Injustice in Philadelphia? Writer Declares Recent Guilty Verdicts Against Priest and Teacher ‘Required the Suspension of All Rational Thought’

Danny Gallagher accuser of Fr. Engelhardt and Bernard Shero :: Ralph Cipriano

On the case of unjust verdicts: Accuser Danny Gallagher (l) examined by writer Ralph Cipriano (r)
[Screen grabs of Danny Gallagher and Ralph Cipriano from exclusive video at]

The bizarre and wildly inconsistent claims of sadistic abuse against Philadelphia Catholic priest Fr. Charles Engelhardt and former teacher Bernard Shero were so unbelievable that January's convictions of the two men actually "required the suspension of all rational thought."

That is the eye-opening conclusion of veteran writer Ralph Cipriano, who continues to examine this very troubling case over a month after the shocking verdicts.

Cipriano unearths more troubling details

Kudos to Cipriano for his dogged investigative work into the claims of abuse by Danny Gallagher, who has accused three individuals, Fr. Engelhardt, Shero, and former priest Edward Avery (all of whom barely knew each other), of depraved abuse.

Among Cipriano's stunning revelations:

  • Even members of the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office did not believe Gallagher's wild claims and questioned whether they should even try the case against Engelhardt and Shero;
  • Fr. Engelhardt easily passed a polygraph test denying that he abused Danny or anyone, and the test administrator was a guy often hired by the Philly D.A.'s Office itself;
  • On December 3, 2010, Fr. Engelhardt waved his fifth amendment rights and voluntarily appeared before the Philadelphia grand jury, at which he asserted his innocence and testified, "I have no knowledge of who the person is. If he's sitting in this room today, I can't pick him out … I found it to be a very humbling thing to be called on the phone … when you know, there was no truth or that was something unrealistic that was happening to you";
  • Triple-accuser Danny has been in-and-out of some 23 drug re-habs, has been in-and-out of jail a number of times, and he was recently arrested with 56 bags of heroin [Update, 3/8/13: We have located a more complete court summary on Gallagher]; and
  • Most notably, as we have relayed before, Gallagher has told separate tales of perverted abuse have been wildly and dramatically different and inconsistent over time.

When it comes to the wild inconsistencies in the tales of the abuse he claims to have endured, Gallagher has tried to explain that he was under the influence of drugs at the time he told his differing stories to archdiocesan employees and others.

Gallagher makes no sense at all

But this excuse makes no sense at all. For example, there was an important episode on January 30, 2009, when Archdiocesan victim support worker Louise Hagner went to interview Danny the day after he left a phone message with the Archdiocese that he had been abused. On that day, Hagner took careful notes and recorded that Danny had told her that Edward Avery violently sodomized him on two occasions, even brutally punching him in the head and tying him up with "altar sashes."

Danny now says he completely forgot what he told Hagner that day because he was "wasted" on drugs. Yet according to the Danny's 2010 grand jury transcript, which Ralph Cipriano has posted, here is what Danny did remember about the very day that Hagner went to go visit him:

  • Danny remembered getting a call on his cell phone from the archdiocese;
  • Danny remembered that he agreed to meet with the archdiocese;
  • Danny remembered his father telling him that he did not want him to meet with them;
  • Danny remembered Louise coming to the house and knocking on the door;
  • Danny remembered his dad not allowing him to answer the door;
  • Danny remembered that he sneaked out of the house and hopped into the car with Louise;
  • Danny remembered Louise "drove down the street a little and parked the car";
  • Danny remembered that Louise identified herself from the Archdiocese victim services;
  • Danny remembered that he was alone in the car with her;
  • Danny remembered that Louise was taking notes.

But Danny now says that he somehow does not remember anything at all what he actually told Hagner about his abuse when they were in the car that day.

Why does Danny now say that he does not remember what he told Hagner from the archdiocese? Danny blames it on the drugs, but the obvious explanation is that a year later, in January 2010, Danny told the Philadelphia D.A.'s Office radically different stories about his abuse from Avery and he needs to explain away the glaring conflicts in his accounts.

As Cipriano has reported, the claims of violence, anal sex, and being tied up by Avery were magically gone and replaced with tales of stripteases, masturbation, oral sex, and other perversions.

The differences are mind-blowing, and the fact that a jury actually convicted Engelhardt and Shero despite these blatant discrepancies will never cease to astonish.

As sentencing nears

Engelhardt and Shero are scheduled to be sentenced on March 18 June 12, and as that date looms nearer, there appears to be only a few scenarios that could prevent the innocent pair of men from living out the rest of their lives in prison:

1. The judge overturns the verdict or orders a new trial.

2. The accuser, Danny Gallagher, finally comes clean and recants his wild stories.

3. A major media outlet shines a light on this troublesome case.

Unfortunately, none of these scenarios seem likely, especially the second one, as Gallagher is looking at a huge cash payout in the future from a civil lawsuit he has filed.


  1. malcolm harris says:

    My comment on Billy's first story is indirectly relevant, separated by time and space, yet it is relevant just the same.

    Here in Australia,. forty five years ago, I was accidentally drawn into a sodomy case, involving a minor. Two cops asked me to volunteer for a identity parade (line-up). When we all (volunteers) did line up they brought in the suspect, and he took a place in the line.

    Then this 11-12 year boy was brought in by two detectives. Every picture told a story, he was clearly traumatized. A detective described to us how the boy had run away from an orphanage, the day before. The suspect, an unemployed chef, had offered to give the boy a bed for the night. During the night he sodomized the boy. Early next morning the boy ran away. A woman, a complete stranger, saw him and asked what was the matter. She phoned the police.

    Yet Billly's own mother, a nurse, apparantly noticed nothing wrong with him. The father, a policeman, didn't notice anything wrong either.

    The jury must have been a bunch of complete fools.



    March 9.



    • jim robertson says:

      May I say ,as a victim, I never told my parents. They were older than most parents and I didn't want to cause them pain. I was going to tough my way through it and paramount to me was that no one should know. No one.

      I don't know what the truth is here but just having done jury duty myself. Jurors take their job very seriously. For most Americans jury duty is one way of being patriotic. And Americans take our patriotism very seriously indeed.

  2. Kevin Dolan says:

    Why is this not in the news media.  In the Inquirer and Daily News and on TV?  These men are innocent.  How can the Philadelphia DA sleep at night knowing he brought these two men to trial when even his office was so sceptical of  Dan Gallager's allegations.  Read the testimony and Gallagher's Mother's notes, it's absurd!

  3. Delphin says:

    Yes, Kevin, it is more than absurd, it is criminal and it is the new persecution. All you will see in the media is the press attacking the Church during the new pope electoral deliberations and repeated references to old [discredited] information about the abuse matter that is already known to be a lie. As the US media lied to protect Obama to get him re-elected, and lied to undermine Romney, they now lie to undermine the US Church, which is the only entity standing between a full-blown replica of Sodom, which is their vision of a progressive America, and the decent citizens (aka taxpayers) of the country. The battle is on for our very souls, and the weapon the enemy (leftist media) uses is the lie that is the Catholic Church abuse matter.

    Satan is a liar [Comment edited by moderator]

    • jim robertson says:

      So now gay people don't pay taxes and we"'re not decent to boot?? You do drivil on.

      Gay people in fact pay more taxes than straight people. One of the big reasons gay people want to get married is that married couples pay less income taxes.

      We pay taxes to educate your children. We benefit by having an educated population (Hopefully).

      But then we have the Satanists (the dolts that believe he exists like you) telling children an imaginary boogie man is going to burn them for ever and ever.  Unless, they obey everything you tell them is true about all your imaginary friends.

      Talk about child abuse.

      [Comment edited by moderator.]

  4. malcolm harris says:

    I made a comment about this case a few days ago, but  I cannot get it out of my thoughts.

    Perhaps because 10 years of my life was spent in auditing, and that often requires great effort to separate fact from fiction. Good advice was given me by a former policeman, he said, "look at everything in terms of risk factors, the human mind weighs the risk"

    So bear with me as I try to put myself into the mind of Fr. Engelhardt, and weigh the risk from his perspective. Will proceed on the assumption that Danny Gallagher is telling the truth, for the sake of fairness. Which means that I must imagine myself a paedaphile. Well have heard that many paedaphiles go to prison. So must avoid being caught, that's for sure. Reckon I will seek out the most vulnerable boy, someone who is shy and reserved. He should come from a family who is also vulnerable. Like a divorced mother or single mother, on welfare. And I will befriend the family, as a sort of uncle.   Because if the boy does tell his mother, will be able to offer financial help and/or persuade her by force of dominant personality.

    On that basis you would have to conclude that Danny Gallagher would be the last boy he would target. Because Danny's father is a policeman, his mother a nurse, his older brother also a altar boy and he would know everything that's going on in the church. So logic and reason tells us that Danny is the least vulnerable of the boys. So if you believe Danny then you must also say that the alleged paedophile is hopeless at weighing the risk.

    Some will scoff at this reasoning and say that a paedohile is consumed with a "uncontrollable lust" and that's why he didn't weigh the risk. Well "uncontrollable" means just that, he would not be able to control his lustful desires. So why aren't there other victims? Logically a out- of- control monster would have had victims before Danny and victims after Danny. But no other boy has accused Fr. Engelhardt, Only Danny Gallagher, the least vulnerable  boy of all?.

    Nor can we overlook the fact that he has accused Avery and Sheso of the same crime,  Were they also incapable of weighing the risk, because remember that they also chose the least vulnerable of all the boys????

    A Judge has a responsibility to ensure that the defendent gets a fair trial. The jury are a case study of how easy it is to emotionally manipulate the minds of the jurors.

    This is a mockery of justice and the Judge should order a re-trial.


    Malcolm Harris

    March 12th.



    • jim robertson says:

      Malcom, regarding Danny's dad being a cop and how that should logicly have kept Danny out of danger.

      What's logical about adults sexualizing children?

      and I can only give you this example.

      Here in L.A. 3 sons of the leading football coach for the most expensive Catholic school were molested. And their Dad was a big athele himself a product of Catholic schools. Yet he, the priest took the "risk".

      Maybe knowing that with the help of his superiors he, if caught, could always depend on " a get out of town free" pass. Thanks to those "superiors". After all saving "priests" was the "priority". Helping the abused? not so much.

  5. Delphin says:

    Is it possible to have TMRs rules for comments posted (i've searched the site, can't locate them)? I am increasingly confused about edits/deletions that do not contain profanity, threats or other unacceptable phrases and language. I wish to follow TMRs rules, I just don't know them.

    Comments that are {edited by the moderater} can lose the meaning the commenter wishes to present in context.

    Or, if the moderator simply wishes to ratchet down (take out some of the "heat?) the debate, it would be good to know that as well. Thank you.

  6. Delphin says:

    Malcome- I think your theory and scenario re: the illogic of a seasoned sexual predator targeting Danny, a strong (not vulnerable) "victim" is brilliant. You present nature in motion, the weak and sick will be culled from the flock/herd unless there are absolutely no other choices.

    • jim robertson says:

      "Social Darwinism" is the exact opposite of Jesus. Nature may be cruel but we humans don't have to be. That's the very essence of Jesus's teaching.

      D has said: I and other victims weren't "strong or well " enough to stop our abuses. Unbelieveable!!!! I stopped mine the old fasioned way I reported it.

      D say's she supports Christianity but since she has no idea what Christianity is, she'll support what ever facist notion she can find.

      FYI Darwin never used the phrase "survival of the fitest" ever.

  7. Delphin says:

    The ramblings are worsening….


  8. jim robertson says:

    Darwin's contention was: the survival of the most adaptable.

  9. Delphin says:

    I guess the left's reparative/restorative justice doesn't extend to Catholics or their priests.

    Colorado seems to like it especially for their pedophiles. Well, at least the openly gay legislators like it.

  10. jim robertson says:

    Dem Gays! Dem Gays! Dem dirty Gays! Hey you can't have it both ways your priests are falsley accused but deserve forgiveness for what you claim they didn't do?

  11. Delphin says:

    Let's forgive the guilty priests, like Hollyweird forgave Polanski and all the other endemic child abusers out there, and how all lefties forgive Communist murderers and dictators. Does the lefty "give 'em cookies and milk" justice ever extend to conservatives, in or out of a church? Of course not. It isn't as much about the religion itself as is it about this partucular religions social ideology.

    Hey, how about our new Pope? I wonder what all those AIDS patients/victims he has selflessly served over the past few decades think about his conservative ideology?

  12. jim robertson says:

    Hollywierd, you are sophisticated.

    So far, the murders, Kissinger and Bush  have received the right wing's justice. You guys call it a government pension with health care.

  13. Delphin says:

    One only view the world to see which ideology works for (not against) mankind. The problem with some viewers perspectives is that their vision is clouded by hate for God, and love for Evil. It really is just that simple. It isn't even debatable.

  14. jim robertson says:

    How could I hate someone who I don't believe exists?

    As far as Loving Evil goes if that were true you and I would be much closer.

  15. Delphin says:

    Rejection and denial of God is hatred. Hatred is evil. The inability of the left ideologues to make logical links is astounding. It is why the socialists/communists ruin (degrade, putrify) everything they touch. It is their sheer hatred of God that continues to steer their sinking vessels even further into the mud.

    But, it is always darkest just before the dawn of light, so there is hope for their redemption.

  16. jim robertson says:

    LOL. If what you said were true I'd have to hate Santa, The Easter Bunny; and the Tooth Fairy.

    I wouldn't have time to hate that much.

    Any more imaginary things you want me to hate in order to obey your imaginary friends?

  17. Delphin says:

    But, you don't wage your dirty little wars against Santa, the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy, do you? How is it that our "imaginary thing" is so threatening to your evil idols?

  18. jim robertson says:

    "Evil Idols" ? Who Baal, Jupiter, Apollo?

    Gotterdamerung, the twighlight of all gods, is at hand including for yours.

    That's beause  superstition is no longer considered rational.

    Exactly what does "a dirty little war" against an imaginary diety look like?

    I'll quote another Idol: Billy, it must look like you're "dancing with your self".

  19. James says:

    I have a theory.  Jury convicted both the priest and teacher not on Gallagher's shoddy unbelievable testimony but on Avery's recanting the plea bargain as they feared it would implode the DA's shoddy unbelievable case against Msgr Lynn.  Jury apparently feared Lynn would be immediately released on bail once they acquitted both persons on trial.  And this would have happened.had the jury acquitted both persons.

    Or, the jury, led by a couple of powerful members, chose to ignore the evidence and convict anyway plus entered in an ironclad contractual agreement with each other never to speak to the media or to anyone about the trial verdict deliberations.

    The DA's shoddy handling of the case also blackens the hard work and dedicated corps of young ADA's who had questions about the veracity of the evidence.  It will only make it harder for them to get slots at Philadelphia's prestige law firms.  It was Prosecutor Seth Williams who made the decision to go that way and he has already cooked his chances of law firm employment and political aspirations.


    • malcolm harris says:

      You will have to forgive my persistent interest, but still cannot get the case of Fr. Egelhardt out of my mind.  Being retired does have a few of advantages. Because there is plenty of time to think things through. Also there is a lifetime of personal experience to fall back on, And am now less afraid of offending those who might disagree with me.

      This true story is about human nature, and how experience teaches us, usually from our mistakes. At the time was in my early twenties, and my buddy and I went to the YMCA to play table tennis (ping pong). All the tables were occupied and we waited patiently. There were a couple of kids (about 10 years old) dressed in judo costumes playing at one of the tables. After waiting for them to finish their allowed three games, we expected them to obey the convention and step aside. They didn't… and one of the kids was surprising defiant, saying that they were there first and that's that!  Taken aback we waited for them to finish their next game. But drew the line when they wanted to play a fifth game as well. We got angry and told them to get the hell out of it. They did… but the judo kid shouted over his shoulder as he left  " my dad is the judo instructor, and he's upstairs now, and am going to tell on you"

      He wasn't bluffing, and 15 minutes later his father appeared, complete with a judo black belt. Will spare you the predictable outcome, anyway it's too embarrassing for me. But what is relevant is this.

      1. Had I known who his father was , then I would never have bullied the judo kid. Yet Fr. Engelhardt must have known that Danny's father was a policeman. We are asked to believe that this didn't even cross the mind of the priest, that he went ahead and sexually abused Danny despite the enormous risk to himself.

      2. The judo kid was surprisingly confident and defiant, because of his father. Therefore it is reasonable to assume that Danny also was more self-confident that other boys, because his dad was a policeman.

      3. The judo kid ran and told his dad, because I bullied him. So how much more likely that Danny would run and tell his father, if an adult had sexually abused him? It would be a near certainty, given what I have observed in human nature. Nor can we overlook that Danny has also accused Avery and Shero of sexually abusing him too. And he still didn't run to tell his father, the policeman???????????

      I think the jury was prejudiced against the priest from the start. They were determined to convict him, and were prepared to forget all that life had taught them personally about human nature. A mockery of justice.


      25 March, 2013.





  20. jim robertson says:

    Malcom  are you related to by birth or marriage to any of the convicted clergy?

    In the macho world of police maybe Billy thought telling would show him not man enough.

    Or maybe he was afraid if he told his dad. His dad might kill the priest and go to jail or be killed himself.