In a shocking development in the ongoing Catholic Church abuse story in Philadelphia, TheMediaReport.com has learned that high-profile contingency lawyer Slade H. McLaughlin has issued a subpoena against veteran journalist Ralph Cipriano. McLaughlin is demanding that Cipriano reveal his sources for medical records of an alleged abuse victim who appears to be perpetrating a shocking fraud against Catholic priests and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
The medical records set the foundation for Cipriano's new blockbuster article in Philadelphia's The Independent Voice, which further examines the background and questionable allegations of abuse by accuser Dan Gallagher, who is McLaughlin's client in a high-stakes civil suit against the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
Exposing a fraud on the civil justice system?Gallagher has somehow successfully argued in criminal court that three different men (Fr. Charles Engelhardt, former teacher Bernard Shero, and former priest Ed Avery) abused him in the late 1990s when he served as an altar boy.
On the heels of criminal convictions and with McLaughlin at the helm, Gallagher has filed a civil lawsuit and now awaits a hefty settlement.
However, for the past 18 months, veteran writer Cipriano has doggedly investigated and exposed Gallagher's wild and varying tales of abuse and has called into serious question whether Gallagher's claims of abuse are outright fiction. (For the key background, see this, this, this, and this.)
In his latest missive, Cipriano exclusively exposes Gallagher's medical records that are related to his years-long, court-ordered treatment for severe drug addiction
Cipriano exclusively reports that between 2004 and 2013 Gallagher gave drug counselors and psychiatrists three radically different causes as the trigger for his drug addictions; and it was not until December 2011 that Gallagher finally claimed he was abused by priests, "[which] he did not talk about until two years ago." (Gallagher first reported his accusations to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in January 2009.)
Among Cipriano's other shocking revelations:
- Gallagher has claimed that he was a "professional surfer," although Cipriano says several sources say there has never been any evidence of this;
- Gallagher has claimed that he lost his license as a paramedic because of his arrests for drugs; yet there is no record of him ever being a paramedic; and
- Gallagher has claimed that his older brother was "arrested for sexual assault"; in fact, his brother has no criminal record and has never been arrested for anything.
Indeed, Cipriano's new article is a must-read.
Will the mainstream media go to the defense of one of their own?
While media outlets often disagree violently on ideologies, politics, and social issues, there is one thing in which they are in total agreement: forcing journalists to reveal their sources cannot be tolerated. A free press safeguarded by a vibrant First Amendment is the foundation of a democratic society.
If lawyers are able to intimidate and bully journalists into silence by seeking to force them to reveal their confidential sources, the truth and our free society are threatened.
Slade McLaughlin's bullying attack on Ralph Cipriano and the First Amendment needs to be rigorously opposed. Time will tell, however, if the mainstream media takes notice of this disturbing assault on freedom.
Here is the text from McLaughlin's chilling subpoena ("Plaintiff Billy Doe" is Dan Gallagher):
Any and all correspondence or emails, or other written or electronic information in your possession between you and any civil or criminal counsel for defendants, Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Bernard Shero, William Lynn, Edward Avery and Charles Engelhardt, and/or any person purporting to act on behalf of any of said defendants.
Any and all documents exchanged between you and any such individuals, but not limited to, the medical records of Plaintiff Billy Doe.
Any and all statements in your possession, written or recorded, given by any of the counsel for the defendants or by any person acting on behalf of said defendants.
Any materials of any kind provided by any counsel for any of the defendants, and/or any person purporting to act on behalf of said defendants.
Any and all medical records, or summaries of medical records, in your possession pertaining to Plaintiff Billy Doe.