Philadelphia Epilogue: Journalist Who Exposed Injustice in Clergy Abuse Trials Continues Quest For Justice

Dan Gallagher : Ralph Cipriano : Seth Williams

Exposing injustice: Journalist Ralph Cipriano (center)
uncovers the tales of accuser/addict Dan Gallagher (l) and Philly D.A. Seth Williams (r)

The wild and varying claims of abuse made by accuser Dan Gallagher that jailed Philadelphia priest Rev. Charles Engelhardt and former teacher Bernard Shero were "an x-rated fractured fairy tale" that "defied logic and common sense" and should have had Gallagher "laughed out of the D.A.'s office."

Veteran journalist Ralph Cipriano, who has tenaciously uncovered the vast web of fraud and corruption in the prosecution of Catholic clergy, is continuing his fight to spread the truth about the wrongful convictions that have now imprisoned innocent men for crimes they did not commit.

Justice out the window

Cipriano now reports that the trial last January took on the scene of a prosecutorial bullying match, further underscoring the miscarriage of justice in Philadelphia:

  • "many times" during the trial the jury "seemed to be dozing or nodding off, [yet] the one time they did pay attention though was when [Gallagher] took the stand";
  • the presiding judge, Ellen Ceisler, was "more concerned about breaking for lunch at the right time, and sending the jury home at a reasonable hour, rather than justice"; and
  • the trial actually began with the court crier reading aloud criminal offenses against the defendants that they weren't even charged with.

While it is well known – and expected – that prosecutors question adversarial witnesses aggressively, Cipriano observes, "There was an ugly edge to this trial." The Philly D.A.'s Office went well above and beyond mere diligent examination when questioning defense witnesses. They were barbaric, as Cipriano describes:

"Prosecutors know how to destroy ordinary citizens who didn't go to law school. They know how to win arguments. They know how to make the rest of us look stupid.

"In this case, the lead prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Mark Cipolletti, used those tactics against a hapless archdiocese social worker, and a bunch of veteran Catholic elementary school teachers who had no reason to lie. A trained legal pugilist took turns beating up a bunch of middle-aged women. It was sickening to watch.

"The prosecutors played a brutal game here."

Judicial nastiness

Ellen Ceisler : Judge Ellen Ceisler : Philadelphia

On time for lunch, not justice
Judge Ellen Ceisler

And the mean-spiritedness did not end at the conclusion of the trial. At the sentencing hearing earlier this month, Judge Ellen Ceisler issued brutal sentences against Engelhardt and Shero far exceeding the sentencing guidelines for the two men.

The cruelty of it all brought the families of both men to tears in the courtroom. And, according to Cipriano, what happened next is simply unbelievable:

"The judge had just hammered the defendants with long jail terms for crimes that never happened. The families of both men were sobbing.

"The court crier, previously noted for her inaccuracy in reading the actual charges against the defendants, went over to the grieving relatives and ordered every sobbing one of them to leave.

"'We're not allowed to cry?' asked Tracey Boyle, Father Engelhardt's niece.

"No, Tracey. When Judge Ellen Ceisler sends your beloved uncle the priest off to jail for a crime he didn't commit, you're not even allowed to cry about it."


Bye-bye to bigotry

Mariana Sorensen : Philadelphia

Former Asst. Philly D.A.
Mariana Sorensen

Cipriano correctly notes that this "travesty of justice" in Philadelphia began a "kangaroo court known as the grand jury," resulting in an "intellectually dishonest and error-filled grand jury report [which] was then trumpeted as gospel by the press."

Indeed, for over two years, the mainstream media acted as nothing less than the public relations arm for Philly District Attorney Seth Williams in his over-heated prosecution of Catholic clergy, never even questioning the legitimacy of Dan Gallagher's far-fetched claims, even though mounds of exculpatory evidence sat right in front of them.

In fact, according to Cipriano, when it came time for the trial, "The defense case was based almost entirely on the findings of the district attorney's own detectives … There was no evidence or witnesses that supported any of [Gallagher's] stories."

Whether it was simple journalistic laziness or bigotry against the Catholic Church, it was gross journalistic malfeasance, and there is no excuse for it.

Yet with so many people behind the witch hunt that unfolded in Philadelphia, Philly Assistant D.A. Mariana Sorensen deserves special notice.

Sorensen was a lead author of both the 2005 and 2011 grand jury reports targeting the Catholic Church. And much of what she crafted was pure fiction. (For a rebuttal to the 2005 report, see this. For a rebuttal to the 2011 report, see this and this.)

Now, Cipriano has exclusively reported that Sorensen left her job at the Philly D.A.'s Office last Friday.

A spokesperson for the district attorney's office told Cipriano that it was "ridiculous" that her departure had anything to do with her two bogus reports.

Cipriano asked us to respond with a comment about Sorensen's exit, and we kindly obliged. Check it out.

Good riddance.


  1. Delphin says:

    Philthadelphia is a degenerate-filled sewer. They are on a fast-track to self-destruction due to their government corruption, crime and city financial status. Their sewage also overflows  into the surrounding areas, putrifying region within a 50 mile radius of the Philth epicenter. I pray for the good people still stuck in that toilet.

    On the other hand, it will be entertaining to watch the rats flee the sewers when they run out of the good "meat", as they embark on their cannibalism. Sorensen must have suffered her first nip, already.

  2. jim robertson says:

    The only thing in a toilet around here is your mind.

  3. Delphin says:

    Personal attacks aside (because I would need to respect you as a truth-teller to care about or respond to your baseless and dishonest opinion of me), is the government of Philly good? Is there any falsehood to anything I've posted?  I am as entitled to theorize why a corrupt ADA bailed ship as anyone else, based on the same information everyone else has (ignoring the resident gnostics that claim otherwise).  I have first-hand knowledge, sans any biased gnostic filter, of the region, do you from 3K miles away? I have no dog in the Catholic Church vs. Bigots (i.e. fake victims) battle, I am neither "victim-survivor" nor cleric, I am simply an honest observer of the sad theatrics. In practice, I am more of an honest observer of these proceedings than you or any victims or accused because of my status of not being able to benefit from any outcome. We know your "story" already – you, by virtue of your own claims, have a BIG DOG in this fight.  You are clearly biased, so much so that you defend the corruption ("by any means necessary") of a once great city to gain your ends.

    So, who has the toilet mind here, the documented bigot (among a few other "extranormal" characteristics) with a dog in this fight, or just every one who doesnt agree with him?


  4. jim robertson says:

    I defend nothing but victims and Billy Doe thanks to the Philly JURY has been declared one.

    If I was "respected" by you? I 'd figure I must be doing something very wrong. You simply make up "facts" that aren't.  Good luck with that.

  5. Delphin says:

    Yeah, we can thank the OJ jury for their little gift, too, and scores of other similarly nullified juries.

    You still can't seem to ever identify one (single just one out, please) of those facts, by any poster here that opposes you and your little magical pixie-friend,  that is wrong, meanwhile. Just keep throwing your load out there, someone, somewhere will eventually be willing to "catch" it.

    Must be a mighty peaceful sleep that permits you to rest while innocent men languish in prison. There are no drugs powerful enough, though, to erase memories, and a conscience.

  6. jim robertson says:

    Neither O.J.'s nor Billy Doe's jury have been "nullified" by anyone. You may not agree but those juries verdicts stand. So lump it.

  7. Delphin says:

    ….still waiting for any elucidation of untruths, as you claim, in any of my posts….


    Tick tock.


  8. jim robertson says:

    Shall I start with God? The existence of Jesus? [edited by moderator]

    you don't , a, have any proof for your beliefs. b, have any ability to discern truth.. You believe in imaginary things and you tell everyone your imaginings are true when they aren't.

  9. Delphin says:

    BTW- it is clear by your response that you didn't understand the "nullification" reference.

    Here's a little help for you

    And, without doubt, THAT is exactly what happened in the OJ case and the recent Philthy skanky Doe-boy case.

    Can you spell A-P-P-E-A-L?

  10. Delphin says:

    Facts are those occurrences that are observed (using all, any of the five senses), unbiasedly, honestly, by others, many, and that can elicit the same results after rigorous and repeated testing, confirmation and validation, as presented in the natural world.

    I feel no need to convince you of my beliefs or faith, which transcend the natural world [edited by moderator]  - that is not what was ever on trial, and is not the subject of the debate on TMR.

    But, it is always interesting to see your beliefs and faith, in writing, and to be able to confirm and validate, time after time, your biases against the Catholic religion- which, of course, has no bearing on your opinions (not fact, again) about the Church abuse matter, I am sure.

    You disqualitfy yourself as an honest broker in these discussions, repeatedly, with your antiCatholic outbursts.

    Your "slip" is showing, again, girlie.

    Remember this: todays facts were yesterdays beliefs. You progressives are really so very regressive.


  11. jim robertson says:

    [edited by moderator] If yesterday people "believed" they could live for ever with their diety if they were obedient enough, that still does not make life after death or a god a FACT.  Lies can never "trancend" emperical truth.

    I'm biased against all imagining;" believing" oppressors. The Catholic Church is just one in a long line of scam artists. They have been like dyslexic Robin Hoods, robbing the poor to feed the rich.

  12. jim robertson says:

    And every time the clergy started  taking Jesus's words seriously, regarding the disenfranchised The hierarchy steps in to break those religious groups up. Remember Liberation Theology? Which was the very essence of Jesus teachings. Gone with the Papal wind. Instead sociopathy reigns. Logic based on illusion; becomes illusion.

  13. Delphin says:

    Oopsies, your red slip is showing now: Liberation Theology is nothing more than Marxist philosophy, pure and simple.

    But, if it'll open your eyes to supernatural possibilities, go for it, it's better than nothing-which is what atheism delivers.

    • jim robertson says:

      As if "nothing" isn't better than what you have to offer.

      Supernatural possibilities that were offered to about four different religious cults in ancient Rome. All offering personal savior gods. Just like yours. Only of course yours was the "true" one.

      [edited by moderator]

  14. Delphin says:

    The only empirical truth is that in our earthly life we live, from conception, and then we die. The before and after is open to anybody's interpretation; "anybody" on a spectrum from either of the "Dumb and Dumber" characters to Stephen Hawkin- no one knows and can only base their theories on beliefs (faith).

    I do find it intriguing that the medical (and physics, those whacky scientists) community is so intrigued by life-after-death experiences (reported by humans long before Christianity) that confirm Jesus' teachings they are developing empirical studies to generate data and undertake the rigorous testing model for that "transendance". I don't see any scientists doing the same for the atheists theory.

    It is apparent that you, too, have your beliefs. The debate here is about keeping them, and the inherent biases, thereby, resultant from them, from distorting the facts about the Church abuse matter. You can't seem to stay focused on the subject.

    • jim robertson says:

      [edited by moderator]

      You have the theory that there is a god therefore you are required to offer proof for that assertion.

      Atheists don't have to prove something isn't there when believers have no proof something is there.

  15. Delphin says:

    None of what is "offered" is MINE, you err, again.  Take your religious (faith, belief) evolution (don't you Atheists loved evolution?) grievance to the Jews and the Muslims (want to be there for that one), to writings of Aristotle and Socrates and a few other notable philosophers, think on it all for several thousand years, and then get back to us, ok?

    It is that "sameness" of belief in something "other than me" logic that supports faith. God is written on our hearts and wired into our DNA (as is our very status as Creatures); no wonder man struggled for generations to find the right answer. Jesus was sent to provide it once we were evolved enough to understand, and accept the Word.

    While Atheists struggle to support their religion with reliance on a different evolution, one that which degrades Man in the most inglorious and base way (which might be the attractant given their morality and lifestyle of many Atheists), the Truth has always been right under their arrogant noses.

    So, anyway, how about those deviant homosexuals "acting out" in the Yeshiva in NY – not a priest in the lot?

  16. jim robertson says:

    But they believed in god.

  17. jim robertson says:

    Who's more arrogant the people who've ruled western civilization for 2000 years; killing at will. Or the people who say stop your killing and imaginings and figure out how to live with each other.

    Ask the Catholics of Viet Nam how they've been "persecuted" since that Communist take over.

  18. Delphin says:

    You ask them, but, I doubt they'll be able to respond-

    If western civilization, thoroughly ingrained with/by Christianity, is so distasteful to you, where would you prefer to live – Asia, Middle East, Africa?

    Let me know how that works out for you.

  19. Delphin says:

    Creation is proof of God.

    What is your proof for Atheism? Big bang, evolution, prove it?

    Prove your mother loved you?

    Where is your proof that priests are still abusing minors or the Church is involved in a cover-up?

    Where is the proof that Billy Doe was abused, perhaps you can use that "evidence"  to support your Atheism case?

  20. jim robertson says:

    D getting angry still doesn't prove there's a god. You assert there is a god therefore the burden of proof belongs to you. I look around see absolutely no proof provided for a diety and ask for such proof. The burden of proof belongs to those who asert a fantasy as evidence. Our side need only hold out our hands saying show us. You say it's true; show us.You can not.

  21. Delphin says:

    Jim- Creation itself is proof of God to the majority of humankind, worldwide.

    It didnt create itself; and, it didn't big-bang or evolve itself into existence.

    Science can't do many things, it is limited, it can neither prove nor disprove God.

    The onus is on Atheists to develop a rigorously testable alternative hypothesis.

    Good luck with that.

    The rest of us already have our answer. Faith is a blessing.

    Blessings aren't testable, either.

  22. jim robertson says:

    But it did "create" itself. Lawrence Krauss explains "something from nothing"