Prosecutors in Philadelphia deliberately withheld evidence that would have exonerated a Catholic priest and a teacher wrongfully convicted of sex abuse, according to an explosive new court filing recently uncovered in an eye-opening article by investigative journalist Ralph Cipriano.
This remarkable development now adds yet another layer to the convincing case that three men – Rev. Charles Engelhardt, former teacher Bernard Shero, as well as ex-priest Edward Avery – are most certainly in prison serving time for crimes they never committed.
The accuser at the center of this episode, Dan Gallagher (who has since moved from Philly to sunny Florida), has bizarrely and wildly claimed that during the 1998-1999 school year, when he was a 10-year-old altar boy in Philadelphia, he was viciously raped and abused – sometimes for hours on end – by three separate men (Engelhardt, Shero, and Avery), all of whom barely even knew each other.
Prosecutors withholding critical evidence from the defenseAccording to Cipriano, defense attorneys for two of the men, Engelhardt and Shero, are asking for a new trial based on the prosecutors' alleged violation of the landmark ruling in the 1963 U.S. Supreme Court case Brady v. Maryland, which said that prosecutors cannot conceal "exculpatory evidence" that could exonerate a defendant.
Defense attorneys for the pair assert that Philly prosecutors did not disclose to them that the D.A.'s Office had interviewed a social worker who was a victims' assistance coordinator for the Archdiocese, and prosecutors did not turn over any record of what she told them.
The lawyers claim that had they known about this interview, the social worker's testimony would have corroborated a main witness in their defense, a different social worker who reinforced their case that the accuser's tales were a complete fabrication.
Adding to the mountain of evidence
And since the shocking conviction of Engelhardt and Shero in January of 2013, Cipriano has uncovered a mind-blowing mountain of evidence indicating that Gallagher most certainly falsely accused the trio of Engelhardt, Shero, and Avery:
- Even members of the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office itself did not believe Gallagher's wild claims and questioned whether they should even put Engelhardt and Shero on trial.
- Triple-accuser Gallagher has been arrested at least six times – once for possession of 56 bags of heroin – and has been in-and-out of some 23 drug re-habs.
[Check out a court summary of Gallagher's extensive arrest record]
- Gallagher even explicitly told drug counselors that he had "no history of physical or sexual abuse."
- On three separate occasions, Gallagher told drug counselors that his older brother had been arrested for molestation. In truth, Gallagher's older brother, James Gallagher, is a recently licensed attorney in Pennsylvania and has never been arrested at all.
- An alternate juror even came forward after the trial with the dramatic charge that the guilty verdicts against Engelhardt and Shero were "insane," "incredible," and "a tragic miscarriage of justice."
- 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.
- Ex-priest Avery not only passed a polygraph test indicating that he had never abused Gallagher, but he also told authorities he never even met him before. In addition, records later revealed that Gallagher never even served as an altar boy at Mass with Avery, as Gallagher had claimed.
- Fr. Engelhardt previously 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."
- Most notably, as we have relayed before, Gallagher has told separate tales of perverted abuse by the trio of men that not only defy any reasonable belief, but his tales have also varied wildly over time.
There is no doubt that a gross perversion of justice has occurred. But where is the mainstream media to report the story? As usual: Missing. In. Action.