkie criminal who couldn't get anywhere on his own has as his enablers prosecutors who cheat. The result -- Danny Gallagher, aided by lying, cheating prosecutors and a civil lawyer the D.A. hooked him up with was able to steal from the Catholic Church $5 million.

Meanwhile, the people who are supposed to hold prosecutors accountable -- the media -- are so hopelessly in the tank that when irrefutable evidence of prosecutorial misconduct becomes public, they continue to pretend it isn't happening.

In a climate where prosecutors across the country have declared official war on the Catholic Church, the Billy Doe story serves as a cautionary tale that not every accusation of abuse against a Catholic priest is automatically true.

But that's precisely why the media mob -- led by the social justice warriors at our hometown paper of record -- will continue to willfully ignore it.


  1. Ralph - thanks for the update and excellent piece. Serious questions have to be asked about newspaper integrity when the Inquirer fails to report on this. Serious questions need to be asked of AG Shapiro on why he has failed to act on serious charges of prosecutorial misconduct in the Phila DAs office.

  2. forget Shapiro, I wrote to the PA Attorney General Kathleen Kane longtime ago when this travesty was unfolding, I received a letter back saying it was not her jurisdiction to investigate Seth Williams
    .....I'll assume that meant that any prosecutorial misconduct charges against Seth Williams and those lying scheming Assistant DA's like Blessington, Sorenson and Cippoletti belongs to the feds, not the state...the chances of anything ever getting done are slim to none....
    but it's nice to see the DA's office sharing all those buried notes & interviews of Danny Gallagher that they deliberately withheld from those defense attorney's 9 years ago, long after Fr Engelhardt's horrific death at the hands of the PA prison system and after Bernard Shero's sudden release 11 1/2 years earlier than anticipated

  3. The following is from the DAILY BEAST, Matt Lewis 10/26/18
    This is a portion of his article.

    For 99 percent of us, the media frenzy causes a low-grade depression. For a small segment of Americans, though, I suspect it is driving them crazy. Crazy enough to do something horrific—like shoot a Republican congressman on a baseball diamond or try to send a bomb to a former Democratic president (or two).

    The problem isn’t that we cover bad or depressing things happening in the world. These important topics deserve news coverage. But the truth is, we don’t just report them―we hype them (coupled with “BREAKING NEWS!!!” alerts, graphics, countdown clocks, music, and the most provocative B-roll footage we can find). Then, we bring on people to fight about the provocative topics. It’s a never-ending cycle. This madness doesn’t infect your home once a day at 6 p.m.—it’s a relentless, 24/7 barrage of negativity. And it’s not just on TV. It’s on talk radio, Twitter, and multiple websites. It is concocted entertainment—a “product” used to generate clicks and ratings.

    So when we in the media get on our high horse about our role in defending democracy, we should take a long look in the mirror. When we cast ourselves solely as heroic victims, we consciously ignore the cable news segments, blogs, or tweets that are largely about ratings, buzz, re-tweets, and ginning up anger.

    The word “media” can encompass Hollywood-inspired infotainment, cable news, and journalism that involves investigative reporting or being embedded in a war zone. The overlap in categories makes it hard to attack the “media” without besmirching the heroism of front-line journalists who really do risk their lives every day.


    While I did not agree with the entire article, what he says is important, sensationalizim is what angers people, it enflames and drives juries to convict a defendant that has been condemned by the media. We never have a conversation, we are continually force feed the prosecutions views. Never a thought that someone could possibly be innocence.

    Hiding evidence is a commonplace occurance for the prosecution, the prosecution wants to win at all cost, no one holds them accountable, least of all the mainstream media. The media is not biting the hand that feeds and drives ratings. They are so bent on "fighting corruption " that they fail to see they are being used by the prosecution. I believe strongly that the media has been responsible for ruining many a life, but they do not see it or feel the least little bit responsible.

    Ralph, m hope is that Krasner will expose enough corruption on the part of the proseuction to wake the media up, we were never going to hear it from a prosecutor who would have taken the DA's job after Seth Williams.

    Who is going to tell the public that prosecutors lie, besides you and defendants who watch them lie. Certainly not the media who is not interested in the truth, just the ratings.

  4. Why won't Judge Bright dismiss this case as it is clearly a case of double jeopardy? Time for the case to be dropped and put to rest permanently.

  5. Judge Bright is very cautious, hence the gag order. And the continuing circus of this case.

    1. Ending the circus when you are seeing clearly something unnatural and not taught in law school as being right is the duty a judge must do. No accident, three female judges were tasked with Lynn's trials due to their mother's instincts while a male judge would have ended the charade by granting dismissal upon request by the defense

  6. Ralph, after watching the 60 Minutes report on Buffalo Bishop Malone and his Executive Asst.' Whisteblower' and the corruption and fraud by the Church in protecting sexual predator Priests, don't you think that what has been uncovered in Phila.and presented with the same clarity would be a great counter to the argument?

    What chance does the Church have if it is penetrated by the Govt.who in turn converts trusted administrators into informants and cooperating witnesses?

  7. It happened to the Mob, and now it's happened to the Church. Turncoats, snitches and stoles, although Buffalo's whistleblower says she was answering to a higher authority.

    The Billy Doe story is an effective counter argument but it's not going to go far if this blog is the only outlet telling the story. If Progressive Larry Krasner is crazy enough to retry this case, we may bring some more voices to the party.

    1. What is Krasner's game? Is he just delaying the Lynn retrial with appeals hoping to find some excuse to eventually end it?

  8. I wish I could understand the thought process of one of your readers and yourself Ralph when it seems your main concern is what can the catholic church get away with now that the federal government along with state governments are involved in the investigation of child sexual abuse within the catholic church.

    What I seen last night on 60 Minutes was not a interview with two turncoats or snitches but an interview with two people of strong moral character who could care less about the image of the catholic church or its assets but care enough to make sure the truth be told, and hopefully now that the Department of Justice has put every catholic diocese in this country on notice not to destroy,alter or cover up records of child sexual abuse under the possibility of criminal prosecution hopefully more lay persons and clergy will come forward.

    1. totally irrelevant to this posting concernig the retrial of Lynn on those bogus charges, nor to the DA's deliberate withholding of evidence from the defense attorney's 9 years ago that helped put 3 innocent men in prison

      as more and more deliberately "buried" evidence from the Lynn/Engelhardt/Shero trials is divulged, one of the other things that makes me occasionally smile is the fact that federal prisoner Seth Williams won't be making any speeches in front of the justice center proclaiming the validity of his "historic prosecution", a prosecution totally built on a false accusation of abuse by Danny Gallagher and the lies and deceit better known as "prosecutorial misconduct" ....

      Hope Joe Walsh remains healthy so he can have another day in court to continue to make his case about the shameful misconduct of the DA and his assistant DA's in this case...

    2. The Lynn case is clearly a wrongful prosecution due to numerous instances of prosecutor misconduct.

      Almost all the cases in Shapiro's report on Catholic Church abuse were beyond the statute of limitations for prosecution and about half of the priests accused are dead. Our justice system does not prosecute dead people so Shapiro was wasting government resources to garner publicity for himself.

      Catholic Church child sex abuse was a terrible scandal but it also involved parents, police, judges and politicians who went along with the coverup so it is unfair to vilify just the church.

  9. I said the whistleblower was answering to a higher authority. Wish the feds had done this 13 to 20 years ago when they could have made a RICO case against Bevilacqua and many other archbishops. Right now, doing it so late in the game it comes off like a Josh Shapiro-inspired publicity stunt.

    And maybe by delaying the Lynn retrial, Krasner is looking for a way out. Or hoping some defense witnesses aren't around when the retrial finally happens.

  10. And by the way, Dennis, don't see you commenting any more on the lack of credibility of your onetime hero, Billy Doe, as evidence mounts that he was a complete fraud propped up by unscrupulous prosecutors. Still believe every alleged victim is telling the truth?

    Certainly not Billy, who made off with $5 million of church money that could have been better spent on real victims, of which we have no shortage.

    1. I doubt Billy Doe would return to testify in a retrial and be accused of perjury and fraud by the defense. I think the retrial is essentially dead.

    2. Certainly any lawyer would tell Billy AKA Danny to call it a day. He's got his $5 million, so what does he need to risk a perjury rap for? But there's always a subpoena. And the matter of ego. He might be crazy enough to show up and reclaim the spotlight. Maybe he's the kind of liar who has come to believe his own BS.

    3. Getting a subpoena for a witness in another state for a civil case in state court is not always easy. Even if he did return to testify, he might just take the 5th, which would tank the prosecution's case.

      I really doubt the DA wants to charge Danny with perjury and fraud because it would confirm prosecutor misconduct and show that some sex abuse claims against the Catholic Church are a hoax.

    4. It's not a civil case, the retrial of Msgr. Lynn would be a criminal case. He's charged with one count of endangering the welfare of a child, namely Billy/Danny.

    5. word of caution, I wouldn't send the subpoena to Danny Gallagher's parents house (Jim and Sheila) up in the Northeast like Mike McGovern allegedly did back in January of 2013 (subpoena was for still missing and perhaps "presumed dead witness", Lawyer James Gallagher Jr who never testified in the Engelhardt/Shero trial), it might get lost in the mail or "mistakenly thrown out" as trash ADA Mark Cippoletti for making certain Jim Jr was on the other side of the state during the trial....

    6. More dirty tricks. The jury asked the judge why they didn't hear from Jim Gallagher Jr. But Her Honor was far more concerned with keeping the trial on schedule rather than slowing down the railroad.

    7. Ralph, you are correct....and from what I understand, Jim Jr would have had to testify that brother danny didn't start changing and using drugs until he left St. Jerome's and went to high school, contrary to what Danny and all of those bogus friends testified in Ceisler's courtroom.....

    8. Jim Jr. would have also had to testify what he told Detective Walsh, that it was the sextons who put away the wine after Mass, and not the altar boys, as Danny the liar had claimed.

    9. @anonymous 11/1 - with regard to the subpoena that was sent to Gallagher's brother, I read somewhere that the brother did find it in his mail sometime later and AFTER the trial was over.

      If Ceisler were truly interested in genuine 'justice', she would have allowed the time for his brother to be properly served, instead of making those nasty and vindictive remarks to McGovern about it coming back to bite him.

      Based upon all the testimony that was heard, you can bet that Ceisler's 'bullshit detector' went off more than once. Ceisler had both the power and the obligation to nullify the verdict and start the whole fiasco over which - of course - she didn't because the poor dear said that she was strapped for time.

      Or maybe this was because Ceisler had retired judge Anthony J. DeFino - a nattily attired peripatetic with a flower in his lapel, and on Seth Williams' payroll as a 'contractor' - whispering in her ear on those difficult rulings - or lack thereof - to ensure a conviction.

      We'll never know as DeFino died in a house fire shortly after the trial.

      As a result, the church lost 5 million dollars, an innocent priest died manacled to a hospital bed, and Bernie Shero - in addition to the consummate indignity of his unjust incarceration - had to forfeit vast sums of money for his legal defense.

      The lawyers always get paid, don't they??

      Philadelphia jurisprudence sucks.

    10. Judge Ceisler was extremely PC during this trial and fell for the prosecution's nonsensical arguments over and over again.

      The trial verdict stunned all of us and made no sense. Something happened with the jury. A courageous judge with a fully activated bullshit detector would have set aside the verdict.

  11. It seems to me that the great flaw in modern so-called justice systems is their susceptibility to delaying tactics with no appropriate punishment for the perpetrators. If you can't win your case, then the best tactic is to just keep delaying and driving up the costs for the opponent. We need a better 'I'll see you' process before yielding to delaying tactics. And the punishment for delaying tactics should be severe, then perhaps this travesty of justice will go into recession.

    1. This case epitomizes the flaw in today's so-called justice system - you are guilty until proven innocent. It is a serious flaw of our showboat AGs grand juries - many of the perpetrators and administrators are now dead - but someone has to pay, so lets lump in innocent Priests too.

    2. If I might add that the justice department uses the media to influence judges, juries and the public. This can not be overlooked, defendants are denied a fair trial when they are the subject of continual exposure of negative publicity, condemning them in a public forum.

      Mainstream media holds up as truth to its readers that a person committed a crime, they are believed for telling the truth and being objective which is not the case. The media is used to condemn not find innocence, much like the prosecution. Why would a reader doubt a journalist, who they assume did research into facts when all they are working with are the facts of the prosecution, who want to win at all costs.

      As hard as it is to believe but prosecutors distort the truth to make facts match their desired outcome, they don't seek the truth as we might believe. Unfortunately, most prosecutors are showboats who love the limelight and need a high profile conviction to boost their careers.

      The Catholic Church deserves to be scrutinized, pedophiles who prayed on innocents need to be exposed and punished but so do prosecutors who lie and deceive the public, who make a career of sending innocents to jail, they need to be punished as well. Just as the Catholic Church enjoyed a millennium of free passes, which is now over, we need to expose prosecutors who do the exact same thing to innocents.

      Exposing prosecutors and FBI agents who lie to grand juries and at trial, will open the eyes of juries who somehow get soft in the head when they are called to serve on a jury, believing the lies they read and which are again repeated in a courtroom by the prosecution.

    3. Prosecutors who perjure themselves or introduce perjurious evidence should be fired and disbarred from the practice of law.

  12. Have to agree with all your points.

  13. Just checked on the status of the Monsignor Lynn re-trial. Looks like Judge Bright has let it slip again (from 1/4/19) to this March. Anyone know what's up with this? Makes no sense whatsoever. It's like death by a thousand cuts. WTF?

  14. Is there any further news about M. Lynn's re-trial?

    1. Gallibus - supposedly another conference in May

  15. Check out the latest Catholics4Change blog comments. Looks like Slade McLaughlin - Billy Doe's lawyer - is 'chumming' for additional business, this time without the apparent help of the DA's office.

    1. Can you be more specific? I did not get your link to this case.


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