SPECIAL REPORT Philadelphia: Who Is Mariana Sorensen?

Mariana Coleman Sorensen has been an Assistant District Attorney in Philadelphia for several years. She is the current prosecutor in the high-profile 2011 Philadelphia clergy abuse cases.

Ms. Sorensen's alliances and actions suggest that she has a deep animus against the Catholic Church. Her associations with the bitter and dishonest advocacy group SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) are undeniable.


- In 2006, John Salveson, who was head of the Philadelphia chapter of SNAP, decided to form his own organization called "The Foundation to Abolish Child Sex Abuse Inc." (FACSA). Among Salveson's first actions at his new group was assigning Sorensen to his board of directors. (See a news brief about this.)

- In a mean-spirited 2006 opinion article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Sorensen argued for lifting the statute of limitations for abuse claims. Yet her desire for this legislation seemed almost singly rooted in her eagerness to punish the Catholic Church.

- Also in 2006, Sorensen co-wrote a nasty letter to then-Cardinal Justin Rigali of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, recklessly accusing the archbishop of being callous and uncaring in light of priests committing "countless child rapes."

- On September 25, 2007, Sorensen eagerly attended a conference in New York City ("Call to Action") composed and hosted by SNAP attorney Marci A. Hamilton. Sorensen sat in close proximity to the national director of SNAP as well as John Salveson. (TheMediaReport.com has posted must-see video of this event.)

- Ms. Sorenson was the lead author of the 2005 Philadelphia grand jury report, running 418 pages (!). The acrimony of this report against the Catholic Church cannot be overstated. The report was so erroneous and hostile that the Archdiocese of Philadelphia actually issued a 73-page response. The archdiocese cited the report's "sensationalized, lurid, and tabloid-like presentation of events." It retorted that the report's reckless claims of a Church "cover-up" were "categorically false." It especially took offense to the "cruel and undeserved portrayal" of Cardinal Bevilacqua after a notably harsh deposition in 2003.

- Ms. Sorensen was also the lead author of the high-profile Philadelphia grand jury report from earlier this year (February 2011). In addition to its brute mean-spiritedness, the report contains a number of fallacious and misleading claims, which TheMediaReport.com has carefully chronicled. Sadly, the media has almost universally accepted the wild claims in the report.

Sorensen's venom is further catalogued with her recent actions in the courtroom. Most recently (August 2011), Sorensen urged the judge overseeing the Philadelphia cases to allow her to question Cardinal Archbishop Emeritus Bevilacqua for testimony in advance of the March 2012 trial. She made this request even though she fully knows that the former archbishop is 88 years old and reportedly suffers from prostate cancer and dementia. (Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina, who has been notably biased in favor of the prosecution, ordered the ailing cardinal to appear at a September 12, 2011, hearing to "determine his competency." Ugh.)

The bias and animus of Sorensen certainly helps to explain the deep hostility and acrimony with which Philadelphia has aggressively and unfairly targeted the Catholic Church in recent years.

Indeed, Sorensen has not targeted any other organization for its past sins (The School District of Philadelphia, anyone?) with the same enthusiasm and zeal as she has with the Catholic Church.

Those with the dream of prosecuting and bludgeoning the Catholic Church could not find a better ally than Mariana Sorensen.