Second Newsweek Blockbuster: Philly Abuse Accuser Who Sent Three Priests and Teacher To Prison Admits To False Abuse Claims and Making Up Stories

Ralph Cipriano : Philadelphia Catholic cases

Journalist Ralph Cipriano continues the fight for justice and the falsely accused

During a confidential deposition over two full days in May and June 2014, Dan Gallagher – the Philadelphia native whose varying and preposterous tales of abuse as an altar boy in the late 1990s landed three Catholic priests and a school teacher in prison – stated more than 130 times that he could not remember some very basic facts about his claims.

That is just one of the many eye-popping new details appearing in this week's issue of Newsweek uncovered by veteran journalist Ralph Cipriano, who continues to doggedly pursue the cause for justice for the wrongfully incarcerated men. (For those who are new to the Philly story, we suggest background here and here.)

Simply unreal

According to Cipriano, Gallagher stated in his deposition that he could not remember telling his doctors and drug counselors in the past that he had been:

  • sexually abused by a friend at age 6;
  • sexually abused by a neighbor at 6;
  • sexually abused by a teacher at age 7;
  • sexually molested at 6 (or 8) by an unknown assailant;
  • sexually molested at 8 (or 9) by a friend; and
  • sexually abused at 9 by a 14-year-old boy.

And Gallagher admitted at the deposition that none of these prior allegations were true.

[Note: Graphic descriptions of abuse accusations follow]

Dan Gallagher : Philadelphia priest accuser

Dan Gallagher celebrating
with a stogie

If all that were not enough, according to Cipriano, Gallagher also admitted that he somehow "didn't remember telling two archdiocese social workers wild stories about being anally raped by a priest for five hours in the church sacristy; being tied up naked with altar boy sashes by another priest; and being forced to suck blood off of the other priest's penis."

In addition, when Gallagher was asked about whether he remembered telling a drug counselor that his hands were tied during an alleged sexual assault by a priest, Gallagher simply replied, "I really don't remember what I told him."

"Were your hands ever tied up during any of the sexual assaults?" the questioner asked.

"No," Gallagher replied.

Remember that these admissions are in addition to many other facts that Cipriano has already uncovered, which call into question Gallagher's claims, such as:

  • Gallagher has admitted that he lied when he said he worked as a paramedic and a "professional surfer" (yes, a professional surfer from Philadelphia);
  • Even members of the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office itself did not believe Gallagher's wild claims and questioned whether they should even move forward with the case;
  • An alternate juror even came forward after the trial in which Gallagher put two priests and a teacher in prison with the dramatic charge that the guilty verdicts were "insane," "incredible," and "a tragic miscarriage of justice."

Scientific evidence

Yet in his deposition, the one story that Gallagher did obstinately stick to was his wild drama of being raped by two priests and a schoolteacher.

Oh, and Gallagher did admit to being a drug dealer and being arrested a half dozen times for drugs and retail theft. [Check out a court summary of Gallagher's extensive arrest record.]

And as far as the oft-heard claim from victim advocates and Church-suing lawyers that "memory lapses" from Gallagher stem from the trauma of his sexual abuse, Cipriano quotes Dr. James I. Hudson, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the director of the biological psychiatry laboratory at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts, who declares:

"There is no legitimate scientific evidence that psychological trauma can cause the massive amount of inconsistencies and contradictions that is exhibited by Mr. Gallagher's reports of the allegations of sexual abuse."


And the Philly Inky remains silent

After Cipriano's second article about the case appeared last week in Newsweek – his first article was in January – wrote to Philadelphia Inquirer Editor-in-chief Bill Marimow and other editors at the Inky to ask if there were any plans to finally expose this fraud to its readers in Philadelphia.

It would seem to be the least they could do after running scores and scores of front-page articles promoting Gallagher's dubious claims and giving free publicity to publicity-hound D.A. Seth Williams, who organized the witch hunt against the three priests and Catholic school teacher.

Not surprisingly, we have received no response.


  1. Publion says:

    On, then, to JR’s of the 14th at 1118AM, referring to my comment of the 13th at 251PM.

    Let’s see.

    The first thing to note is that he no longer deploys his ‘child rape’ description. Instead we get “attacked sexually” – which reflects recent discoveries here, but still leaves us with the credibility of JR as an allegant for the ‘sexual attack’.

    And then he tries to steer for the ever-congenial high-ground of victimization: when he claimed that he was “raped”, then is he – poor little he? – to be held responsible for using that term and thus consequently now suffering the implication that he was “lying”?

    Well – not to put too fine a point on it – Yes. The term ‘rape’, especially used in a legal context but also in a moral context, has a very very definite denotation. And that term – as was established here on a recent thread – is not in any way applicable to the case (no sexual penetration, over the age of 16 at the time) here.

  2. Publion says:

    Continuing with my comment on JR’s of the 14th at 1118AM:

    Had he said that he ‘preferred’ to think he was child-raped, then it might have been a more justifiable deployment of the term. But then, you don’t build a Stampede on careful distinctions.

    Having thus made his stab at the victim-y high-ground, JR will then immediately doff the Wig of Outraged Innocence and settle down for something in the distracting-epithet line, ever more congenial to him: I am “the defender of rapists”, of course, and – with a repellent slyness – I only ‘think’ that I’ve “made a major point” about the non-veracity of his claim.

    He was not raped nor quite possibly a child. That does quite a bit to a claim of ‘child rape’.

  3. Publion says:

    Continuing with my comment on JR’s of the 14th at 1118AM:

    And he then deploys another repellently sly bit: he creates something I never said in order to justify putting his Wig of Victimization back on: “If I wasn’t penetrated I wasn’t harmed”. I never said that (but accuracy that doesn’t serve his purposes doesn’t seem to appeal to JR).

    To recap my basic position: first, we have to establish that a certain act X happened; then we have to establish that the harms claimed (or derangements presently exhibited) by the allegant were a direct and specific result of the claimed act X (and not, say, characteristics that had been there before the alleged act X was committed). And we have to consider if it is considered actually possible by relevant science that such characteristics or harms could be caused by the alleged act X.

    But, with the Wig back on, he still can’t avoid stepping out of character (or, rather, into his basic one) to deliver his concluding epithet.


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