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Giving readers an unvarnished, uncensored, insider's view of the biggest courtroom dramas.

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    By Ralph Cipriano

    When the state Attorney General's investigators first came to see Mike McQueary in 2010, McQueary claimed he knew that they were there to talk to him about Jerry Sandusky. Even though nine years had passed since McQueary allegedly saw a naked Sandusky cavorting in the showers with an underage boy.

    But a few reporters familiar with the case have long believed that McQueary was lying. And that when the investigators from the state Attorney General's office showed up, McQueary was actually worried that he was in big trouble for a couple of reasons.

    Why? McQueary, a former Penn State quarterback and assistant coach, supposedly was betting on Penn State football games. McQueary also supposedly had used a Penn State phone to text photos of his privates to coeds who weren't his wife.

    Today, one of those reporters who believes McQueary was lying just blew up McQueary, a female source, and quite possibly himself. John Ziegler did it by posting text messages and graphic photos on his website to show that seven years after he was visited by the AG, McQueary allegedly is still texting photos of his privates. And this time, to keep the scandal all in the PSU soap opera family, the gal McQueary allegedly was texting to was the former fiancé of Joe Amendola, Sandusky's former defense lawyer.

    It's a story about porn but the reporter who broke it has a serious purpose behind his tawdry tale.

    The whole Penn State grand jury report was built around Mike McQueary's alleged witnessing of Jerry Sandusky's alleged anal rape of a boy in the showers.

    Even though investigators subsequently claimed that they never found the alleged victim of that alleged 2001 rape. And McQueary himself told the AG's office that he never said he witnessed penetration, but that the grand jury report had "twisted" his words.

    So the whole credibility of the Penn State cases rises and falls, so to speak, with Mike McQueary, the star whistleblower.

    If McQueary was lying about knowing right away what the AG's investigators wanted to talk to him about, Ziegler wrote, "It also meant that Mike was particularly vulnerable to being manipulated by the authorities."

    Ziegler is known as a crusading reporter who became convinced hat Jerry Sandusky was innocent of the 45 charges that he was found guilty of. In furtherance of what may be construed as a suicide mission, Ziegler reveals that a couple of his original sources for the dirt on Mike McQueary were none other than former Penn State president Graham Spanier, and Jay Paterno, the son of the late football coach Joe Paterno.

    Ziegler also credits Jay Paterno with the funniest line in the story. It happened when Jay quipped after allegedly seeing an earlier crotch shot from McQueary, "Well, it's either Mike or Ronald McDonald," referring to McQueary's flaming red hair.

    But Ziegler isn't the only reporter who was onto the McQueary sexting story. On his website, Ziegler has posted a tape from 2014 where ESPN reporter Don Van Natta "bragged he had the entire penis picture story covered, all the way down to the phone records of Mike's panicked calls to friends convinced that his career would be over once Joe Paterno found out about the pictures," Ziegler wrote.

    The penis picture part of the story, however, never made it into the ESPN story. But the posted audio shows Van Natta was clearly convinced he had that part of the story nailed down.

    Deadspin also speculated in 2014 that way back during a 1995 blowout victory over Rutgers, McQueary, then the Penn State QB, came in to throw a last-minute Hail Mary just to beat the point spread.

    John Snedden, a former special agent for the federal government who did a background check on Graham Spanier, said he was surprised to read the sexting story about McQueary.

    "It certainly doesn't seem to be indicative of somebody who would be a credible witness in a sex-related case," Snedden said. "It certainly casts doubt on any credibility he [McQueary] might have if you're running around doing that."

    In his blog post, Ziegler explains why he outed the woman in the story that McQueary was allegedly sexting. First, Ziegler says, the woman was the instigator in contacting both Ziegler and McQueary. She also promised to come on Ziegler's podcast and tell all, the reporter writes.

    "One, when she backed out of our agreement, I was no longer bound by my part of it," Ziegler wrote. "Second, I just don't give a damn anymore."

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    By George Anastasia

    The Tribeca Film Festival ended last month with a screening of The Godfather and its sequel The Godfather Part II. The tribute marked the 45th anniversary of the release of one of the best movies ever made.

    The Don Corleone saga has been hailed as one of the greatest pieces of cinematic story telling in American history. But the impact of the movies went far beyond the silver screen. It helped solidify an image or perception of "men of honor" and a code of conduct -- omerta -- that gave nobility to a group of outlaws. If those men and that code ever existed, they disappeared two generations ago.

    For more about Mafia myths read here in The Washington Post.

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    The Star Of Billy Doe's Junkie Hustle
    By Ralph Cipriano

    Detective Joe Walsh wasn't buying the BS that Danny Gallagher was peddling.

    Back in March 2012, Walsh was prepping Danny Gallagher, AKA "Billy Doe," for his role as the D.A.'s star witness in the child endangerment case against Msgr. William J. Lynn, scheduled to go to trial in just a few weeks. Walsh was quizzing the former altar boy  about his claim that he was high on drugs when he told two social workers "graphic details" about violent rapes and beatings he  supposedly suffered at the hands of two priests and a Catholic schoolteacher.

    But Walsh had interviewed Gallagher's father, a Philadelphia police sergeant, who said his son wasn't high on drugs the morning he talked to the two social workers. Because just a few minutes earlier, the father had driven his sober son home from the drug clinic. Danny Gallagher had also told many of those same graphic details the day before to his drug counselor, who told Walsh that Gallagher wasn't high when he made those same accusations.

    "I asked" Gallagher about "all those graphic details," Walsh wrote in a blockbuster, 12-page affidavit filed Monday in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court. Those graphic details included allegations of brutal anal rapes, death threats, getting tied up naked with altar sashes, strangled with a seatbelt and being beaten by his assailants.

    In his affidavit, Walsh said he asked the D.A.'s star witness: "Did he just make all that up?" According to the detective, that's when Gallagher admitted, "He just made up stuff and told them anything."

    The D.A. Who Staged A Witch Hunt With A Fraudulent Star Witness
    The startled detective asked a follow-up question.

    "So I asked him did he lie about what happened when he told [the drug counselor] and the two women about what he said occurred," Walsh wrote. "He said yeah I guess so," Walsh quoted Gallagher as saying.

    "I asked him if he was lying about anything else and he would not answer me," Walsh wrote. "He just sat there and did not answer me."

    But Walsh came to his own conclusions about the truth of Danny Gallagher's allegations of abuse. In his affidavit, Walsh states three different times that he concluded that Gallagher wasn't telling the truth when he claimed he was raped in separate attacks by two priests and a Catholic schoolteacher.

    For five years, this blog has published a steady stream of grand jury transcripts, formerly confidential police records, medical records and psychiatrist's reports showing that Danny Gallagher was most probably lying at the grand jury and at two criminal trials when he made fantastic accusations of rape that sent three priests and a schoolteacher to jail. But Walsh's 12-page affidavit is a master's thesis on the subject, told in chronological order by the ultimate insider; the veteran homicide detective brought out of retirement by the D.A.'s office to lead the investigation into Gallagher's claims.

    Walsh's inside account is packed with irrefutable facts, and will go down as the authoritative word on this legal travesty. The retired detective's account not only destroys what's left of Gallagher's credibility, but also the credibility of the D.A.'s office under Rufus Seth Williams.

    According to Walsh's account, the detective repeatedly informed the prosecutor in the case, former Assistant District Attorney Mariana Sorensen, that Gallagher wasn't a credible witness. Walsh also informed Sorensen that there was no evidence that backed up Gallagher's fantastic stories, and that the evidence gathered by Walsh actually contradicted Gallagher.

    Yet, according to Walsh, ADA Sorensen went ahead with the prosecution anyway, repeatedly saying that she believed Gallagher. No matter what the facts said, as told to her by the D.A.'s own lead investigator, Detective Walsh.


    Rufus Seth Williams remains in office as the District Attorney of Philadelphia, despite a 23-count federal indictment against him charging bribery, extortion, wire fraud and honest services fraud. The D.A.'s criminal trial is scheduled to start May 31st. Williams has stubbornly refused to step down from office despite repeated calls for his resignation from the governor of Pennsylvania, the mayor of Philadelphia, and the chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association.

    As Williams heads off to his political corruption trial, Walsh's 12-page affidavit ensures that the legal crusade that the D.A. claims was his great accomplishment of his eight-year tenure in office --- his self-described "historic" prosecution of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia -- goes up in flames.

    Instead, thanks to Walsh's revelations, the D.A.'s historic prosecution has been revealed as a state-sponsored witch hunt built around a complete fraud of a victim; a star witness that even the D.A.'s own staffers knew wasn't credible. A witch hunt that sent four innocent men to jail for imaginary crimes that came from the mouth of a lying junkie criminal with no conscience.
    Judge Ellen Ceisler Sent Two Innocent Men To Jail; One Died There

    One of those innocents, Father Charles Engelhardt, died in jail after he spent his last hours handcuffed to a hospital bed. While the priest was under armed guard, and denied potentially life-saving heart surgery.

    This, after he was falsely accused by a grand jury report packed with lies, hung out to dry in the media, and railroaded to his fate in a kangaroo court presided over by Judge Ellen Ceisler.

    Walsh's 12-page affidavit reveals the depths of corruption in the D.A.'s office, in the form of intentional prosecutorial misconduct.

    All the information detailed by Walsh -- the extended questioning of Gallagher, Gallagher's responses and non-responses, the lies Walsh caught Gallagher telling, and the failure by Sorensen to do anything about Walsh's repeated warnings that Gallagher was a non-credible witness -- all of that constitutes so-called "Brady violations." None of this material was ever turned over to the defense by the prosecution in blatant violation of Brady v. Maryland. That's the landmark 1963 U.S. Supreme Court decision that established that prosecutors have a duty to turn over any evidence that could potentially benefit a defendant in a criminal case.

    Judge Gwendolyn N. Bright has already ruled that some of the evidence of prosecutorial misconduct disclosed by Walsh during a pre-trial hearing in January amounted to violations of Brady v. Maryland serious enough to warrant  a new trial for Msgr. Lynn.

    Lynn was the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's former secretary of clergy from 1992 to 2004, who had a supervisory role over sexually abusive priests. He made national and international headlines when he became the first Catholic administrator in the country to go to jail in the clergy's sex abuse scandal, after a jury convicted him in 2012 of one count of endangering the welfare of a child. The crime Lynn was convicted of: placing an abusive priest, Father Edward V. Avery, back in active ministry where he allegedly raped Gallagher.

    But Judge Bright declared from the bench that the Brady violations in the Lynn case did not reach the level of intentional prosecutorial misconduct that occurred in the infamous Main Line murders case, which was so egregious that a convicted murderer, former high school principal Jay Smith,  walked off death row.

    Judge Bright, however, never read Walsh's affidavit.

    Lynn's lawyers are now appealing Judge Bright's decision to state Superior Court. Armed with Walsh's 12-page affidavit, the Superior Court, which has twice already overturned the original guilty verdict in the Msgr. Lynn case, may make it a trifecta. The state Superior Court could decide to blow out any possible retrial in the Msgr. Lynn case on the grounds of intentional prosecutorial misconduct and double jeopardy

    It would be a fitting end for this legal travesty where our corrupt D.A. was so hungry for headlines he was willing to put a star witness on the stand that his own people knew wasn't credible.

    At the head of the list of Danny Gallagher's skeptics was Detective Walsh, a 35-year veteran of the police department, and a detective for 19 years prior his retirement in 2005. Walsh wrote his affidavit for the benefit of Jeffrey W. Ogren and George Bochetto, the lawyers handling the appeal for Bernard Shero, the former Catholic schoolteacher now serving 8 to 16 years in jail for raping Danny Gallagher.

    It was the D.A.'s office in 2011 that summoned Walsh back from retirement to investigate the fantastic allegations of abuse made by Danny Gallagher. Walsh's affidavit may turn out to be Shero's ticket out of jail, where he's served four years for a crime that never happened.


    Here are the "graphic details" that Danny Gallagher admitted to Detective Walsh that he lied about when he told his stories of abuse to two social workers for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, as well as to his drug counselor:
    Falsely Accused: Ed Avery; Served 5 Years In Jail For Imaginary Crimes

    -- Gallagher had originally claimed that Father Engelhardt had attacked him after a 6:15 a.m. Mass in the sacristy of St. Jerome's Church in Northeast Philadelphia. The priest, according to Gallagher,  had supposedly locked all four doors of the sacristy, stripped off his priestly garments, and then forced the boy to have oral sex. Next, Gallagher claimed, the naked rampaging priest flipped him over and pounded away with five hours of brutal anal sex. And when it was over, Gallagher claimed, the priest threatened to kill him if he told anybody about it.

    --  Gallagher had originally claimed that Father Edward V. Avery had "punched him in the head" and knocked him unconscious. When Gallagher supposedly woke up in a storage closet at the church, he claimed he was naked and that the priest had tied him up with altar sashes. Avery then allegedly anally raped the altar boy so brutally, Gallagher claimed, that he "bled for a week." Gallagher also claimed that Avery allegedly forced the altar boy to suck blood off the priest's penis.

    -- Gallagher had originally claimed that his homeroom teacher, Bernard Shero, had punched him in the face and attempted to strangle him by wrapping a seat belt around his neck. Before he supposedly raped the boy in the back sat of Shero's car. And when it was over, Shero allegedly threatened that if Gallagher told anybody, Shero would make his life "a living hell."

    But when Gallagher told his story of abuse to the police and grand jury, all those allegations mentioned above were dropped from the story -- the anal rapes, the punch in the head from Avery, the punch in the face from Shero, the threats from the priests, the claim about the altar boy being tied up naked with sashes, strangled with a seatbelt, and forced to suck blood off a priest's penis.

    All of those allegations, Danny Gallagher admitted to Detective Walsh, were a pack of lies.

    Instead, Gallagher spun a completely new tale of abuse about oral sex and mutual masturbation with his alleged assailants. The revised tale featured brand new story lines about Father Engelhardt showing the altar boy pornography and plying him with sacramental wine in the sacristy. And Father Avery forcing poor Danny to perform a strip tease to music. And when he was asked under oath about his previous, more violent stories, Gallagher further perjured himself at the grand jury and two criminal trials by repeatedly and falsely claiming he was high on drugs.


    On the first page of his affidavit, Walsh described how, during a previous three-year investigation of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the detective read and reviewed more than 250 "secret archive files."

    Falsely Accused Fr. Charles Engelhardt; Died In Prison
    These were 45,000 pages of files stored in a locked safe that detailed the history of sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, as committed by 169 priests against hundreds of innocent children, dating back to the 1940s. During his investigation, Walsh interviewed many victims of sex abuse, as well as abuser priests.

    Because of that prior investigation, Walsh writes, he knew that Danny Gallagher's tales didn't square with the documented secret history of sex abuse in the archdiocese pried loose by multiple subpoenas from the District Attorney's office under former D.A. Lynne Abraham.

    "The most important thing I discovered was that in all of the cases turned over, there was a grooming process of the child and their family over a period of time," Walsh wrote. "The priest would buy the child gifts and take them on trips, or go on trips and vacations sometimes with the child's entire family."

    Abuser priests "would have dinner with them at their home, or the child would have dinner or lunch with him [victim] at the rectory," Walsh wrote. In the secret archive files, abuser priests "would befriend both the family and child before sexually abusing the child."

    But that's not what happened in the case of Danny Gallagher. When he typed his affidavit, Walsh switched to capital letters and boldface type, so that nobody could miss his next two points:




    In November 2011, Gallagher and his parents came to the District Attorney's Office to met with detectives and ADA Mariana Sorensen. Gallagher's mother brought along her monthly calendars from 1998 where she wrote down the dates her two altar boy sons were scheduled to serve at Mass. The schedules were sent home on a monthly basis by Father Joseph B. Graham, pastor of St. Jerome's Church in Northeast Philadelphia.  Gallagher's mother had previously given the D.A.'s office all her monthly calendars from 1999 to 2001.

    At the conclusion of the meeting, Walsh walked the Gallagher family to the elevator. Gallagher's father, Sgt. James Gallagher Sr., "pulled me aside and asked if I believed what his son said actually occurred," Walsh wrote. Walsh said he told the father he was just getting involved in the investigation and "really didn't have an opinion."

    Falsely Accused: Msgr. William J. Lynn; Served 33 Months In Jail
    Walsh then turned the tables on the elder Gallagher, telling the father that Danny was his son; what did he think?

    The father's reply, according to
    Walsh: "He said he didn't know what to believe," the detective wrote. "He said he didn't know if his son was lying or telling the truth. Then he asked me if it turns out his son was lying could he be arrested for perjury. I told him we just want to find out out the truth."

    Danny Gallagher had claimed that Father Engelhardt assaulted him after a 6:15 a.m. Mass in December 1998, when he was a 10-year-old fifth grader. But his mother's calendars showed Danny Gallagher wasn't scheduled to serve at any 6:15 a.m. Mass during the entire 1998-99 school year, the detective wrote.

    "I brought this to the attention of Mariana Sorensen and made her aware of the discrepancies the calendars provided," Walsh wrote. "I don't recall her response."

    In his 12-page affidavit, Walsh went on to describe the other lies he caught Gallagher telling. Walsh also kept score of the three different stories Gallagher told authorities about his alleged assault by Father Engelhardt, the three different stories Gallagher told about his alleged assault by Father Avery, and the three different stories Gallagher told about his alleged assault by Bernard Shero.

    It was Walsh's job in the weeks before the Msgr. Lynn trial to try and figure out which of these various stories were true.

    The conclusion that the detective ultimately arrived at: none of the above.


    "Sometime in March 2012, I contacted Daniel Gallagher and asked him to come to the District Attorney's Office for a case prep to clarify some of the information and discrepancies he provided and to go over his possible testimony," Walsh wrote. "He agreed and came into the office and we went into a conference room. I explained to him that there were many inconsistencies in his various stories and we needed to go over them."

    The Instruments Of The Bell Choir
    One of the stories Walsh wanted to review with Gallagher concerned the bell choir at St. Jerome's Church.

    Gallagher had told the police and the grand jury that while in the fifth grade, he was a member of the bell maintenance crew, which assisted the bell choir.

    As a member of the bell crew, Gallagher told the grand jury and the police that he was allegedly putting the bells and tables after a bell choir concert away when he was first approached by Father Edward V. Avery.

    Avery, according to Gallagher, told him that he heard about Father Engelhardt's sex "sessions" with Gallagher, and that Gallagher's sessions with Father Avery were about to begin. In the 2011 grand jury report, ADA Sorensen presented this story straight from the lying lips of Gallagher, as absolute truth.

    The bell crew was a group of 8th grade boys who set up the tables and bells before a concert by the bell choir. But Danny Gallagher had claimed that he was a member of the bell crew as a fifth grader.

    In the affidavit, Walsh stated that he told Gallagher how he had interviewed the music director at St. Jerome's, and several teachers. "And they all informed me that only 8th grade boys were used in the bell crew because of the weight of the tables and cases of bells and that no 5th grade boy would have been in the bell crew," Walsh wrote.

    The tables weighed 32 pounds each, Walsh wrote. The bell crew also had to carry three large cases containing a total of 36 heavy metal bells. [According to his medical records, 10-year-old Danny Gallagher weighed only 63 pounds].

    At the trial of Engelhardt and Shero, the defense introduced school yearbooks from St. Jerome's that backed up the teachers' testimony that only eighth graders served on the bell maintenance crew.

    "Also, they said that he [Gallagher] was not in the bell choir, and it was the bell choir who put all the tables and bells away, not the bell crew," Walsh wrote. Because after the bell crew helped the bell choir set up, the boys in the bell crew left the church and did not stay for the concert. So it fell to the members of the bell choir, which included two of the teachers that Walsh had interviewed, to put the bells and tables away, the detective wrote.

    "When confronted with this information, Gallagher could not provide an answer and remained quiet with his head down," Walsh wrote. "I told him that at the trial the judge would instruct him that he had to answer the lawyers' questions, that he just could not be able to not answer the questions."

    "Gallagher remained silent and did not provide an answer," Walsh wrote. "I concluded all this information was a lie."


    Falsely Accused: Bernard Shero; Serving 8 To 16 Years
    Walsh asked Gallagher how he got to St. Jerome's Church to serve at the 6:15 a.m. Mass in December where he was supposedly raped by Father Engelhardt. Gallagher, whose family lived less than a mile away from the church, said he walked.

    But Gallagher's older brother, James Jr., also an altar boy at St. Jerome's, had told Detective Walsh that his parents always drove him to church when he served at Mass, and then drove him home after Mass, so he could get ready for school. James Jr. had also told Walsh that his parents did the same thing for Danny.

    But Danny Gallagher claimed that after he was abused by Father Engelhardt, he sat on the steps at St. Jerome's and waited for the school to open.

    Wash told Danny Gallagher that the 6:15 a.m. Mass lasted only 20 minutes, and school didn't open until 7:30 a.m.

    "I asked Gallagher to explain why his parents would permit him to walk approximately one mile from their house to the church carrying his cassock and school books at 6:00 a.m. in the dark, in December, when his older brother said he always got a ride to and from church when he served 6:15 a.m. Mass," Walsh wrote.

    "I asked him how his parents would permit him to sit outside school for about one hour after Mass waiting for school to open," Walsh wrote. "I told Gallagher I didn't believe his parents would permit him to walk to church at 6:00 a.m. and then remain outside school for about one hour."

    "Gallagher didn't answer me," Walsh wrote. "He remained silent. I concluded he was lying that this occurred. I also concluded Gallagher was not sexually abused by Fr. Engelhardt."

    Scene From Philadelphia's Catholic Witch Hunt
    Next, Walsh asked Gallagher about his claim that Fr. Avery had ordered him to remain in the sacristy after a Saturday afternoon Mass, and then had him preform a strip tease to music, before he sexually abused him.

    Gallagher had also claimed that after he was raped by Fathers Engelhardt and Avery, whenever he was scheduled to serve Mass with either priest, he would switch assignments with another altar boy.

    This was another Gallagher lie printed verbatim as truth in the 2011 grand jury report, which even supplied a motive for the altar boy's switching of Masses. "But, like many children who are sexually abused, he [Billy Doe] was too frightened and filled with self-blame to report what had been done to him," the grand jury report said.

    But the actions "Billy Doe" described, switching Masses to avoid alleged abusers, were disproved by the actual facts in the case, as uncovered by Detective Walsh.

    Walsh asked Gallagher how he could have known which priest was serving Mass because the schedule changed daily. The schedule of priests serving Mass was posted only in the rectory, where Gallagher wouldn't have access to it. Only priests had access to the Mass schedule.

    Walsh asked Gallagher how he could claim that he was sexually abused by Father Avery after a funeral Mass in July 1999. When the church register that listed all funeral Masses as well as all the priests who served at them showed that Avery had served at no funeral Mass.

    In his affidavit, Walsh stated that he confronted Gallagher by showing him the church register.

    "After a very long pause Gallagher then said there were two priests there who said the Mass. And that the other priest went to the cemetery and Fr. Avery remained at the church," Walsh wrote. "I then asked [Gallagher] where was the sexton, [an older man who was a church volunteer] who had to clean the altar and put the vestments away and put everything else away after Mass."

    "When I questioned Gallagher about all these discrepancies, he just put his head down and did not answer me," Walsh wrote. "I asked him several times for an answer, but he would not answer me. I concluded Gallagher was not sexually abused by Fr. Avery."

    Inky's Perfect Scorecard: 59 Billy Doe Stories; All Wrong 
    Finally, Walsh asked Gallagher about his alleged sexual assault by Shero. And Gallagher's original claims, as related to two social workers and a drug counselor, that Shero had punched him in the face before he attempted to anally rape him.

    That was when Gallagher stated he was high on drugs and didn't remember what he told the social workers or the drug counselor.

    But Walsh knew from his investigation that none of it was true. In the affidavit, Walsh related how he explained to Gallagher that he had interviewed a trio of witnesses -- the drug counselor, one of the social workers, as well as Gallagher's own father -- and the three witnesses "all said he [Gallagher] was not high on drugs."

    "Gallagher didn't answer me," Walsh wrote. "He put his head down and refused to answer. I concluded that Gallagher was not sexually abused by Mr. Shero."


    While Detective Walsh came to the conclusion that Danny Gallagher was a liar, Assistant District Attorney Mariana Sorensen refused to change her initial view, that Gallagher was telling the truth. That's why she wrote lie after lie as told by Gallagher into the 2011 grand jury report that contains some 20 factual errors.

    The lies of Danny Gallagher that were told in the grand jury report include:

    -- Gallagher as a fifth-grader was a member of the bell crew.

    -- Gallagher was  high on heroin when he talked to the social workers.

    -- Gallagher underwent a drastic personality change in grade school at St. Jerome's, after the alleged abuse occurred. But Gallagher's own mother had testified to the grand jury that her son underwent a drastic personality change after he graduated St. Jerome's and entered Archbishop Ryan High School, where he was got busted as a freshman for possession of marijuana and brass knuckles.

    The list of Gallagher's lies that Sorensen wrote into the grand jury report goes on and on. Those lies have never been corrected. In fact, that entire grand jury report still posted online at the D.A.'s office as an official document that now qualifies as a work of fiction.

    D.A. Williams Pontificating About Msgr. Lynn
    Will the D.A.'s Office retract it?

    Of course, the biggest lies in that grand jury report are the three alleged rapes of Gallagher by
    two priests and the school teacher. All of it according to Detective Walsh's affidavit are lies. Lies that the detective told Sorensen about, but she refused to listen.

    In his affidavit, the last piece of fiction that Detective Walsh debunks from the 2011 grand jury report concerns two textbooks about sex abuse that Gallagher's mother found hidden under Danny's bed. In the grand jury report, the implication is that poor little Danny was self-disagnosing, trying to come to turns with his own horrific sex abuse at the hands of the monsters created by ADA Sorensen.

    Here's a rhetorical embellishment from master fiction writer Sorensen in that 2011 grand jury report: Danny's mother "asked him about the books at the time, but he covered up for his abusers by telling her that he had them for a school assignment."

    The two books in question were Know About Abuse, by Margaret O. Hyde, and Child Abuse, Brian J. Grapes, book editor. Both books were borrowed from the Ogontz branch of the Philadelphia Free Library back in 2004.

    "I then asked Gallagher about the two books that were found in his bedroom by his parents dealing with sexual abuse," Walsh wrote. "During the investigation, Gallagher stated that while he was a student at International Christian High School, he asked another student to sign the books out of the library for him that dealt with sex abuse."

    But this was another lie from Danny Gallagher. Library cards tucked into the books showed that they were taken out in 2004 by Chanee Mahoney. She was a 2005 graduate of the International Christian Academy in Northeast Philadelphia who was 24 years old when she was interviewed by a detective from the D.A.'s office in 2012.

    "I then showed him [Gallagher] the interview with Chanee Mahoney where she stated that she took the books out of the library for herself and left the books on a table and school, and they were stolen," Walsh wrote. "She stated that she definitely did not get the books out of the library for Gallagher."

    "Gallagher then laughed and said yeah, he did take the books and he would use the books to crush pills on them," Walsh wrote. "When shown the books, he [Gallagher] pointed out small circle indentations in the cover of the book[s] showing where he crushed the pills."

    "At the conclusion of this case prep I drove Daniel Gallagher home," Walsh wrote.


    More Fiction From Rolling Stone and Sabrina Rubin Erdely 
    The lies of Danny Gallagher, as embellished by ADA Sorensen in the grand jury report, were printed verbatim in the media, which expressed no skepticism whatsoever about these fantastic tales.

    Over the past seven years, The Philadelphia Inquirer has published 59 stories about "Billy Doe" the sexually abused altar boy that accepted as gospel Danny Gallagher's crazy stories.

    In every one of those 59 stories, the Inquirer never mentioned Danny Gallagher's real name. While that same newspaper was repeatedly vilifying the defendants as child molesters, and Msgr. Lynn as their enabler.

    As it turns out, according to Detective Walsh, none of those allegations that the editors and reporters at the Inquirer swallowed hook, line and sinker turned out to be true.

    All 59 of those Philadelphia Inquirer stories were 100 percent wrong, and now qualify as "fake news."

    Will the Inquirer print a correction?

    Gallagher's lies, as retold by master fiction writer Sorensen, were also printed verbatim in the Sept. 15, 2011 issue of Rolling Stone, under the headline "The Catholic Church's Secret Sex Files." The article was written by another prominent fiction writer, Sabria Rubin Erdely.

    She's the same reporter who was responsible for Rolling Stone losing a libel case over another fake news story Erdely wrote about the alleged gang rape at a fraternity of a University of Virginia freshman named "Jackie," another story that turned out to be a complete fraud.

    At the time she wrote the Rolling Stone story about "Billy Doe," Erdely had an undisclosed conflict of interest -- she was married to Peter Erdely, a Philadelphia assistant district attorney. That article is still posted online on Rolling Stone's website, and makes no mention of Erdely's conflict of interest.

    Rolling Stone has already retracted Erdely's story about "Jackie." Isn't it time for Rolling Stone to retract Erdely's story about "Billy" as well?

    Still At Large: Former ADA Mariana Sorensen [left]
    In his affidavit, Walsh described the deterioration of his relationship with Assistant District Attorney Sorensen.

    "My daily routine was to get into the office early and make eight copies of the interviews and work I did the day before," Walsh wrote. "I would place the original and seven copies on a desk in the office we were using."

    "Mariana Sorensen would get in early also and I would give her a copy to read," Walsh wrote. "She would make her tea and I would make a fresh pot of coffee and get a cup of coffee and go back to her office and discuss the interviews done and what I had planned to do that day."

    "It was during these times that I told Mariana Sorensen several times that I didn't believe Daniel Gallagher was telling the truth," Walsh wrote. "That I am not able to find any information to corroborate his story of abuse. If anything, I am finding out information that contradicts what he is saying occurred."

    "Mariana Sorensen would always say that she believed Daniel Gallagher and believed what he says occurred," Walsh wrote.

    "There was one time before the trial began," Walsh wrote. "I gave her the copies I made and went to get my coffee . . . When I went back to her office she said to me, "YOU'RE KILLING MY CASE."

    "I told her that I was only conducting interviews and writing down the truth and what people were telling me during the interviews," Walsh wrote.

    "I didn't want to argue with her and I stopped having coffee there and talking about the case," the detective wrote. "I would just give her the copies I made and walk away."


    After Rufus Seth Williams got through with his own brand of warped justice, four innocent men were sent to jail based on the lies of Danny Gallagher. But Williams wasn't done yet.

    By the time the D.A. got finished with Danny Gallagher, his arrest record featuring six busts for narcotics and retail theft would be scrubbed clean.

    Billy Doe's Junkie Hustle: A Smooth Ride For Danny
    But the D.A.'s office did one more favor for Danny Gallagher. They bought him a lottery ticket.

    This was revealed on the witness stand in 2013, by none other than Danny Gallagher.

    The D.A.'s star witness was being cross-examined at the criminal trial of Father Engelhardt and Bernard Shero by Mike McGovern, a defense lawyer for Father Engelhardt.

    McGovern asked Gallagher, "How did you get to Mr. [Slade] McLaughlin, your present attorney?" McGovern was referring to the the civil case Gallagher had filed against the Catholic Church, seeking money for Gallagher's alleged pain and suffering.

    At the time, McLaughlin was sitting in the front row of the Engelhardt-Shero trial, hoping that a couple of convictions at the criminal trial would pave the way for a big payday in the civil courts for Danny Gallagher.

    "His name was given to us," Gallagher testified about his civil lawyer, "By the D.A.'s office."

    Running with a fraudulent story certified as fact by the D.A.'s office, Danny Gallagher was able to cash in on his lies to the tune of $5 million, when the archbishop of Philadelphia caved in to Gallagher's demands. It's a subject that Archbishop Charles J. Chaput has refused to comment on.

    For Danny Gallagher and his accomplices in the legal profession, it was fitting end to a travesty of justice that targeted and unjustly smeared the Catholic Church, three priests and one schoolteacher. To add insult to injury, Gallagher ended his crime spree by looting the church treasury for $5 million.

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    Editor's Note: On May 11, 2017, Dustin Struble is scheduled to testify in a hearing before Judge John Foradora in a Bellefonte, PA, courthouse.  He is known as “Victim 7” in the Jerry Sandusky case.  

    Investigator and science writer Mark Pendergrast is near completion of a book on the Sandusky case, The Most Hated Man in America: Jerry Sandusky and the Rush to Judgment, which will be published late in 2017.  Because he thinks that some of the information he has unearthed is important to reveal now, he has allowed to publish excerpts from it. 

    By Mark Pendergrast

    Dustin Struble, Victim Number 7

    Dustin Struble (eventually to be labeled “Victim Number 7”), born on October 10, 1984, was two years older than Zachary Konstas [the boy in the 1998 Sandusky shower incident].  The two had been friends since their Second Mile days.  The police contacted Struble in January of 2011, and after his second interview with police, he told them that he was entering psychotherapy on February 22, 2011.  Konstas would subsequently ask about Struble’s counseling experience during phone calls.  He wanted to know if he had “remembered anything more”, indicating that Struble was in the process of recovering memories during therapy.[1]  From the context, it is likely that Konstas was also trying to “remember” more during therapy sessions of his own.

    Dustin Struble grew up with both parents and two sisters in Milesburg, Pennsylvania.  He was referred to the Second Mile program by a guidance counselor in 1995 and attended three Second Mile camps for three consecutive summers, beginning that year.  He said that he loved the experience, and he got to know Jerry Sandusky, occasionally spending the night at the Sandusky home.

    In 2004, Struble wrote in his own handwriting on an application for a scholarship from Second Mile, “Jerry Sandusky, he has helped me understand so much about myself.  He is such a kind and caring gentleman, and I will never forget him.”  Struble attended Penn State football games and tailgating parties every year for fourteen years with the Sanduskys, until he was twenty-five.

    On April 11, 2011, Struble testified at the Sandusky grand jury proceeding.  He said nothing about bear hugs, hair washing, or being dried off in the shower.  He said that Sandusky had put his hand on his waistband, but “I can say he never went the whole way down and grabbed anything.”[2]·   He denied that Sandusky had kissed him and said that Sandusky had never touched his privates or fondled him at all over his clothes.  Indeed, Struble said that Sandusky had never had any physical contact with him at all in the shower.  When he did shower with Sandusky, also present were “other assistant coaches or players or there was a couple random people that were in there from time to time….they would just be passing through and say hi…”

    After his grand jury testimony, Struble signed a contingency agreement with State College, PA, attorney Andrew Shubin, meaning that the lawyer would only be paid if Struble received compensation.  Lawyers in such cases typically receive from 33 to 40 percent of the total payment.[3]  Before the June 2012 trial, Struble met with Shubin from ten to fifteen times.  During his trial testimony, he claimed not to know the contents of the contingency agreement he had signed.

    As late as January 2012, Struble apparently was still ambivalent about his feelings for Sandusky.  That month, when he ran into Todd Reed, a Sandusky protégé and supporter, he told Reed that he and his friend Zach Kontas were both “very shocked” by the allegations and that “Zach was crying on the phone [with Dustin Struble] because he was upset about Jerry Sandusky and this situation….Zach was upset because his mom was pushing Zach to accuse Jerry.”[4]

    By the time of the trial, Struble had changed his story, asserting that Sandusky gave him bear hugs, washed his hair in the shower, and then dried him off.  He said that he had only disclosed these detailed to his attorneys and prosecutor Joe McGettigan a few months before the trial. Now he testified that Sandusky put his hand down his pants and touched his penis in the car, that Sandusky had grabbed him in the shower and pushed the front of his body up against the back of Dustin’s body, that Sandusky had touched his nipples and blown on his stomach.  Now he said that that he never saw anybody else in the shower area, implying that he and Sandusky were alone there. 

    Defense attorney Joe Amendola challenged Struble, asking why he had changed his testimony so radically since the previous year.

    Amendola:  But today now you recall that he put his hand down pants, Mr. Sandusky [did], and grabbed your penis? 

    Struble:  Yes. That doorway that I had closed has since been reopening more.  More things have been coming back and things have changed since that grand jury testimony.  Through counseling and different things, I can remember a lot more detail that I had pushed aside than I did at that point.[5]

    Struble went on to explain more about how his repressed memories had returned in therapy.  

    “Through counseling and through talking about different events, through talking about things in my past, different things triggered different memories and [I] have had more things come back, and it’s changed a lot about what I can remember today and what I could remember before, because I had everything negative blocked out.  Now with the grand jury testimony was when I was just starting to open up that door, so to speak.”[6]

    Further defending his changed testimony, Struble explained: “No, that testimony is what I had recalled at that time.  Through – again, through counseling, through talking about things, I have remembered a great deal more things that I blocked out.  And at that time, that was, yes, that’s what I thought but at this time that has changed.”[7]

    During his testimony, Struble also revealed that he and Zachary Konstas had talked about how the repressed memory therapy was going.  “Zach would ask me sort of what happened to me almost -- I feel so that he could confide in me.  But he had asked me if I remembered anything more, if counseling was helping, just all kinds of random things.”[8]

    When prosecutor McGettigan asked Struble why he hadn’t disclosed Sandusky’s abuse to the police during his first or second interrogation, Struble explained:  “I had sort of blocked out that part of my life.  Obviously, going to footballs games and those kind of things, I had chose sort of to keep out in the open, so to speak.  And then the more negative things, I had sort of pushed into the back of my mind, sort of like closing a door, closing—putting stuff in the attic and closing the door to it.  That’s what I feel like I did.”[9]

    Dustin Struble was the only alleged Sandusky victim who agreed to speak to me on the record.  In October 2014, I spoke with him at length in his home in State College, Pennsylvania, with follow-up by email and phone, and he verified that he had recovered memories of abuse and that he thought the door to his abuse memories was still only part-way open.  He remained in therapy with Cindy McNab at The Highlands in State College.

    “Actually both of my therapists have suggested that I have repressed memories, and that’s why we have been working on looking back on my life for triggers.  My therapist has suggested that I may still have more repressed memories that have yet to be revealed, and this could be a big cause of the depression that I still carry today.  We are still currently working on that.”[10] 

    I tried to clarify how his memories came back, asking whether that happened during therapy sessions and whether his therapist used any form of trance work.  No, he said, “the memories come back instantly but fragmented, almost like a light bulb going off in your mind but with a sick feeling accompanying it.  Most of these triggers occur at random places/times and are utterly unexpected.  For me it feels like a giant puzzle that I seemingly stumble into key pieces.  However, I feel like there are a few more missing pieces that are needed to solve this particular puzzle.  When these events happen, I do discuss them with my therapist most of the time.”[11]

    Late in 2013, Struble and four or five other alleged Sandusky victims met for weekly group therapy sessions over a three month period, which Struble found particularly validating and helpful in terms of triggering new memories.  “That helped me go back and confront memories from the past.  It had a big impact on me, hearing people echo what I couldn’t put into words.”[12]

    I have to say that I liked Dustin Struble, who had just turned thirty, had bought a new house and car with the compensation money he had received from Penn State, and was planning to get married the following year.  Bored at home, he went back to working part-time as a cook at the Eat’nPark restaurant.  He considered himself an introvert and still struggled with depression.  He used to smoke a lot of marijuana but stopped after he was arrested for selling it, and then he lost most of his friends when the police coerced him into taking part in a sting operation.  “I take legal drugs now,” he said.  “I was on six but now just four -- Selexa is an anti-depressant, Xanax for anxiety, Aderal for ADHD, and Ambion to sleep at night.”[13]

    It was very clear that Struble, a personable but troubled young man, now truly believed that Sandusky had abused him, based on his recovered memories.  I asked what he would have told me about Jerry Sandusky if I had asked him in 2010.  “I would have said I went to games with him and that we were friends.  At that point I was completely shut off to the negative aspects of it, wasn’t even aware of them really.”[14]

    End of excerpt from The Most Hated Man in America: Jerry Sandusky and the Rush to Judgment. Below is an email Mark Pendergrast sent to Dustin Struble a year later, but he never responded to it:

    July 2, 2015, email  Hi, Dustin – I am so glad that you are willing to read Victims of Memory and I mailed it to you today by priority mail.  I hope it gets there before you leave for your honeymoon.  In my cover letter, you’ll see I suggested that you start with Chapters 2 and 3, but I’m thinking that Chapter 1 is also very important because it explains how the repressed memory fad began in the 1980s and what the most important books supporting the idea of repressed memories were at that time, such as The Courage to Heal, so I suggest you start with it.  Here are some quick summary points for you to consider:

    Sigmund Freud made this theory up (of repressed sexual abuse memories) in 1895, then changed his mind about it two years later, but the theory just won’t go away.  Most people still believe that humans can “repress” traumatic childhood memories and then “remember” them years later.

    In fact, memory science tells us that people tend to remember traumatic events better than other events in their lives.  They may not remember them in perfect detail, but they do not completely forget abusive incidents that were perceived as traumatic at the time.

    Repressed memory therapy became a fad in the USA around 1988-1998, but it was debunked by memory scientists, researchers, professional associations, and many court cases. 

    But repressed memory therapy did not go away, it just went quietly underground.  Many therapists still believe in this theory and encourage clients to “remember” and believe in illusory abuse memories.  These therapists are not “bad” people.  They truly believe they are doing good.

    People can come to believe in very detailed memories of sexual abuse even though the abuse never occurred.  Often therapists or their clients build on things that really did happen, such as a shower or wrestling around or a bedtime goodnight, and they get people to visualize additional things that did not happen during that shower, wrestling around, or saying goodnight, etc.

    All memory is imperfect and subject to distortion, even without influential therapy.  We all tend to revise our memories to fit our current beliefs and emotions.  That could account for Mike McQueary’s changed memory of the shower scene, ten years after the fact, when he visualized seeing Jerry Sandusky behind a boy against the wall, when in fact that is not what he told Dr. Dranov or his father at the time of the incident.  At that time, he just said he heard slapping sounds that he interpreted as being sexual, then saw Jerry and a boy walking out of the shower.

    I know that you remain convinced that seeing the mesh shorts and t-shirt triggered a real repressed abuse memory, as did seeing a man with lots of curly grey chest hair.  And this “explains” why you hated chest hair and shaved yours when you were in your late teens.

    But consider that there is an alternative explanation that involves self-fulfilling expectations.  You were in a state of extreme emotional agitation and were convinced that Jerry must have abused you, and you had come to believe in the theory of repressed memories.  In such a state of heightened expectation, it is not surprising that were “triggered” by mesh clothing.  I don’t know why you shaved your chest hair, but this is the sort of “proof” that isn’t really proof, such as the woman I wrote about in Victims of Memory who didn’t like pickles and took that as evidence that she had been raped because pickles were like penises.

    The bottom line is that it is unlikely that people can or do “repress” traumatic memories.  They remember them all too well.  They may not remember incidents in great detail, but they certainly do not consider someone to be a good friend and then discover, to their horror, that this person had sexually abused them for years without their conscious awareness.

    There are many other well-researched books about the issue of repressed memories, such as Remembering Trauma, by Richard McNally, The Myth of Repressed Memory, by Elizabeth Loftus, Making Monsters, by Richard Ofshe, and Try to Remember, by Paul McHugh.  Also, Daniel Schacter has written some good books on memory in general, such as The Seven Sins of Memory:  How the Mind Remembers and Forgets.

    Take care, Dustin, and good luck on your journey towards truth and healing.

    --Mark Pendergrast


    For more information on Pendergrast and his books, see

    · Although the transcript of the Grand Jury testimony is not available to the public, defense attorney Joe Amendola had access to it, and these quotations from it emerged during his cross-examination of Dustin Struble during the trial.

    [1]Trial Transcript, Day 3, p. 154.

    [2]Trial Transcript, Day 3, p. 143.


    [4]Lindsay lawfirm files, “Interview of Todd Reed,” May 4, 2012.

    [5]Sandusky trial transcript, Day 3, p. 143.

    [6]Trial Transcript, Day 3, p. 146.

    [7]Trial Transcript, Day 3, p. 152.

    [8]Trial Transcript, Day 3, p. 154.

    [9]Trial Transcript, Day 3, p. 119.

    [10]Dustin Struble interview; Struble email, Oct. 15, 2014.

    [11]Struble email, Oct. 16, 2014.

    [12]Struble interview.

    [13]Struble interview.

    [14]Dustin Struble interview.

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    By Ralph Cipriano

    Tonight, at 10:30 p.m., WHYY is running "The List," a 59-minute documentary on the sex abuse scandal in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

    I'm one of the people who was interviewed for the film. For the first 50 minutes or so, the documentary is mostly a success when it deals with former D.A. Lynne Abraham's successful crusade to pry loose the archdiocese's secret archive files, a 45,000-page history of the clergy's horrible sex crimes against hundreds of innocent children.

    But during the last 10 minutes, the film fails when it attempts to reconcile Abraham's crusade with the witch hunt staged by our current D.A., Rufus Seth Williams.

    Watch "The List"here.

    When I was being interviewed on a couple of occasions, I tried to explain to the filmmaker, Anne MacGregor, that there was a big difference between Abraham's lawful investigation and the legal hoax perpetrated by Rufus Seth Williams.

    Sadly, she didn't get it. Sadly, the film tries to present the actions of Abraham and Rufus as one united legal front to expose the evil Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

    But the two investigations can't be reconciled.

    At the end of her investigation, D.A. Lynne Abraham concluded that the state's original child endangerment law didn't apply to supervisors such as Msgr. William J. Lynn.

    Rufus Seth Williams said the law did apply to Msgr. Lynn, and he charged him with breaking that law.

    Only one D.A. can be right.

    Since former D.A. Abraham led a state-wide drive to get the state legislature to amend the child endangerment law in 2007 to include supervisors such as Msgr. Lynn, it's obvious that she was right for one simple reason.

    If the original child endangerment law didn't apply to Msgr. Lynn, why did the state Legislature have to amend the law?

    Since Seth Williams has never explained his actions, I conclude he did it for pure political expediency.

    Another big difference between the two investigations: Abraham's grand jury report of 2005 relied on real victims of sexual abuse.

    And Rufus Seth Williams' grand jury report of 2011 invented two victims of sex abuse: Danny Gallagher/Billy Doe, and Mark Bukowski.

    Readers of this blog already know that Gallagher is a fraud.

    As for the other fraudster, the 2011 grand jury report claimed that Bukowski was anally raped by Father James J. Brennan. But at trial, Bukowski revealed that he was wearing a T-shirt and boxer shorts at the time of the alleged attack, and so was Father Brennan.

    The rape charge was downgraded to attempted rape. At the 2012 trial, a jury voted 11-1 for acquittal on the attempted rape charge. Last October, Father Brennan pleaded no contest to a second-degree misdemeanor charge of simple assault, and was placed on two years probation.

    So, there's a big difference between the grand jury investigation that Abraham presided over, the grand jury investigation presided over by Williams. And it's painful to watch Lynne Abraham refer on camera to "the present district attorney" -- she couldn't even say his name -- as she tries to present the two investigations as one unified front.

    It didn't work on camera, and it certainly doesn't work now. Abraham has actually gone to court to sue Williams, saying he should step because he no longer has an active license to practice law. Since he had to give it up when he was hit with a federal corruption indictment, now up to 29 counts.

    As an aside, in The List, the foreperson of the 2005 grand jury relates the story on camera of "Ruth," a woman who was repeatedly raped as a teenager by Father Nicholas Cudemo, a priest who also arranged an abortion for her.

    This part of Ruth's story was reported by the grand jury as fact. But on camera, the foreperson ventures off into fantasy.

    If the foreperson can be believed, Ruth apparently appeared as a grand jury witness, where she told tales of an alleged gang rape by a number of priests. But when Msgr. Lynn went to trial in 2012,  Ruth never appeared as a witness because some of her allegations, such as the alleged gang rape, had been deemed non-credible by prosecutors. As well as by women who were friends of Ruth, and had tried to form a support group around her.

    When Msgr. Lynn went on trial, Ruth showed up as a spectator. I remember asking one of the prosecutors why he didn't put Ruth up on the witness stand. He replied that if he did, it would have been a gift to the opposition lawyers, because Ruth had so many credibility problems.

    My biggest problem with the film is that it wastes an on-camera appearance by former Assistant District Attorney Mariana Sorensen.

    If I were in charge of that documentary, I would have trained that camera on Sorensen and asked her how, after hearing from real victims of abuse, could she have possibly fallen for Danny Gallagher's ridiculous stories.

    And, knowing what we now know, I would have also asked her with the cameras rolling, Hey Mariana, did you really tell Detective Joe Walsh, "You're killing my case."

    "The List" refers to a list of 35 sexually abusive priests in the archdiocese compiled in 1994 by Msgr. Lynn.

    After he went through the secret archive files, Msgr. Lynn drew up the list and handed it over to Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua, so he would have known how many problem priests he had on the payroll.

    But the cardinal, a canon and civil lawyer, knew what legal problems the list posed for the guys like him in pointy hats.

    So the cardinal dismissed the monsignor. And then he told a couple of his henchmen in the room to shred the list.

    Relying in part on an interview with master fiction writer Sorensen, the film presents Msgr. Lynn as an accomplice in the plot to shred the list. But I happen to know that's not true.

    Why? Because the day an archdiocese lawyer found a copy of the list, hidden in a safe by another monsignor who was in on the plot to shred it, but had a guilty conscience, the lawyer called the office of Thomas A. Bergstrom, Msgr. Lynn's lawyer.

    And Bergstrom was there when his client found out that the list he thought was lost had actually turned up in a safe, along with a note detailing the plot to shred it.

    "Monsignor didn't have any thing to do with" the plot to shred the list, Bergstrom said. "He was shocked" when he found out what really happened.

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    Editor's Note: Here is another excerpt from Mark Pendergrast’s forthcoming book, The Most Hated Man in America: Jerry Sandusky and the Rush to Judgment. (Sunbury Press, paperback, $19.95, release date, Nov. 6, 2017; ISBN: 978-1-62006-765-9). The author is allowing it to be posted now to explain why people should sign the new petition to grant Sandusky a new trial. Please sign this petition ASAP, the author writes, and it's also important that you add a comment.

    "This section, ‘Lurching Towards Trial,’ just gives you the flavor of how incredibly rushed the trial was, and how unprepared the defense lawyers were," Pendergrast wrote Big Trial. "The jury selection process was appalling, with several jurors indicating that they had already concluded that Sandusky was guilty. They were selected as jurors anyway. Defense attorney Joe Amendola gave the worst opening statement I’ve ever encountered, saying that the Commonwealth had ‘overwhelming evidence’ against Sandusky, when in fact there was no physical evidence at all, the victims’ stories were problematical in many ways, and the defense attorneys were utterly ineffective.  It’s a complex story, but the bottom line is that, at the least, it is abundantly clear that Sandusky deserves a new trial.”


     By Mark Pendergrast

    Joe Amendola and Karl Rominger, the attorneys for Jerry Sandusky, faced a virtually insurmountable task in preparing for the trial, which Judge John Cleland was clearly intent on holding as soon as possible.  Cleland was perhaps sensitive to media criticism questioning why it had taken three years from the time Aaron Fisher, “Victim 1,” first made allegations, to the time of Sandusky’s arrest.[1]  

    The reason: it took those three years for the prosecutors to grow memories, find other alleged victims, and convince the Grand Jury and Office of the Attorney General that there was sufficient evidence to recommend an indictment, but in the hysteria over the case, no one acknowledged that reality.

    Judge Cleland initially set the court date for May 14, 2012.[2]  Then, in response to Amendola’s increasingly anguished complaints that he had not even received the transcripts of the Grand Jury testimony, Cleland delayed the trial by a mere three weeks, until June 5.[3]  Astonishingly, Pennsylvania law specified that prosecutors didn’t have to hand over testimony given during secret grand jury proceedings until each witness testified at trial.[4]  The Grand Jury had essentially amounted to a kangaroo court.  Not only was Amendola not allowed to cross-examine witnesses there, he was not even allowed to be present.  Judge Barry Feudale, presiding judge of the 30th grand juries, ruled that the Sandusky defense team could have access to the grand jury transcripts only ten days before the first witness was scheduled to testify.

    Amendola and Rominger had to speed-read through the thousands of pages of discovery material that they did get.  For a while, they couldn’t even get the prosecution to give them the names and birthdates of the alleged victims, along with the exact dates on which they were supposed to have been abused by Sandusky.  Amendola also wanted the names of anyone who had come forward to claim abuse but who "did not fit the commonwealth's profile and/or the report was deemed to be false,” but that was not forthcoming, either.  

    Neither was information on whatever the prosecution had discovered on Sandusky’s computer, probably because they had found nothing incriminating whatsoever – no child pornography, which was surprising if Sandusky was the compulsive pedophile he was supposed to be.·[5] 

    “We’re really being pushed to kind of decipher this stuff,” Amendola said in February 2012 about the reams of material.  “We’ll be prepared to try the case whenever the judge says, but we’re playing a lot of catch-up right now.”[6]

    Amendola kept complaining.  He threatened to file a motion to dismiss the case, since it was very difficult to prepare a defense without exact times and dates of alleged offenses.  

    “All we are asking is [for prosecutors] to go back to these accusers and say, ‘You went to football games — which ones?’  Give us at least something that we could check,” Amendola begged.

    Prosecuting attorney Joe McGettigan responded that “many of the alleged victims were abused several times a week, or month,” so it wasn’t possible to pin down a particular time.  Besides, “They didn’t want to remember what happened and were even encouraged by Sandusky to forget,” he said. 

    Here was another red flag that the alleged victims may have been in therapy searching for repressed memories, but no one picked up on it.  When the prosecutors said they wouldn’t provide the information, Judge Cleland commented, "I think the answer is they can't."  

    He thus declared that it was “futile” to demand such details.  According to reporter Sara Ganim, “the state Attorney General's Office countered that Sandusky is accused of abusing boys who are now men, who were pressured into forgetting what happened and many times abused weekly for many years.”[7]

    Despite Amendola’s strenuous objections and repeated requests for a continuance, Cleland denied the requests and stuck to his promised June 5 trial date, which would take place in Centre County, where State College and Penn State were located.  Incredibly, Jerry Sandusky had instructed Amendola to oppose a change in venue, assuming that his local reputation would benefit him.[8]  Instead, the last place on earth that he was likely to get a fair trial was in Penn State territory, where the case had received a huge amount of horrendous publicity, and Penn State fans were bitter and angry at the impact on Coach Paterno and their beloved institution.

    On May 30, in a private unscheduled meeting with the judge and prosecutors, Amendola pled for a delay of the trial to allow him time to prepare for it properly.  He wanted to call a psychologist as an expert witness, but the psychologist had been unable to prepare his reports because he hasn't been given access to the grand jury testimony.  His jury consultant was in Puerto Rico on vacation.  One of Amendola’s investigators was having surgery.  Amendola and Rominger didn’t have enough time to review all the evidence.  They couldn’t call Gary Schultz or Tim Curley because they had exercised their fifth-amendment rights.Cleland again denied the requested continuance, saying "No trial date is ever perfect, but some days are better than others."[9]

    Later that same day, in an official pre-trial hearing, Amendola asked Cleland to throw out three of the ten alleged victims before the trial.  Victim 2, the unnamed Allan Myers, should be thrown out because Mike McQueary’s version of the shower incident kept changing, including the date on which it was supposed to have occurred.  

    Victim 8, the phantom victim supposedly witnessed by the janitor who now had dementia, should be thrown out because it was pure hearsay.  And Victim 6, Zachary Konstas, should be thrown out because the district attorney had decided in 1998 that there wasn’t enough evidence to prosecute, so to try it again amounted to a kind of double jeopardy.  Cleland denied all of Amendola’s requests.  All ten alleged victims would be presented to the jury.[10]

    On June 5, just before the process of picking a jury commenced, Amendola tried one more tactic.  He filed a motion to withdraw as Sandusky’s lawyer, “based on the lack of preparation of all the things that are going on, most notably the absence of our experts and jury consultant.”  A “key witness” was unavailable.  “My office is still copying materials which we cannot send out to anybody because they’re all confidential.  They’re all grand jury materials.  My staff is ready to quit.” 

    He said that “some day when people talk to my staff and get a real flavor for what was going on in my office for the past 30, 60 days, they’ll have a better understanding that this is not lawyering.”  The reality was that “we have been so far behind, just keeping up with the discovery materials and trying to do due diligence… but we’re at a loss.”  They hadn’t even had time to serve subpoenas to potential witnesses.  He concluded that “we’re not prepared to go to trial at this time.”

    Co-counsel Karl Rominger added that he had called the Pennsylvania Bar Ethics Hotline the day before, and they had called his attention to Rule 17.1, a lawyer’s “duty of competency,” and that Rule 1.16 called upon a judge to ask lawyers to withdraw if the judge could tell that they were completely unprepared.  The lawyer who answered the hotline said that they would normally render a formal opinion in such cases, but since they knew it was the Sandusky case, they didn’t want to get involved.

    Amendola said that he was “fully cognizant of the fact that the Court will deny but at least there will be a record.”[11]  And he was right.  Cleland refused to allow him to withdraw from the case, and jury selection began. 

    · Although there was no pornography on Sandusky’s computer, his investigators were sending “graphic and raunchy” pornography by email to one another, though the Office of the Attorney General has refused to make the emails public.

    [1]Ganim, “Inside the Jerry Sandusky Investigation: Why Did It Take So Long?”

    [2]“Judge Sets May Trial Date.”

    [3]Ganim, “Jerry Sandusky Requests”; “Start of Sandusky Trial Delayed.”

    [4]Ganim, “Jerry Sandusky Requests.”

    [5]Thompson, “Court Bars Release of Sexually Explicit Emails.”

    [6]Ganim, “Jerry Sandusky’s Next Court Date”; Ganim, “Jerry Sandusky's attorney says prosecutors didn't share all evidence”; Ganim, “Jerry Sandusky's lawyer wants info from his client's computer.”

    [7] Ganim, “Judge in Jerry Sandusky case won't order prosecutors to give more details”; Ganim, “Jerry Sandusky's lawyer asks for more details”; Ganim, “Jerry Sandusky's lawyer threatens.”

    [8]Trial Transcript, Jury Selection, Day 1, p. 132-133.

    [9]Ganim, “Private Meeting.”

    [10] Ganim, “Judge in Jerry Sandusky case to rule.”

    [11]Trial Transcript, “Motion to Withdraw,” June 5, 2012.

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    The Sounds of Silence
    By Ralph Cipriano

    If you want a perfect illustration of what's wrong with the media, let's talk about The Philadelphia Inquirer and Rolling Stone, and their stubborn refusal to deal with how they blew to hell the "Billy Doe" fake rape spree story.

    Last Tuesday on this blog, we printed a news story about a 12-page affidavit filed in Common Pleas Court by retired Detective Joe Walsh. We also printed a verbatim copy of the affidavit. In the document, Walsh, the D.A.'s lead detective on the Philly archdiocese sex abuse scandal, detailed one lie after another that he caught Billy Doe/Danny Gallagher telling. And then Walsh wrote that he concluded three times that Gallagher wasn't telling the truth when he claimed he was raped as a 10 and 11 year-old altar boy in separate attacks by two priests and a schoolteacher.

    In his affidavit, Walsh also detailed the numerous times he told the prosecutor in the case, former Assistant District Attorney Mariana Sorensen, that Gallagher wasn't a credible witness, and that the evidence in the case contradicted Gallagher's allegations of abuse. None of this material, of course, was ever turned over to the defense, in violation of federal law. The entire 12-page affidavit is a textbook example of prosecutorial misconduct that may not only get the schoolteacher out of jail, but it may blow out of the water any possible retrial of Msgr. William J. Lynn. And it came straight from the mouth of a retired detective, who has nothing to gain by saying any of this, except, of course, to clear his conscience. In the news business, that's what we call a reliable source.

    But what's been the response of the Inquirer, which in the past seven years has printed 59 fake Billy Doe got raped stories? And Rolling Stone, which printed a long Sabrina Rubin Erdely fake gang rape story in 2011 on altar boy Billy? Cue Simon and Garfunkel singing The Sounds of Silence.

    Although the Inquirer has had the Walsh affidavit since last Wednesday, they've decided they'll continue to pretend that it's just not happening.

    Last week, Amy Buckman, the Inquirer's spokesperson, wrote in an email, "Thanks for the alert," after I forwarded her my blog post about the Walsh affidavit, as well as a copy of the affidavit.

    At least one Inky reporter, columnist Christine Flowers, gets it. On her radio show Sunday night on WPHT, where I was a guest, Flowers, a lawyer herself, compared the Lynn case to the infamous Scottsboro Boys case of the 1930s. In that case, nine African-American teenagers were falsely accused and railroaded in Alabama for allegedly raping a couple of white women.

    Of course, none of it was true. Flowers may be right. One day, we may look at the Catholic witch hunts conducted under Seth Williams, and view them in the same way we now view the racism that pervaded the Scottsboro Boys trials back in 1930s Alabama.

    Because it's only in an atmosphere of extreme prejudice where you don't need evidence to convict people, just false witnesses telling phony stories about rape that fit the prejudices of the day.

    Meanwhile, back at the Inquirer, Buckman and other editors have not responded to subsequent requests for comment on their continued slumber through the complete unraveling of the Billy Doe

    As I have noted on this blog before, the Inquirer's posture in any major case coming out of the courts is to blindly side with the prosecutors. The Inky playbook: print allegations as proven facts, convict the defendants pre-trial in the press as already guilty, and along the way, forever taint the jury pool.

    The problem when you're functioning as press agents for the prosecution, however, is what happens if they get it wrong? That's precisely what's happened with the Billy Doe case. The prosecutors were also bad actors. If you believe the Walsh affidavit, the prosecutors were guilty of intentional misconduct by putting a star witness on the stand that they knew wasn't credible.

    This story should matter because Gallagher's testimony sent four men to jail, one of whom died there. It also generated sensational headlines for the past seven years about a vicious rape spree that according to Detective Walsh never really happened.

    In the Inquirer's defense, the Inky newsroom right now is preoccupied with an ongoing game of musical chairs. All 200 journalists in the newsroom are in the process of re-applying for their own jobs, which have been posted.

    It's the same game the newspaper played back in March with top editors. Everybody changes seats, and then shakes hands on the new, improved Inquirer. That's what they do over at the Inky, rather than write about what might be going on with Detective Walsh. Play musical chairs.

    At least the Inky has a spokesperson who fields my questions and occasionally responds. Over at Rolling Stone, where they've already had to retract one Sabrina Rubin Erdely fake gang rape story, I never even get a response, no matter how many times I email their editors.

    In the old days, newspapers used to have ombudsmen who would investigate readers' complaints, and when they screwed up, the ombudsman would write about why. But now they can continue to pretend they're infallible.

    Meanwhile, public trust in journalism is at an all-time low. It's sad to see the Inky and Rolling Stone doing their part to keep it there.

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    Editor’s note:  Here is another excerpt from Mark Pendergrast’s forthcoming book, The Most Hated Man in America: Jerry Sandusky and the Rush to Judgment. Again, Mark refers people to this petition at seeking a new trial for Sandusky.  Please sign the petition and leave a detailed comment, especially if you know Sandusky personally or have other reasons to doubt that he received a fair trial. To be "newsworthy" it is important that signers include high-profile people, such as former Penn State football players or coaches, who will explain who they are and why they are signing.


    by Mark Pendergrast



    On Monday, June 11, 2012, Joe McGettigan opened the trial of Jerry Sandusky with an impassioned speech to the newly picked jurors about the “serial predatory pedophile” whom they should convict. 


    McGettigan, then 64, a native of Philadelphia, had carved out a reputation as an aggressive, successful prosecutor.  “He is smart, tenacious, and well-prepared,” wrote one journalist, who also called him a pugnacious street brawler.  “He will steamroll over anyone who gets in his way,” another lawyer observed, adding that McGettigan was a “true believer” who thought “all criminals deserve life sentences.”


     He was known as “Hollywood Joe McGettigan” because of his penchant for dark glasses, garish ties, and his serving as a legal consultant and writer for a one-season television series.  In the press, he had already called the Second Mile “a victim factory.”[i]

    Now McGettigan told the jurors that the young men who would testify had endured “years of victimization,” and that, although the molestation had occurred years ago, “the past is never dead.  It’s not even past.”

    For a few alleged victims, the sexual abuse had taken place “in an escalating fashion, escalating to the point of…deviate sexual intercourse, oral sex.”  Others were “less invasive and less lengthy,” and two involved only one alleged contact.


    McGettigan asked the jurors to think of the witnesses not as young adults, but as helpless children.  “You’ll see them and understand them as the children they were.”  In order to prepare them for this leap of the imagination, he showed enlarged pictures of each alleged victim as a child, one at a time, on a 12-foot high screen. 


    “That’s Brett,” he said, showing the photo from Sandusky’s book, Touched.  “Do you know whose hand that is on his shoulder?  The defendant’s.” 


    In the picture of Michal Kajak, “the defendant is right behind Michal,” McGettigan said, of course implying sodomy, although it was blown up from an innocuous group photo. 


    McGettigan said that Zachary Konstas was “so innocent he wasn’t even sure what part of a man’s body should look like and why he should be touching him,” even though Konstas never accused Sandusky of molesting him.


    McGettigan explained, “Here’s a young boy who bore him no ill will because he wasn’t even aware of what happened.”


    McGettigan never used the phrase “repressed memories,” but he repeatedly implied them.  He warned jurors that he would have to “press these young men for the details of their victimization” because “they don’t want to remember.”


     He instructed jurors to “imagine the age at which they were abused, the years that it was in the past, and the efforts which they had tried to bury [the memories],” which would “cause them to have difficulty in remembering with great specificity.”  But that lack of recall should not disturb them.  Indeed, “sometimes the honest admission of a lack of memory about…minor detail gives the clearest indication of the absolute truth of the painful events they will never forget.”


     In other words, the absence of detailed memory could be taken as proof that the recovered memories were true.


    He explained that “the investigation was slow because doors were closed.  Just like the doors of people’s minds, they don’t want to talk about anything.  They were closed…. In many instances you will hear even when they spoke to the police the first time, they wouldn’t fully disclose.”  With sufficient encouragement, however, they did.


    Finally, McGettigan said that humiliation, shame, and fear were the reasons that none of the alleged victims had told anyone about the alleged abuse for years.  He did not mention that some of them had not recalled the abuse until prompted by therapists, police, or lawyers.


    According to reporter Sara Ganim, all jury members were “listening intently, wide-eyed.”  One juror shook her head in sympathetic disgust as the prosecutor described the abuse that each child had allegedly endured.


    The rest of McGettigan’s opening statement summarized the various witnesses he planned to call, including Mike McQueary, who would, he said, describe “how he saw that defendant in a shower pressed up against the wall, with a small boy beneath him…his front to this little boy’s back moving back and forth.”[ii]


    After McGettigan’s opening statement, Amendola told the judge that his team had some objections to place in the record.  “We didn’t want to interrupt Mr. McGettigan,” he explained.  “We had an agreement.”


     Amendola apparently wanted to be friendly, to be liked, so he agreed not to voice objections during opening or closing statements.  Karl Rominger demurred, but because Amendola was in charge and was personal friends with Sandusky, he remained silent. 


    “On many occasions, I disagreed with Mr. Amendola,” he recalled.  “However, I did not voice my disagreement because I did not want to undermine Mr. Amendola, who had the relationship with Mr. Sandusky.”  Because Amendola had taken few major cases to trial, Rominger said “I felt I would be able to assist with trial objections and evidentiary issues more ably than Mr. Amendola.”[iii]


    Thus, Rominger belatedly objected to McGettigans photo array of the alleged victims, which were “stylized and cut for maximum emotional impact.”  He asked for a mistrial or a limiting instruction to jurors not to consider the images as evidence.  Cleland curtly denied his motions. 


    Rominger objected that “the prosecution wrongly kept referring to the complaining witnesses as victims.”  Cleland regarded the term as acceptable as a “matter of convenience” and would let the jury know that “we’re using the terms victims as a shorthand, [it] obviously means alleged.”


      Rominger objected to McGettigan’s use of the words humiliation, shame, and fear.  “What they’re doing is essentially explaining why the witnesses said nothing.”  This amounted to argument, not a presentation of facts.


    Similarly, McGettigan should not have argued that there was a huge amount of evidence for guilt.  “There is no overwhelming evidence of anything at this point.”  Cleland denied these as well as all the rest of his objections.[iv]


    Then it was defense attorney Joe Amendola’s turn.  Early in 2009, upon learning of the Aaron Fisher allegations, Sandusky had first hired Amendola, a local State College practitioner.


    A former prosecutor, Amendola had switched to defense, taking on drinking-under-the-influence and rape cases.  He had a reputation for negotiating favorable plea bargains but had taken relatively few cases to trial.  He and McGettigan were the same age, but they were stark contrasts in many ways.


     McGettigan was abrasive and only recently engaged to be married for the first time.  Amendola had a friendly, smiling demeanor that had seen him through several failed marriages, the most recent the result of an affair in which he impregnated his 16-year-old intern in 1997 when he was 48.


    Many observers, including Amendola himself, were surprised that Sandusky stuck with the home-town lawyer.  Before Sandusky’s arrest, Amendola said, “I’m sure some big-name attorney is going to volunteer to represent him.”[v]  But Sandusky, who was known for his sometimes naïve loyalty to friends and colleagues, stuck with Amendola, and besides, no big-name attorneys wanted to take on the toxic case.


    After McGettigan’s masterful performance, Amendola’s opening statement was embarrassingly lame.  “This is a daunting task,” he began.  “I’ll be honest with you, I’m not sure how to approach it.  The Commonwealth has overwhelming evidence against Mr. Sandusky.”


     It’s difficult to imagine a worse defensive posture than talking about the “overwhelming evidence” against his client, particularly when his colleague, Karl Rominger, had just objected to McGettigan’s use of that phrase.


      Rominger winced, since Amendola had just “cast Mr. Sandusky as guilty in the minds of the jurors,” he thought.


    “I never had a case like this in my life,” Amendola continued, “and I can assure you I never will again.”  But, he said, he had to make an opening statement, even though it seemed hopeless.  “We can pack it in now and say, ‘Gee whiz, we don’t have a chance.’”


    He compared his task as “similar to climbing Mount Everest from the bottom of the hill.”  He said that he was David to the government’s Goliath, and he complained about the “boxes and boxes of materials to go through.”


    Finally, Amendola said that he needed to “figure out how we can present Mr. Sandusky’s case to you so that you will understand that he’s innocent.”  If he expected to convince the jury of his client’s innocence, he certainly had a strange way of approaching it.  He asserted, without much conviction, that “There are no victims in this case…because victims only come about after you twelve determine they’re victims.”


     He noted that Sandusky had “always said he’s innocent” and that it had only been seven months since the Grand Jury Presentment had been made public and Sandusky was arrested, whereas “the Commonwealth had over three years to investigate these allegations.”


    “So how did it start?”  It began with Aaron Fisher’s allegations.  “Jerry Sandusky fondled him above his clothing one time.”  What Amendola undoubtedly meant to say was that Fisher alleged at first that Sandusky had touched him above his clothing, but instead he told the jury that he had indeed fondled him.  Then he talked about the 1998 shower incident and said that Zachary Konstas would say that “there was no sexual touching…. They fooled around in the shower and they played.”


    Amendola admitted that Sandusky “got showers with kids,” and that “Many of us think that that in and of itself proves that he’s guilty of horrendous crimes.”  But “Jerry’s culture growing up in his generation where he grew up, he’s going to tell you later it was routine for individuals to get showers together.”  In other words, he expected to call Sandusky to the stand to testify.


    He warned the jury that they would hear graphic descriptions of grotesque sexual abuse.  “The testimony you are going to get is going to be awful, but that doesn’t make it true.”  He wondered aloud, “How do we get to the end of this case, and how do we try to establish that Jerry Sandusky is not guilty, that there’s a real reasonable doubt here?”  He apparently had no idea.


    He then talked about the McQueary shower incident.  “What we think is that he saw something and he made assumptions.”  Amendola did not point out that McQueary did not in fact see much of anything.  He heard slapping sounds. 


    Then the defense attorney made it worse by alluding to “when he [McQueary] went into the shower and saw Jerry Sandusky with a young-looking person.”  In reality, McQueary never went into the shower, and he didn’t initially say that he saw Sandusky with a boy in the shower.  He told Dr. Dranov that night that he saw a boy, and that an arm reached out to pull him back into the shower.


    Amendola then alluded to this boy in the shower, Victim 2, and said, “I suspect [he] is not going to be a witness according to the Commonwealth because he hasn’t actually been identified.”  Amendola didn’t say that he had been identified as Allan Myers because he didn’t intend to call him to the stand, either, since Andrew Shubin had taken him as a “victim” client.


    Finally, Amendola made a salient point.  Dranov and McQueary’s father advised Mike McQueary to tell Joe Paterno about his concerns.  “It’s not the kind of advice I would have given if someone said, ‘I just saw Jerry Sandusky having anal sex with a ten-year-old boy in the shower.”


    But most of Amendola’s opening statement could not possibly have convinced jurors that Sandusky was likely to be innocent.  “When you hear this testimony,” he said, “think about the logical sense [that] just doesn’t make any sense,” which, of course, made no sense.  “The accusers.  You saw those eight photos.  Cute kids.  Why would they lie?”


    Amendola’s only explanation was financial motivation.  “Money is the root of all evil.”  Also, because they were Second Mile kids, “they had issues.”  He did not allude to the influence of therapists or leading police interviews, though he later noted that “the accusers were questioned multiple times…. The government went back until they got an answer they wanted to hear.”


    “After all this abuse occurred,” Amendola said, “all these horrific things happened, they [the alleged victims] maintained relationships with Jerry and Dottie Sandusky.”  What he meant to say, of course, was that after all this alleged abuse and horrific things allegedly occurred, many boys remained friendly with the Sanduskys.  But that’s not how it came out.


    “Jerry Sandusky didn’t pick the time or place to be arrested,” Amendola noted, as if this had any relevance to his innocence or guilt.  Then, once again, he damned his own client.  “Jerry, in my opinion, loves kids so much that he does things that none of us would ever dream of doing.”


    Desperately trying to salvage his ineffective opening statement, Amendola asserted, without conviction, “At the conclusion of [all the] evidence, we suspect that you’ll find him not guilty.”  He ended by saying, “Thank you folks, for listening.  I know it’s been a long morning.  I know you’ll do a great job for both sides.”  For Amendola, it had indeed been a long morning.[vi]


    [i]Goldman, “Meet Sandusky’s Prosecutor”; Ganim, “Jerry Sandusky Trial: Prosecutor Is Used to the Spotlight.”

    [ii]Trial Transcript, McGettigan opening statement, Day 1, June 11, 2012, p. 3-45; Ganim, “Sandusky Trial: Prosecutor’s Opening Statements.”

    [iii]Karl Rominger Affidavit, in Second Amended Petition for Post Conviction Relief.

    [iv]Trial Transcript, Day 1, p. 22-29.

    [v]Ganim, “Joe Amendola Ponders His Life”; Ganim, “Jerry Sandusky Trial: Defense attorney is repected”; Dawson, “Jerry Sandusky’s lawyer Joe Amendola.”

    [vi]Trial Transcript, Amendola Opening Statement, June 11, 2012, p. 3-29; Karl Rominger affidavit, in Second Amended Petition for Post Conviction Relief.

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    By Ralph Cipriano

    Tom Bergstrom: Got In Trouble For Defending His Client

    On Friday, Judge Gwendolyn N. Bright held a hearing on legal misconduct in the case of Msgr. William J. Lynn.

    If you haven't heard, it was a curious affair. So far in the seven-year history of the legal travesty known as the Lynn case, the only legal misconduct that we know about has been the rampant and intentional misconduct on behalf of the prosecutors.

    But Judge Bright was holding Friday's hearing to decide whether she would find Thomas A. Bergstrom, Lynn's lawyer, guilty of contempt for violating the judge's gag order in the Lynn case. Because Bergstrom got upset when The Philadelphia Inquirer libeled his client.

    Only in Philadelphia does this illogical hearing make sense. When he have a D.A. still in office despite a 29-count federal indictment for political corruption. And prosecutors in that office who put innocent men in jail for imaginary crimes, as in the case of Msgr. Lynn, and don't get into any trouble for it. Even though they knew that their star witness wasn't credible.

    No Worries: Prosecutors Hugh Burns and Patrick Blessington
    At Friday's hearing, Bergstrom kicked things off by copping a plea, and throwing himself on the mercy of the court.

    Bergstrom admitted to "losing his temper" when he fired off some email bombs to reporter Joe Slobodzian after the Inky libeled the monsignor. On April Fool's Day, the newspaper wrote in a photo caption that Msgr. Lynn is accused of sexual misconduct, when he is charged with endangering the welfare of a child.

    In his emails, Bergstrom slammed Slobodzian, even though the reporter had nothing to do with the mistake. The newspaper promptly ran a correction and a spokesman for the newspaper apologized for the screw-up.

    In a story posted Friday, reporter Steve Tawa of CBS Philly wrote, "Judge Bright did not fault Bergstrom for getting the paper to fix the mistake, but she did lay into him for cc'ing -- copying his remarks -- to another reporter who writes an online blog.

    That other reporter is your humble correspondent for

    Bergstrom apologized to the judge, saying he has "fought for the monsignor for five years," and they're still at it," Tawa wrote.

    "Judge Bright, after a firm look and scold, told Bergstrom, 'at this point, this will be the end of it,'" Tawa wrote.

    So, Bergstrom beat the rap and did not suffer the fate of Vincent LaGuardia Gambini in My Cousin Vinny, who wound up riding a bus to prison after being found in contempt. Both sides in the Lynn case have filed appeals, so the case is about to leave her court.

    Sadly, Bergstrom is the only lawyer in the case that Judge Bright considered discipling. She apparently gave the prosecutors in the case a pass, even though she has already ruled that they committed prosecutorial misconduct serious enough to warrant a new trial for Msgr. Lynn. If the state Superior Court had not already granted the monsignor a new trial.

    But there is plenty of prosecutorial misconduct in the Lynn case.

    If Joe Walsh, the D.A.'s lead investigator is to be believed, the prosecutors blew off Walsh when he told them that their star witness -- Danny Gallagher AKA "Billy Doe" -- wasn't credible and that the evidence contradicted his fantastic stories of abuse.

    If Walsh s to believed, it was the prosecutors who never disclosed to the defense that the Walsh had repeatedly grilled Gallagher about nine key factual discrepancies in his stories. And that Gallagher's response was to either say nothing,  claim he was high on drugs, or tell a new story.

    But as far as Judge Bright is concerned, rather than being honest, it's far more important for lawyers in the case not to talk to reporters.

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    Reprinted with permission from Gangland News.

    By George Anastasia

    Brad Sirkin has folded his cards.

    The prolific, enterprising mob associate and sometime driver for Philadelphia Mafia boss Joseph (Skinny Joey) Merlino has agreed to cop a guilty plea in that sweeping but flawed racketeering conspiracy indictment in Manhattan Federal Court, and also to conspiracy to commit health care fraud in a more pointed and apparently airtight case against him and seven co-defendants in federal court in Tampa.

    In a plea agreement filed April 17 in Florida, Sirkin admitted his role in what authorities have alleged was a $157 million insurance fraud scheme that included kickbacks to doctors and pharmacist who knowingly wrote and filled bogus prescriptions for what authorities said were "compound medications, chiefly pain creams and scar creams, irrespective of medical necessity."

    Merlino, on the other hand, is hanging tough and is prepared to go to trial in Manhattan where several other defendants have also opted to take deals. The insurance scam, the central charge in the Tampa case, is just a small piece of the broader but shaky New York indictment. 

    Sources said insurance companies were billed from $500 to $1,000 for a tube of the bogus cream with many prescriptions written with up to 10 refills. The mob was late arriving to the scam involving compound creams which have been described by insurance company investigators as the "snake oil of the 21st century" and which have, according to early investigations, generated tens of millions of dollars in fraudulent insurance reimbursements.

    Sirkin, 54, who has a 1992 federal conviction for conspiracy and wire fraud, faces a maximum 10-year sentence in the Florida case and up to 20 years in New York. Under terms of the plea, the sentences are to run concurrently.  But based on sentencing guidelines, Sirkin is probably facing from four to five years in prison.

    He has also been ordered to pay $2,552,309 in restitution.

    Wayne Kreisberg, another Florida business associate of both Merlino and Sirkin has also cut a similar deal with the feds. Like Sirkin, Kreisberg is charged in both New York and Tampa.

    Sirkin and Kreisberg have both signed plea agreements and are to formally enter guilty pleas at hearing in June, according to court documents.

    Four other defendants, including a doctor and pharmacist who are now cooperating with authorities, have pleaded guilty in the Tampa case.

    Kreisberg and Sirkin were each named along with Merlino and six of the 46 defendants in a vague, one-paragraph description that was included in the racketeering conspiracy charge in the Southern District of New York (SDNY).  

    The fact that Merlino was indicted in Manhattan rather than Tampa and the fact that the New York case appears to be unraveling has lent support to law enforcement officials in Florida and Philadelphia who have complained about the way the SDNY handled the investigation.

    "That's why they're called the Sovereign District of New York," one Philadelphiaarea law enforcement official said after the indictments were handed up back in August. That's when many investigators in Miamiand Philadelphialearned for the first time the extent of the probe.

     "They don't share with anyone," said the disgruntled Philadelphiasource. "They have their own set of rules."

    Both jurisdictions were largely kept in the dark about the racketeering case and the fact that a cooperating witness wearing a wire was actively recording meetings with Merlino and others in Florida, New York, and New Jersey.

    Sirkin and Kreisberg were businessmen who lived and operated in the Boca Ratonarea, as did Merlino. The SDNY indictment  charges Skinny Joey with insurance fraud and gambling offenses based in large part on recordings made by mob informant John (JR) Rubeo.

    Rubeo also interacted with Sirkin, according to one source, and may have met with Kreisberg.

    But the handling of recordings  made by the cooperator and the lack of supervision while Rubeo was on the streets in Florida have raised serious questions about whether the feds would be able to use much of that evidence in court. More than one observer has said that Merlino would have a more serious problem had he been indicted in Tampa for what appears to be the same medical fraud charges he is facing in New York.

    As previously reported by GangLand, two FBI agents and their supervisor are facing potential disciplinary action because of the Rubeo fiasco. What's more, as Gang Land has reported, federal prosecutors are now offering sweetened plea deals in which the racketeering conspiracy charge would be dropped in exchange for guilty pleas to the related gambling, extortion, weapons and assault charges that make up the case against most of the New York gangsters.

    Earlier this month prosecutors notified Manhattan Federal Judge Richard Sullivan that a "global or near global" plea agreement has been worked out with a "substantial" number of the defendants.

    No particulars were provided about the deals but prosecutors said the defendants had a May 19 deadline to accept the offers. Sources have said that Merlino has balked at any plea deal and intends to go to trial.

    Merlino is described in the indictment as one of the leaders in what the feds have called "The East Coast LCN Enterprise," a designation that applies to an organization that exists only on paper and in the minds of some federal prosecutors. Mob capos Pasquale (Patsy) Parello and Eugene (Rooster) O'Nofrio share top billing with Skinny Joey.

    Parrello, however, has taken a deal, pleading guilty to a superseding criminal information charging him with three counts of conspiracy to commit extortion. The deal will reportedly carry a sentence of about five years for the 72-year-old wise guy.

    Sources say O'Nofrio has declined to even consider a plea offer and like Merlino, who has reportedly rejected a deal that would carry a two-year sentence, he is prepared to go to trial.  

    Sirkin also has an ongoing problem with the New Jersey State Commission of Investigation which has cited him for illegally operating a landfill in Palmyra, NJ, just outside of Philadelphia.

    In a scheme that the commission said underscored loopholes in New Jersey's landfill licensing process, Sirkin was able to run an operation that took in tons of construction debris and potentially carcinogenic materials instead of the grass clippings, weeds and branches that were supposed to be turned into mulch for garden ground covers under the recycling license he was using.

    The operation began in 2012, about the same time authorities say Sirkin was wheeling and dealing in medical insurance fraud in Florida. He abandoned the landfill 18 months later after the SCI launched its investigation.

    Among other things, the state agency linked Sirkin to an unnamed Bonanno mob capo — identified by sources as Peter (Pug) Lovaglio— who was described in an SCI report as a partner in the Palymra business. Lovaglio, a violent and volatile mobster, was sentenced to eight years in prison earlier this year for assaulting the owner of a sushi lounge on Staten Island. The restaurateur, an ex-New York City police officer, was blinded in one eye after Lovaglio smashed a cocktail glass into his face.

    Sources say Lovaglio has been a "secret snitch" for several years, cooperating with the NYPD and federal authorities. As GangLand noted last week, Lovaglio , now a protected inmate in federal custody, has begun to provide the SDNY details in several investigations, including at least one unsolved murder.  

    In addition to his ties to Merlino and Lovaglio, Sirkin is related through marriage to a soldier in the Luchese crime family, according to the SCI report.  

    George Anastasia can be reached at

    To read more from Jerry Capeci's Gang Land News click below:

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    By Ralph Cipriano

    Only in Philadelphia where our incumbent District Attorney is currently under federal indictment for political corruption could the citizens be poised to make a worse choice for their next D.A.

    That would be Larry Krasner, the George Soros-financed radical "progressive" who just won the Democratic primary for D.A. Now he's running for election this November in a town where Democrats outnumber Republicans 7 to 1.

    Krasner is a longtime civil rights lawyer who has sued the Philadelphia Police Department 75 times, on behalf of drug dealers and protesters from groups such as Black Lives Matter, ACT UP and Occupy Philly.

    Larry's the guy who talked our current corrupt D.A. into tossing more than 800 convictions of drug dealers, nearly all of whom had pleaded guilty after getting caught with drugs. For his next trick, Progressive Larry sued the city to gain cash rewards from the taxpayers that will ultimately benefit 300 newly emancipated drug dealers. The drug dealers are currently in magistrate court, awaiting those cash payouts arranged by their good friend Larry.

    Krasner's the type of candidate whose supporters chant catchy phrases like "Fuck the F.O.P."

    Yes, Larry loves to defend drug dealers who poison our citizens and protesters who block our streets during rush hour. Larry's dedicated his life to emptying the jail cells of Philadelphia. But that crusade may turn out to be bad news for the rest of us.

    "A grand social experiment" is how Beth Grossman, Krasner's GOP opponent, describes Krasner's campaign financed with more than $1 million of George Soros's money.

    "We have one of the finest public defender's offices in the country," Grossman says. "We don't need two."

    Krasner is a 56-year-old former public defender who wants to abolish cash bail and the civil asset forfeiture program. He could not be reached for comment.

    "Larry is away on vacation until after Memorial Day," said his spokesman, Ben Waxman. "He's not doing any press interviews at all, including national outlets like the N.Y. Times, CNN, Fox News, and the L.A. Times."

    Grossman, however, is not on vacation. She's a 49 year-old former assistant district attorney under Lynne Abraham who was a prosecutor for more than 20 years. She favors cash bail and formerly led the D.A.'s civil asset forfeiture program.

    This week, Grossman had plenty of time to talk to Big Trial about the many shortcomings of our current incumbent D.A., Rufus Seth Williams, and the many dangers posed by the candidacy of Let-'em-Loose Larry.

    Let's start with the case of those six former narcotics officers who were accused of beating and robbing a bunch of drug dealers. But they beat the rap when a jury in 2015 acquitted all six defendants on all 47 charges of a 26-count federal indictment.

    Let's recap the role that Rufus Seth Williams played in that fiasco which is currently costing the taxpayers millions of dollars in legal fees to pay 10 lawyers from two private law firms to defend the city. And millions more when those 300 newly emancipated drug dealers cash in on Larry's lottery.

    Rufus Seth Williams is the guy who wrote a letter to the police commissioner in 2012 announcing that without benefit of an investigation of any kind, he would no longer prosecute any drug cases brought by those narcotics officers. Rufus promptly leaked that letter to Fox 29. Then, Rufus let Larry Krasner talk him into letting more than 800 drug dealers previously arrested by the narcs go free.

    Of the 800 convicted drug dealers freed by Larry and Rufus, I was able to track the criminal records of more than 400. Of the 400, more than 200 were subsequently re-arrested on charges that included rape, robbery, burglary, aggravated assault, aggravated assault with a gun, attempted murder and murder.

    So thanks, Larry and Rufus for unleashing a crime wave on the citizens.

    In a Feb. 22nd interview with fellow progressive Holly Otterbein of Philly Mag, Krasner claimed credit for talking Rufus into freeing 800 drug dealers.

    Here's what Progressive Larry told Progressive Holly:

    "I had a particular case in which a college student was charged with drug activity, and I filed a request, which went to the district attorney, the Police Commissioner, and all their top deputies demanding that they provide exculpatory information that would show what they knew about whether or not these officers were involved in lying under oath, stealing money, falsifying probable cause, backdating warrants, and things of that sort."

    "The District Attorney's office vigorously resisted that request . . . Finally the judge says, 'No if you have it, you have to turn it over.' Then the District Attorney's office dropped the case against my client, basically, so they wouldn't have to turn the information over."

    Sadly, Larry's wrong about one really important fact. The D.A.'s office under Rufus Seth Williams had no such evidence of police misconduct of any kind, not one document to turn over.

    How do we know this? Because in court records, Public Defender Bradley S. Bridge made the same assumption that Krasner did, namely that if the D.A. was publicly trashing those cops the D.A.'s office must have been sitting on a mountain of evidence of police misconduct.

    But here's what court documents filed by the public defender had to say about that topic:

    "On Dec. 6, 20l2, Bradley S. Bridge, an attorney from the Defender’s Association of Philadelphia, wrote First Assistant District Attorney Edward McCann, Esquire, and formally requested, pursuant to Brady v. Maryland, material regarding the six officers contained in District Attorney Williams’ Dec. 3, l2 letter" [to the police commissioner] the public defenders wrote in a motion for a new trial.

    "First Assistant [Edward] McCann verbally told Mr. Bridge that they were dismissing the cases because of prosecutorial discretion and that there was no Brady information," the public defenders wrote. "Attorney Bridge subsequently requested Brady material again and on Jan. 8, 20l3, First Assistant District Attorney McCann again denied being in possession of Brady material."

    [Brady material refers to the landmark 1963 case, Brady v. Maryland, where the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that prosecutors must turn over any evidence that might benefit a defendant in a criminal trial.]

    So there you have it folks, rampant misconduct on the part of Rufus. 

    What does Beth Grossman have to say about the former narcs?

    "I didn't watch the trial; I can't speak to their guilt or innocence," she said. "I don't know enough to make an informed decision."

    But she knows enough about the case to say that Rufus blew it.

    "Making any determination about any case must and should always be based on what is the evidence," she said. "And whether there is evidence or whether there is no evidence. Or whether that evidence is illegally obtained."

    "Everything has to be based upon evidence," Grossman repeated. "Listen if Seth Williams and his group made that decision based on what you are telling me was no evidence, and now they [the drug dealers] are being rewarded of for illegal activity, of course that is very upsetting."

    "I was never privy to any of those decisions," she said. But "we have police officers who were tried and acquitted. And we have people who pleaded guilty [the drug dealers] in the middle of a huge opioid and heroin crisis, individuals that were arrested and pleaded guilty to this and are going to walk."

    "It's incredibly devastating for the city of Philadelphia," she said. The drug dealers "have pleaded guilty" and in many cases were "in possession of a lot of drugs," Grossman said. Also, the "money seized from them that was to be forfeited was returned to them."

    In his Philly mag interview, Krasner the racial provocateur dismissed the jury verdict in the narcotics officers' case as the actions of "an all white jury, which is drawn in federal court from Lancaster and Red Hill and a lot of other places where Donald Trump is a popular guy."

    No wonder The Philadelphia Tribune refers to Larry as the "Blackest white D.A. candidate ever."

    But I covered that trial and that verdict was all about the evidence. The federal prosecutors put on the worst case I've ever seen. They relied on wild stories told by a crooked cop and 19 over-rehearsed drug dealers who used the same catch phrases. 

    And here's what mattered to the jury: every time the prosecutors had a chance to corroborate any of the drug dealers' tales with evidence, they failed to do so.

    The result: a unanimous jury verdict that blew out all the charges in a RICO case. The prosecution case, the foreman told me was "absolutely nothing."

    "It almost got to the point where you almost wanted to make jokes about it," the jury foreman said. When it came time to deliberate, "I could have been out of there in 10 minutes. That's how easy it was."

    In his Philly mag interview, Progressive Larry was proud of his role in arranging that free lottery for the 300 freed drug dealers:

    "My law firm and I were selected to be chief counsel for the plaintiffs," Krasner told Philly mag. So we are effectively the tip of the spear in terms of dealing with the civil cases against these individual officers and the city of Philadelphia."

    Sadly, the people getting shafted by that spear are the taxpayers, who not only have to pay millions of dollars to hire 10 private lawyers to defend the city, but also millions more in payouts to the 300 drug dealers.

    Nice work, Larry. 

    I asked Grossman what she thought of some other travesties that have come out of our current D.A.'s office. Such as a South Philly bank robbery where the cops caught the perp inside the bank trying to break into the vault, which was caught on video. But the prosecutors in the D.A.'s office declined to press charges.

    "I have no idea why you would not charge that case," Grossman said. "I find that incredibly befuddling."

    I asked Grossman about how she would handle domestic violence cases in the wake of our district attorney going soft on abusers. In case you missed it, as the D.A. was gearing up for reelection, before he got hit with that federal indictment, the prosecutors in his charging unit were declining to prosecute cases where the D.A. stood a chance of losing.

    The most prominent type of case that the D.A.'s office under Rufus Seth Williams was declining to prosecute: domestic violence. On this blog we documented cases where victims were stabbed, shot, and strangled into unconsciousness. The cops had arrested suspects. And the D.A.'s office under Rufus Seth Williams wouldn't prosecute, no matter how brutal the crime.

    But then, in an abrupt about-face, Deputy District Attorney Michael Barry, the head of the D.A.'s charging unit, sent an email to the cops announcing that he was issuing a new policy directive to put his ADAs in the charging unit in a position where they would "feel more comfortable charging difficult cases."

    Grossman was stunned by that.

    "More comfortable?" she said. "That is our job. If you're not comfortable" charging a suspect in a domestic violence case, she said, "You should not be a district attorney."

    "Domestic violence is one of the most serious crises that we face," she said. "If this was done to improve stats for reelection purposes he [D.A. Williams] has destroyed what it means to be district attorney."

    "The integrity has to be restored to that office," Grossman said. "The public deserves better."

    If elected, her goal would be "regaining the public's trust," she said. In the 160 year history of the Philadelphia D.A.s's office, she said, there has never been a D.A. who got indicted. Until Seth Williams came along.

    Morale in that office is in the tank," she said. "They need a proper leader, someone who respects what they do. And Mr. Krasner does not."

    Nine people were shot this weekend alone in Philadelphia, Grossman said. The victims included a one-year-old outside on a porch.

    "My fear is that he [Krasner] will not embrace what it means to be a prosecutor," Grossman said. "I don't understand how you can change your mindset after being a defense attorney" for so many years.

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    By Ralph Cipriano

    The prosecutors in the Graham Spanier case have lost it.

    In a 14-page sentencing memorandum filed May 31, prosecutors in the state Attorney General's office want to punish one of their own cooperating witnesses for memory lapses on the witness stand. The prosecutors also want to throw former Penn State President Graham Spanier in jail for committing the first-degree misdemeanor offense of endangering the welfare of a child.

    Why are the prosecutors howling for blood? In their sentencing memorandum, the state attorney general's office blames the actions of bloggers and and the politically incorrect comments of the defenders of the Penn State administrators accused of covering up the sex crimes of Jerry Sandusky.

    In the sentencing memorandum, the AG's office states that Sandusky's victims have been "sentenced to a lifetime of tortured memories that all victims of child sexual assault carry with them." And that those victims are "haunted regularly by feelings of pain, fear, self-blame, disgust and shame."

    "These feelings have been compounded by the supporters of these defendants who refer to these young men as 'so-called victims' and frauds who are only out for money," write Chief Deputy Attorney General Laura Ann Ditka and Deputy Attorney General Patrick J. Schulte.

    Then, the AG's office started pitching red meat.

    "During the dependency of these proceedings, [the victims'] lives have been marred by conspiracy bloggers showing up on their property to harass them, publishing photographs of their automobiles on social media, and revealing their identities," the prosecutors wrote. "The vibrancy and hopefulness of those children before they were molested by Sandusky can never be restored. Physical injuries heal but the emotional scars left behind by sexual abuse last forever."

    Are you getting this? The insanity of the Penn State case is so over-the-top that the prosecutors are appealing to the judge to put Spanier in jail [and maybe one of their cooperating witnesses as well] because of the actions of bloggers in the case.

    And the politically incorrect words of Spanier's supporters like former Penn State trustee Al Lord, the former CEO of Sallie Mae, who famously declared that he was "running out of sympathy for 35 so-called victims with 7-digit net worth."

    In Lord's defense, that's what happens when some 30 so-called victims at Penn State collect $93 million in cash for their alleged suffering. And the university's board of trustees abandon their fiduciary responsibilities by handing out that cash without having any lawyers or psychologists question any of the plaintiffs, to see if they're telling the truth. And if they deserve that kind of money.

     Lord subsequently apologized, which is the standard procedure in American society these days for anyone who dares to call into question a sacred cow.

    But there are a lot of sacred cows in the so-called Penn State sex scandal.

    Memo to the attorney general's office: During the Penn State scandal, the mainstream media has abandoned its traditional role as watchdogs, in favor of functioning as cheerleaders and agents acting behind the scenes on behalf of the prosecution.

    That's why we need bloggers on this case.

    First of all, as this blog has repeatedly pointed out during the Archdiocese of Philadelphia sex abuse case, any media policy that hangs out to dry the alleged defendants in a criminal case, but protects the identity of the alleged victims in that same case, is blatant discrimination. Such a policy immediately telegraphs to the consumer of news that one party is guilty and the other party in that same contest where guilt or innocence has not yet been determined, is as pure as the driven snow.

    It's a titled playing field, and in any sane world, the media would be reexamining that policy. Especially in the light of the so-called "Billy Doe" case, where a former Philadelphia altar boy who claimed he was raped by two Catholic priests and a Catholic school teacher has been revealed to be a complete fraud.

    In that case, Joe Walsh, a retired detective who led the Philadelphia district attorney's investigation into the altar boy's allegations, came forward last month to file in court a 12-page affidavit that reveals that the former altar boy, Danny Gallagher, admitted he lied to Walsh about his original allegations of brutal rape.

    Walsh also revealed that he repeatedly questioned Gallagher, and caught him in many lies, none of which was ever reported to the defense. And that when Walsh repeatedly told the prosecutor in the case, former Assistant Mariana Sorensen, that Gallagher wasn't credible, she allegedly replied, "You're killing my case."

    But what has been the reaction by the media to the Walsh bombshell in the case that sent four men to jail for imaginary crimes? The Philadelphia Inquirer, which has published 59 Billy Doe got raped stories, has willfully ignored it. As has Rolling Stone, which published a long Billy Doe got raped story by noted fiction writer Sabrina Rubin Erderly, and hasn't gotten around to retracting it. Like they did with Erderly's previous story about an alleged gang rape at a U-Va frat house that never really happened.

    But things at Penn State are even crazier than what happened with Billy Doe the lying altar boy.

    In the case of Billy Doe, whose real name is Danny Gallagher, when he came to court to testify, the former altar boy was identified at two criminal trials by his real name. And then the media, in a misguided act of self-censorship, didn't publish Gallagher's real name, but kept calling him Billy Doe.

    In the Spanier case, however, the judge and lawyers in the case all got in on the act, imposing official censorship on the proceedings, even though the witness in question was a grown man.

    The only alleged victim to testify at the Spanier case was Michal Kajak, a 28-year-old previously identified in the Jerry Sandusky case as "Victim No. 5."

    In the Spanier case, Kajak was sworn in as a witness behind closed doors in the chambers of Judge John Boccabella. Then, when the witness came out to testify, the judge introduced Kajak to the jury as "John Doe," and the lawyers in the case proceed to question him as John Doe.

    While this circus was proceeding, the judge had extra deputies posted around the courtroom, to make sure that no conspiracy bloggers used their cellphone to take photos or video of the celebrity witness who was getting preferential treatment.

    The whole point of John Doe's trip to the witness stand was to tell the jury that Kajak/John Doe was sexually abused in the Penn State showers after Mike McQueary made his famous visit there.

    While extra deputies patrolled the courtroom, the sobbing witness told the jury that he was sexually abused by Jerry Sandusky after the famous Mike McQueary shower incident. But the jury wasn't told what the sex abuse was.

    It wasn't rape; Sandusky allegedly soaped the boy up in the shower and may have touched his penis.

    The jury also wasn't told that because of the alleged abuse, Kajak collected in a civil settlement $8 million.

    Kajak, AKA Victim No. 5 or John Doe, also gave four different dates for his alleged abuse in the shower with Jerry – in 1998, when he was 10 years old; in 2000 when he was 12; in 2001, before 9/11, when he was 13; and finally in 2001 after 9/11, when he would have been 14. 

    But because Kajak was a sacred cow, as certified by the judge in the secrecy and hoopla that accompanied Kajak's trip to the witness stand, the defense lawyers in the case were too intimidated to even ask one question of the witness.

    Spanier's defense lawyers didn't ask about the different dates of the alleged buse, the nature of the alleged abuse, or the money that the alleged victim collected. Instead, those cowed defense lawyers told the judge and jury they didn't want to prolong the victim's suffering by subjecting him to cross-examination.

    Like they would have done with any normal human being who was trying to put their client in jail.

    That's how crazy things are in the Penn State case.

    In their unhinged sentencing memorandum, the attorney general's office teed off on Graham Spanier for not showing the proper amount of remorse. And quite possibly for repeatedly turning down the plea bargain deal that his former co-defendants, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz took. And for daring to take the Commonwealth on in a trial, where he curiously put on no defense.

    "To date, Spanier has shown a stunning lack of remorse for his victims," the attorney general writes. "While he has made various expressions of sympathy for Sandusky's victims in his various public statements," the attorney general writes, "those statements have been completely divorced from taking any personal responsibility. Remorse without taking accountability is not remorse."

    That's when the prosecutors screamed for blood.

    "Nothing short of a sentence that includes a period of jail time would be an appropriate sentence for Graham Spanier," the AG writes. "The only proper sentence for Spanier would be a sentence at the high end of the standard range or aggravated range of the sentencing guidelines," the AG concludes. "There is simply nothing mitigating about the harm he has caused and the nature of his crime."

    As far as the sentencing guidelines are concerned, in the mitigated range, Spanier, who has a clean record, was be subject to "restorative sanctions," presumably probation and/or fines.

    The standard range is up to nine months total confinement. The aggravated range: 12 months.

    Spanier, Curley and Schultz are scheduled to be sentenced this afternoon in Dauphin County Court, which could turn out to be a real show of frontier justice.

    As for former Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley, the AG wrote, "While Curley deserved credit of taking responsibility for his actions in the form of admitting his guilt, his repeated claims of memory lapses around critical events surrounding this crime was nothing short of bizarre."

    "The Commonwealth asserts that the astonishing forgetfulness that Curley demonstrated during his testimony . . . was simply not credible," the AG wrote. The AG states that Curley's forgetfulness "was designed to protect those who deserved to share blame with Curley for the decisions that led to the colossal failure to protect children from Sandusky."

    "His 'forgetfulness' also allowed him to save face in a room full of supporters who publicly called this trial a 'witch hunt' and [a] fraudulent prosecution," the AG wrote. "Mr. Curley's memory was markedly more clear in his statement to investigators a mere week before his testimony."

    There is no truth but the official truth, the AG's office was saying. As promulgated by us. And since we can't punish the blasphemers, those bloggers and politically incorrect Penn State defenders who dared to speak out against our case, let's take it out on the defendants.

    "Thus, Curley needs to be punished in a manner commensurate with his participation in this crime," the AG writes.

    As far as former Penn State VP Gary Schultz is concerned, "Schultz should be given for credit in terms of his willingness to accept responsibility by virtue of his guilty plea," the AG writes.

    In their filing, the AG's office refers derisively to "conspiracy bloggers." One of the most prominent bloggers on the case, John Ziegler, took exception to that characterization.

    "The only people who believe in a nonsensical conspiracy here is the prosecution," Ziegler said. " I'm a non-conspiracy person. What they did is laughable."

    "If there was ever any doubt that the prosecution had no case, this filing ended it," Ziegler said. The prosecutors are making "an emotional plea based on lies," he said. "They're attacking people who weren't even part of the case."

    As far as his own actions are concerned, "I have never gone near Michal Kajak," Ziegler said.

    With all due respect to the AG's office, this is a witch hunt you're conducting here.

    The only remaining question is this afternoon in Dauphin County Court, the Honorable John Bocabella presiding, whether the witches will be burned at the stake.

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  • 06/03/17--07:39: A Requiem For Two Brothers
  • By Ralph Cipriano

    Today, on the streets of Macon, Georgia, people will stand in line along the route to the Rose Hill Cemetery to honor Gregg Allman, the pioneer Southern rocker who died at 69 on Memorial Day weekend.

    At the cemetery, Gregg will be buried next to his older brother, Duane, the legendary slide guitarist who died at 24 in 1971 in a motorcycle accident on these same Macon streets.

    The Allman Brothers Band gave their last concert in 2014 at the Beacon Theatre in New York, ending a 45 year-run. There was talk of a reunion but that's all over now that the last Allman Brother is dead. So today's graveyard procession will also serve as a final way to say goodbye to one of America's most original and influential rock bands.

    It's a 1970s retro celebration. Former president Jimmy Carter will be there, along with Cher, one of Gregg's six wives. And Dicky Betts, a founding band member who left in 2000 after a messy public divorce, but reportedly patched things up with Gregg before he died of liver cancer.

    Gregg's longtime manager has asked the mourners to dress casually, as in jeans and tie-dyed shirts. No suits.

    I first started listening to the Allman Brothers as a college kid at the University of Missouri back in the early 1970s.  Missouri -- pronounced Missou-rah -- was a strange place that considers itself part of the old South.

    I remember my first weekend at Mizzou. They showed a free movie in the auditorium at Jesse Hall, Gone With The Wind. The first scene in the movie was set on a Southern plantation, with slaves working in the cotton fields. To my amazement, the entire student body roared its approval.

    In Missouri, the Confederate flag hung everywhere, and rock bands covered Hank Williams more than Mick Jagger. But everybody loved the Allman Brothers for inventing Southern rock. The band was unusual at the time because it was fronted by the two brothers, but was racially integrated. The original lineup featured two lead guitarists, Duane and Dicky Betts, and two drummers, Butch Trucks and Jaimoe.

    I gravitated to the band after Duane's death, with hits at the time that included "Ramblin Man,""Jessica," and "Southbound." Eventually, however, I migrated to the earlier recordings of the original band, and there was no comparison.

    There is no more life-affirming sound in all of music than the raw, primal screech of Duane Allman's slide guitar. Anybody who has listened to "Statesboro Blues," the opening tract on the live At Filllmore East album, knows what I am talking about.

    Duane's slide guitar could also be lyrical, as in the final moments of "Mountain Jam." And transcendent, as in the last notes of Albert King's "You Don't Love Me," when Duane closed that song by reprising "Joy To The World."

    It's just astounding stuff. To prove it, in 2004, Congress chose At Fillmore East as one of 50 recordings to be added to the Library of Congress.

    They may have been one of America's most original rock bands, but they were also the most tragic. Duane and Gregg were just toddlers when their father, Willis, was robbed and shot to death at 31, the day after Christmas, 1949, by a hitchhiker he had just picked up.

    The furious guitar playing of Willis's oldest son, Duane, was matched by his reckless motorcycle riding, and the white hot way way he burned through his all-too-brief life. After Duane assembled the original band, he stood in front of the doorway and announced, "Anybody in this room who's not going to play in my band, you're gonna have to fight your way out."

    "Duane was a ball of fire," Butch Trucks told Rolling Stone. "He walked into a room, everybody stopped and looked. If you're lucky, you meet one guy like him in your lifetime. Gregg was just a pretty boy. He had blonde hair, and the girls were hanging all over him."

    The Allmans, of course, were a bunch of druggies. Duane usually played his guitar with his eyes closed and his mouth open, looking like he was in another place

    The most famous photo of the band was taken on the streets of Macon across from their recording studio. According to Randy Poe, Duane's biographer, the band was out posing for hours on a frigid day because the photographer couldn't get them to smile. Then Duane saw a local drug dealer strolling by, and he scored a baggie, hidden in the photo under his hands. That's what the band is laughing about. And nobody was laughing harder than Gregg.

    Brothers who are as close in age as Duane and Gregg were, just a year apart, have a way of living inside each other's heads. That's what made the band special. Like in the last minute of Statesboro Blues, after a screeching guitar solo from Duane, when Gregg is belting out the climax of that song.

    "Love that woman . . ." Greg yells. And then Duane pops in, his guitar perfectly mimicking Greg's screech.

    It was a magical combo that lasted unit Duane's last motorcycle ride in 1971. A year later, bass guitarist Berry Oakley, died in yet another tragic motorcycle accident on the streets of Macon, at 24. He's buried next to Duane at Rose Hill.

    Amazingly, through all the tragedies and the drugs and the failed marriages, the band survived and had a second act. Warren Haynes joined the band, and so did Butch Truck's nephew, Derek Trucks, the most amazing slide guitarist since Duane. A guitar prodigy who at 13, used to open Allman Brothers concerts by playing "Layla."

    When Derek played his slide guitar, old Allman Brothers fans got goosebumps. Gregg said that Derek reminded him so much of his older brother that it was other worldly.

    "Do I believe in reincarnation?" Gregg wrote in My Cross to Bear, his autobiography. "After seeing Derek Trucks, how could I not . . . I have good peripheral vision, and sometimes I'll catch him out of the corner of my eye, and they way he stands looks just like my brother."

    They tried to make a movie about Duane and Gregg Allman in 2014. Midnight Rider was going to star William Hurt as Gregg. But when they were filming a movie scene at a railroad crossing, there was a train accident. One crew member died, and seven people were injured.

    That was the end of Midnight Rider.

    The tragedies continued. In 2010, Gregg needed a liver transplant This past January, drummer Butch Trucks shot himself to death, in front of his wife.

    What is it with these guys?

    But today, it's time to pause for a moment with Jimmy, Cher and Dicky. And say goodbye to a band, a sound, and a bygone era.

    Rest in peace, Duane and Gregg. 

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    The Man Who Made Penn State's Showers Safe Again
    By Ralph Cipriano

    Judge John Boccabella proclaimed that he was witnessing a Shakespearian tragedy on Friday when he sentenced Graham Spanier, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz to jail for misdemeanors.

    But actually it was a farce that the judge was presiding over.  "The Comedy of Errors" -- [Shakespeare wrote that one too] -- that Boccabella had a starring role in.

    To start things off, the prosecutors in the case wrote an insane sentencing memorandum where they proposed abandoning the law, as well as all logic and common decency, in favor of mob rule.

    What the prosecutors proposed was to hold Graham Spanier and one of their own cooperating witnesses -- former athletic director Curley -- personally responsible for the actions of bloggers, and the politically incorrect statements of some of Spanier's defenders.

    As crazy as that notion was, Judge Boccabella promptly ratified it by sending all three former Penn State administrators off to jail on Friday for a misdemeanor crime that they weren't guilty of, for supposedly breaking a child endangerment law that never even applied to them.

    All because of the blasphemies of others.

    According to the PennLive report on Friday's sentencing, the judge said that despite the fact that the three Penn State administrators had lost their jobs and their reputations because of this fiasco, a message of deterrence was still needed.

    Because some at Penn State, including members of the board of trustees, were still making excuses about what supposedly happened at Penn State, the judge said. And some of those people actually had the nerve to question the truthfulness and motives of Jerry Sandusky's alleged victims.

    Oh no, not the sainted victims of child abuse! Horrors!

    We're talking about the Happy Valley version of the Septa bus crash, where 33 alleged victims got in line to collect $93 million that the university was handing out, no questions asked. The actions of the Penn state trustees were so irresponsible that their own insurance carrier wound up suing them.

    In case you haven't done the math, the payouts amount to $2.8 million each. And, according to the rules of the game, as practiced in Happy Valley, none of the victims had to even reveal their real names. But according to the Honorable Judge Boccabella, it's beyond skepticism to suggest that a few fakers might have gotten in line for that kind of lottery.

    In case you're unfamiliar with the legend of the Septa bus crash, it's a Philadelphia specialty where a bus with 3 people on it crashes. And after all the lawyers in the case get through, 20 people file claims for damages in court.

    But in Happy Valley, it's even easier to collect.

    In the Penn State lottery, the university just put aside a pot of gold, and let the plaintiffs's lawyers decide who got what. And it didn't matter that the trustees only put $60 million in the pot. And the gold rush promptly overspent the budget by $33 million.

    No problem, we'll just pay all those bills, no questions asked. After all, it's only fair. Why prolong the suffering of the alleged "victims" by asking them any questions. Like is it true you actually claimed that Joe Paterno got in the shower with you and Jerry? And then you got paid?

    Anybody have any questions about such a process that's played out behind closed doors and under court seal, where the alleged victims grabbing those FAT CHECKS don't even have to state their real names?

    No possibility of fraud there, right? After all, people don't lie. Especially alleged victims of sex abuse. And certainly their lawyers can be trusted.

    All the way to the bank.

    Never mind that in Philadelphia, in a travesty that coincided with the Penn State scandal, a fraudster dubbed "Billy Doe" -- whose real name is Danny Gallagher -- just collected $5 million for his alleged pain and suffering in an out-of-court settlement with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

    Even though Billy Doe/Danny Gallagher has since been revealed as a complete fraud who just stole that money.

    And if you don't believe me, just ask the retired detective who was the district attorney's lead investigator.

    If there was any justice in Happy Valley, it would be Penn State's trustees who would be on trial for abandoning their fiduciary duties. But instead, Judge Boccabella was conducting an inquisition. Where Spanier, Curley and Schultz would have to pay for the blasphemies spoken by others.

    Because in Happy Valley, under the rules of the Penn State scandal, it's blasphemy to question the truthfulness and the motives of any of Jerry's alleged victims.

    As long as such an atmosphere of denial exists in Happy Valley, the judge declared, "a similar incident could occur at any time"

    That's right, Judge. At any moment, Mike McQueary could walk back into the showers at Penn State, and witness another former Penn State coach cavorting naked with another boy. And then, Mike could do nothing about it for another ten years.

    Just like he did the first time.

    Nice logic, Judge. But this is the same judge who introduced a 28-year-old witness to the jury as "John Doe." So everybody could pretend that instead of a grown man with a net worth of $8 million, Michal Kajak was a frightened 10 year-old boy who needed his Mommy and a box of Kleenex to get through a brutal inquisition where the defense lawyers in the case were too frightened to ask a question.

    Oh, please stop the torture! And get that sobbing witness another tissue.

    In case you missed it, after he got through ratifying the notion of mob rule, the Honorable Judge Boccabella promptly sentenced former Penn State President Graham Spanier to 4 to 12 months in jail, with two months of it under house arrest.

    Former Athletic Director Tim Curley got 7 to 23 months; former Penn State VP Gary Schultz got 6 to 23 months. But half of Schultz and Curley's sentences will also be under house arrest.

    Let's keep in mind that these three men had clean records and were being sentenced for a misdemeanor, where a fine and/or probation would have been appropriate.

    In any other case where the media wasn't all over it, and the prosecutors weren't screaming for blood.

    But actually, these guys should have never even gone on trial. But they did, thanks to one other legacy from Philadelphia -- bad case law made in the Billy Doe scandal.

    I've written about this before, but I don't think people get it.

    So, let's try again.

    Before the Billy Doe case came along, between 1972 and 2007, the only 300 people in Pennsylvania who were charged with endangering the welfare of a child were people who had direct contact with children, such as parents, teachers and guardians.

    In 2005, a grand jury investigating sex abuse in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia wanted to charge Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua and Msgr. William J. Lynn with endangering the welfare of a child.

    The same stunt the AG's office pulled with Curley, Scultz and Spanier. Only it was about real crimes.

    But a grand jury and Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham stated in the grand jury report that the state's child endangerment law, passed in 1972, only applied to people who had direct contact with children, such as parents, teachers and guardians.

    So that's why the grand jury and Abraham couldn't charge the cardinal or the monsignor with endangering the welfare of a child. Even though, according to the grand jury, they had been involved in a cover up that had shielded some 60 pedophile priests from prosecution for raping hundreds of child victims.

    Abraham promptly led a statewide drive to amend the law, and the state Legislature complied by passing an amendment tin 2007 that added supervisors to the law.

    So, under the rules of the game in Pennsylvania, Spanier, Curley and Schultz could have never even been charged with child endangerment, until some bad case law got made.

    Those blood-thirsty prosecutors in the state's Attorney-General's office would have never been able to write their insane sentencing memoranda. And the Honorable John Boccabella wouldn't have had to preside over a Shakespearian tragedy.

    So what happened?

    In 2009, along came an unscrupulous, ambitious District Attorney in Philadelphia, Seth Williams, who, like those blood-thirsty prosecutors in the AG's office, didn't have any interest in the rule of law.

    Instead, Williams went out in 2011 and indicted Msgr. Lynn under the state's original 1972 child endangerment law with no explanation for what he did.

    And what he did was pretend that there had been 2005 grand jury report from Abraham, and no 2007 amendment of the state law. Instead, Rufus Seth Williams decided to make his own law.

    Keep in mind this is the same unscrupulous district attorney, Rufus Seth Williams, who is facing a 29-count federal indictment charging bribery, extortion, honest services fraud and wire fraud.

    But maybe his worse crime was what he did to the law.

    Msgr. Lynn, of course was convicted at a 2013 trial, on one felony count of child endangerment, and he got sentenced to 3 to 6 years.

    Later that same year, the state Superior Court declared that the sky was blue. The court declared that the state's original child endangerment law didn't apply to supervisors. Only to people who had direct contact with children, such as parents teachers and guardians.

    D.A. Williams promptly appealed.

    That's when, in 2015, the state Supreme Court made some bad case law. The Supremes overturned the overturning of Msgr. Lynn's conviction. By saying the sky was purple.

    They did it by clairvoyantly reinterpreting the meaning of the original 1972 state child endangerment law to declare that they originally meant to include supervisors.

    In making bad case law, the Supremes ignored the actions of the 2005 grand jury in Philadelphia. And the actions of the state legislature in 2007 to amend the child endangerment law to include supervisors.

    But that's of little comfort to Spanier, Curley and Schultz as they head off to jail.

    But at least the citizens of Dauphin County, and the gullible media, can applaud the actions of the Honorable John Boccabella. That courageous judge, who with his tough jail sentences for the Penn State trio, assured that the showers at the Lasch Building will be safe again, and free of pedophiles.

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    By Ralph Cipriano

    The three top former Penn State officials that Judge John Boccabella just sent to jail so he could be tough on crime in a high-profile media case are in bad shape.

    Former Penn State President Graham Spanier is 69 years old, and has had five operations in the past year, in addition to 35 radiation treatments for advanced prostate cancer. According to a sentencing memorandum prepared by Spanier's lawyers, Spanier is being evaluated for imminent open-heart cardiac valve replacement surgery. He's also being treated for high blood pressure, depression and anxiety.

    Former Penn State VP Schultz, 67, is the primary caretaker for his wife, Karen, his high school sweetheart, who has MS. Schultz also cares for his 86-year-old mother-in-law, who moved into Schultz's house in November, 2015. Both Schultz's wife and mother-in-law depend on Schultz's assistance to get through their daily lives, Schultz's lawyers stated in a sentencing memorandum ignored by the judge.

    Former Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley, 63, suffers from "incurable lung cancer," his lawyer wrote. "Any term of incarceration would negatively impact his health, his ongoing treatment and continuity of health care and cause extreme hardship to himself and his family." In addition, Curley's cancer treatment "has caused liver damage making him susceptible to infection and illness," his lawyer wrote.

    But in the interests of "justice," the show must go on. And the Penn State trio must pay by doing jail time for misdemeanors, after seeing their careers torched, and their reputations destroyed.

    According to the judge's rulings, Spanier has to do two months in jail, followed by up to ten months of house arrest.

    Schultz got two months behind bars and up to 21 months of home confinement.

    Curley will do three months in jail followed by up to 21 months of house arrest.

    The charade of the Penn State trio going off to prison for supposedly turning a blind eye to the suffering of the sainted "victims" of Jerry Sandusky must play out. So in this morality play staged by the prosecutors and judges, the media and public must see someone pay for the sins of Jerry Sandusky.

    Even though Jerry's already doing up to 60 years in solitary confinement.

    The official Penn State storyline as promulgated by the media and justice system, is like Nebuchadnezzar's 90-foot tall golden statue in the Old Testament book of Daniel. There is the official truth, and only the official truth, and everyone must bow and worship before it.

    Or be thrown into a fiery media furnace, in addition to jail.

    As stated by the prosecutors and the judge in this car, the Penn State trio must may for the sins of the official deniers of the truth. Bloggers and blasphemers like former PSU trustee Al Lord, who famously said he was  "running out of sympathy for 35 so-called victims with 7-digit net worth."

    But anyone with a sane mind would have to view the Penn State storyline we've been fed for the past seven years and see some gaping holes.

    Such as:

    -- The entire 2011 grand jury report is built upon a lie, that Mike McQueary supposedly saw Jerry Sandusky in the Penn State showers engaged in an "anal rape" of a 10-year-old boy. Even McQueary wrote in an email to the prosecutors that it never happened, he never saw penetration, and that the prosecutors "twisted" his words.

    -- Of the 24 original charges filed by the attorney general's office against the Penn State trio, the only three that stuck were three misdemeanor charges of endangering the welfare of a child. Charges that I've already explained were filed under an original 1972 state law that didn't even apply to them.

    -- Many in Penn State nation seem to think that Jerry Sandusky was a master pedophile, and that the AG's office should have spent their time investigating Sandusky's Second Mile charity, instead of Penn State. A vocal minority believe that Sandusky was innocent, and that the prosecutors manufactured evidence against him. And victims.

    But both sides should agree that Sandusky deserves a new trial, after the earlier farce that he was railroaded at. BigTrial has covered the incompetence of Sandusky's lawyer in an excerpt from a soon-to-be published book by journalist Mark Pendergrast.

    -- If Jerry Sandusky was a pedophile, where's the evidence? The only pornography discovered in the case was on the computers of the prosecutors. Knowledgable law enforcement sources say they have never heard of a case of pedophilia not accompanied by large caches of pornography.

    Also, after three years of investigating, the prosecutors had only found one so-called victim, Aaron Fisher. And this was a guy who initially said nothing ever happened with Jerry. Until he underwent six months of psychotherapy and many more skull sessions with investigators. I'm talking about two state troopers who admitted on a tape-recorded interview with another suspected victim that it took months for the cops to coax to a sex abuse story out of Fisher.

    -- The identity of the victim of one of the most infamous sex abuse crimes in history, the alleged anal rape of that 10-year-old boy in the showers supposedly witnessed by McQueary, is "known only to God," according to the prosecutors. This after seven years of this highly publicized scandal. It makes no sense. Especially to the guy doing 60 years in jail in part for a crime where the state was unable to produce a victim.

    If Sandusky gets a new trial, maybe some of these issues will be investigated. But don't expect the mainstream media to show any interest in digging into this. They already have their official story line that everyone must bow and worship before.

    And nobody does more bowing and scraping before sacred cows and the prevailing wisdom than the mainstream media. Take my word for it; I've been a reporter for 40 years.

    Meanwhile, those sentencing memorandums detail the pain and suffering that the official scapegoats of the Penn State scandal have already been subjected to.

    "Dr. Spanier has become the subject of public debate, incessant and vitriolic media commentary [both traditional and 'social' media] and endless ridicule and scorn," wrote lawyers Samuel W. Silver and Bruce P. Merenstein.

    "Dr. Spanier has already suffered severely through public shaming, loss of employment and significant repetitional harm," his lawyers wrote. "He is almost 70 years old and in worsening health."

    In the sentencing memorandum, a doctor detailed those health problems, both mental and physical.

    "Due to the chronic psychological stress from prolonged legal issues, as well as the chronic burden of severe medical problems, Dr. Spanier was diagnosed with major depression and anxiety," wrote Dr. Michael P. Flanagan,  the Professor and Vice-Chair of Family and Community Medicine at Penn State's College of Medicine.

     "In addition to his cardiac and prostate cancer medications, as well as extensive radiation therapy, Dr. Spanier has been prescribed three medications to treat underlying reactive depression and associated anxiety," Flanagan wrote.

    In an unsuccessful effort to keep Spanier out of jail, his lawyers detailed Spanier's extraordinary accomplishments and many good deeds.

    In 2005, Spanier was asked by FBI Director Robert Mueller and CIA Director Porter Goss to take the "lead role in national security matters pertaining to higher education," his lawyers wrote.

    In the sentencing memorandum, Tom Mahlik, former NCIS Deputy Assistant Director, told of Spanier's receipt of the Warren Medal.

    "During the ceremony, it was said that 'No American has done more since 9/11 to bring the CIA and FBI closer together in a collaborative working relationship," Mahlik wrote. "Graham is courageous . . . Graham is transparent . . . Graham is trustworthy."

    John R. Sipher, former member of the Clandestine Service of the CIA, described Spanier as "a man of integrity," a "patriot and a concerned citizen" who wasn't paid for his services to the intelligence community.

    Steven L. Soboroff, a childhood friend of Spanier's, and the commissioner of the Los Angeles Police Department, described Spanier as a man of "truthfulness" and "unwavering integrity."

    In the sentencing memorandum, Spanier's lawyers also documented their client's good deeds. Such as Spanier and his wife have donating almost $2 million to Penn State. The couple also has been honored for raising more than $700,000 for the Penn State Renaissance Fund scholarship endowment.

    In Schultz's sentencing memorandum,  Thomas J. Farrell and Emily C. McNally, Schultz's lawyers, included a handwritten note from Schultz's wife, Karen.

    "My MS requires someone to be available in times of lack of strength and stability," she wrote. "I hope you understand how important Gary is to me and my well being."

    In Tim Curley's sentencing memorandum, his lawyer, Caroline M. Roberto, tried to explain Curley's memory lapses on the witness stand, which drew the ire of the prosecutors.

    "The Commonwealth asserts that the astonishing forgetfulness that Curley demonstrated during his testimony . . . was simply not credible," the AG wrote. The AG states that Curley's forgetfulness "was designed to protect those who deserved to share blame with Curley for the decisions that led to the colossal failure to protect children from Sandusky."

    His lawyer, however, stated that Curley "testified consistently with his proffered testimony and answered all questions to the best of his ability. Only once did he appear to misunderstand a question and immediately corrected his answer to conform with his prior statement."

    Roberto, in her sentencing memorandum, included a witness who talked about a time before his cancer treatments. When Curley's memory was so good he knew all 26 members of the men's soccer team by name, as well as the names of every coach at Penn State.

    "I had never seen anything like this," wrote Sandra Rogus. "He was doing this with every coach in every sport." Curley, Rugus wrote, "cared deeply about supporting every coach."

    In Curley's sentencing memorandum, his lawyer wrote about the "pain" and "deep and substantial punishment" already inflicted upon Curley during a "media firestorm."

    "Mr. Curley was subjected to epic international shaming and humiliation through relentless media frenzy that went on for years through the Sandusky trial and the publication of the dubious and frequently discredited Freeh Report," Roberto wrote.

    "As well as the dubious and eventually vacated NCAA sanctions against Penn State," Roberto wrote. "Such public shaming of a man revered by so many who was at the peak of his job performance must be taken into account when determining fair sentence to impose."

    Sorry, Mr. Curley, Mr. Schultz and Mr. Spanier.

    In the Penn State scandal, there is only one truth that we must all bow before and worship. To that end, the Penn State trio must be sacrificed on the altar of that official truth.

    So the show can go on.

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    By George Anastasia

    Ralph Natale has a way with words.

    The 82-year-old former mob boss has never been shy about touting his role in the Philadelphia underworld.

    But some of the stories he tells in his biography, Last Don Standing, appear to be at odds with his sworn testimony in a 2001 federal racketeering trial.

    The problem is, the story Ralph tells changes depending on where he is and whom he's speaking to.

    Such as the story of how Ralph got initiated into the Mafia. Was the secret ceremony performed by Angelo Bruno and Carlo Gambino?

    Or was it Joey Merlino?

    Read the full story here.

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    Judge Ceisler Sent Two Innocent Men To Jail
    By Ralph Cipriano

    Tomorrow, at a 9 a.m. hearing in Courtroom 453 in City Hall, the Honorable Judge Ellen Ceisler has a chance to right a wrong.

    Four years ago, Judge Ceisler presided over a trial that was a travesty of justice. It ended with the judge sending two innocent men off to jail -- the Rev. Charles Engelhardt and Bernard Shero.

    Ceisler can't make amends to Father Engelhardt; he died in prison in 2014. In his last moments, the 67-year-old priest made a dying declaration to a fellow prisoner, "I am an innocent man, who was wrongly convicted." It turned out to be true.

    She can't do anything for Father Engelhardt, but Ceisler can do something for Bernard Shero.

    He's the former Catholic schoolteacher doing 8 to 16 years at the State Correctional Institution in Houtzdale, PA, for supposedly raping Daniel Gallagher, the lying altar boy known as Billy Doe. What the judge can do is grant Shero a new trial, and get him out of jail, after Shero served four years for an imaginary rape.

    The 2013 trial of Bernard Shero and Father Engelhardt was a disaster right from the start.

    The defendants stood up in court; the clerk was supposed to read the charges against them. And then the clerk read an extra charge, conspiracy, against each defendant that neither defendant was charged with.

    Oops. The judge's reaction, however, was hey, no big deal. We'll get it right eventually.

    But they got it all wrong. The entire travesty is recounted here.

    When the verdict came in, every reporter in the courtroom was stunned. So was the judge.

    The reporters agreed that whether or not you believed Billy Doe's crazy stories, there was so much reasonable doubt in the case that the judge would have been justified in setting those guilty verdicts aside.

    But Judge Ceisler was no profile in courage on the day Engelhardt and Shero were convicted. Instead, she went along with a verdict that made no sense. It was based on the fantastic fables of abuse told by the star prosecution witness, Billy Doe/Danny Gallagher, who turned out to be a fraud.

    In case you missed it, Joe Walsh, the retired detective who was the District Attorney's lead investigator on the case, has come forward to say that Danny Gallagher was a liar who admitted that he just "made up stuff." In a 12-page affidavit, Walsh wrote that he caught Gallagher telling so many lies that the detective repeatedly told the prosecutor in the case, former Assistant District Attorney Mariana Sorensen, that her star witness wasn't credible, and that the evidence he had found contradicted Gallagher's crazy stories.

    Sorensen's response, according to Walsh: "You're killing my case."

    At sentencing, Judge Ceisler the gullible PC warrior hammered Shero with 8 to 16 years in jail, and Engelhardt with 6 to 12 years -- for couple of alleged rapes that never happened.

    What happened next in Judge Ceisler's courtroom was something I will never forget.

    After the judge imposed those long jail sentences on two innocent men, and they were led away in handcuffs, many of the defendants' relatives started crying.

    That's when Judge Ceisler's clerk -- the same bonehead who read an extra charge against each defendant that they weren't charged with -- went through every row in the courtroom and ordered every sobbing relative to leave.

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

    Nope, not in Judge Ceisler's court, after she sends innocent men to jail.

    At Thursday's hearing, George Bochetto will represent Bernie Shero.

     "We're just very hopeful and very optimistic that we get Shero out of jail," Bochetto said.

    When asked if he's defending an innocent man, Bochetto said, "It certainly looks that way, doesn't it?'

    Neither Judge Ceisler, who just got elected to the Commonwealth Court, nor her staff could be reached for comment on this situation despite weeks of trying.

    Bonnie Shero, Bernard's mother, will be there tomorrow in Judge Ceisler's courtroom to see if her son finally catches a break.

    "My goodness, it's been like a nightmare that never ends," Bonnie Shero said about the tragedy that never ends for her family. "It tears our hearts out whenever we think about the false accusations," she said. "Hopefully, it will turn out for the best and we can bring him home."

    "I did not assault Daniel Gallagher and I have been wrongfully convicted and imprisoned," Bernard Shero wrote in a certification attached to his lawyers' amended petition for post-conviction collateral relief filed last month.

    In their petition, Shero's lawyers, Bochetto and Jeffrey W. Orgen, outline two possible legal reasons for granting Shero a new trial.

    The easiest one involves a recent finding by Judge Gwendolyn Bright, who was presiding over the retrial of Msgr. William J. Lynn. He's the former secretary for clergy for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia who became the first Catholic administrator in the country to go to jail for failing to control abuser priests that he supervised.

    Lynn's conviction in 2012 on one count of endangering the welfare of a child was overturned in 2015 by the state Superior Court. The star witness in the Msgr. Lynn case is the same star witness in the Engelhardt-Shero case -- Danny Gallagher.

    In the Lynn case, retired Detective Walsh came to court to testify at a hearing about the lies he caught Danny Gallagher telling, and the prosecutor's failure to heed Walsh's warnings that Gallagher wasn't a credible witness.

    Judge Bright found that the information testified to by Walsh should have been turned over to the defense, but wasn't. As far as Judge Bright was concerned, the District Attorney's office was guilty of prosecutorial misconduct serious enough to warrant a new trial for Msgr. Lynn. If the appeals court had not already granted him a new trial.

    "The identical evidence that was improperly withheld from Lynn's defense team by the Commonwealth in violation of Sixth Amendment and Brady v. Maryland, is the same evidence withheld from [Shero's] defense team," Bochetto and Ogren wrote. "Accordingly, based on Judge Bright's ruling, [Shero] should be granted a new trial as the remedy for the Sixth Amendment and Brady violations."

    The other reason for granting Shero a new trial involves Judge Ceisler finding that Shero's trial attorney, Burt Rose, was an ineffective counsel.

    In their petition, Bochetto and Ogren rip Rose for agreeing to a joint trial with Father Engelhardt. That's because at the joint trial, the prosecution was allowed to drag former priest Edward V. Avery into court as a witness against Engelhardt.

    Rose's position pre-trial was that Danny Gallagher's stories about being passed around like a piñata among three alleged rapists was so ridiculous, and so filled with factual contradictions, that the jury [and maybe even the judge] would see right through a third-rate conman.

    But the jury bought Gallagher's lame act, and so did the judge.

    Avery had pleaded guilty to charges of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with Gallagher, and conspiracy. Avery was facing 13 1/2 to 27 years in jail if he was convicted; instead he took a sweetheart deal and got 2 1/2 to 5 years.

    Avery was the abusive priest that Lynn allegedly allowed to go back into ministry, which brought about the child endangerment charge filed against Lynn. But when Father Engelhardt went on trial, he was charged with conspiring with Avery to pass around Danny Gallagher as a rape victim.

    "Indeed, the mere presence of Defendant Avery at the trial of both men was devastating because it improperly bolstered [Danny Gallagher's] story," Shero's appeals lawyers wrote. Rose's defense that Gallagher's story "was unbelievable was dashed months before the trial when defendant Avery pled guilty and Defendant and Engelhardt and [Shero] proceeded to trial together."

    "Mr. Rose's failure to property object to his evidence further compounded the profound mistake of failing to sever [Shero] from Defendant Engelhardt," Bochetto and Ogren wrote.

    Meanwhile, Judge Ceisler won election to the Commonwealth Court. Her successful campaign slogan:

    "The Commonwealth Court profoundly impacts all citizens -- each of our family members, friends and neighbors alike," Ceisler wrote. "If elected, I'll never stop fighting to ensure that all Pennsylvanians receive fair and just treatment in Commonwealth Court."

    Yo Judge Ceisler. In your final days on the bench in Common Pleas Court, why don't you give Bernard Shero the "fair and just treatment" he and his co-defendant didn't get the first time around.

    By granting him a new trial.

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    By Ralph Cipriano

    The Philadelphia District Attorney's office, attempting to explain away damaging allegations of prosecutorial misconduct made by one of their own, today advanced the novel theory in court that Detective Joe Walsh was a rogue cop.

    It happened at a status hearing this morning in front of Judge Ellen Ceisler. The 90-minute hearing was called by the judge to determine whether former schoolteacher Bernard Shero should be granted a new trial. Let's cut to the chase: he should. Because four years ago, Shero was unjustly convicted and sent to jail for the imaginary rape of lying altar boy "Billy Doe," AKA Danny Gallagher, the D.A.'s former star witness who has since been revealed to be a fraud.

    If there was any "justice" in the criminal justice system, they'd let Shero out of jail yesterday. But the wheels of the justice system turn slowly. And they were spinning in reverse today when Assistant District Attorney Patrick Blessington asserted that the D.A.'s office would challenge Detective Walsh at a future June 23 hearing, when Walsh is expected to testify on behalf of Shero's bid for a new trial, because Walsh's "credibility is suspect," Blessington said.

    The assistant district attorney asserted that back in 2011 and 2012, when Walsh was out interviewing nuns, priests and teachers at St. Jerome's Church, the Northeast Philly parish where Gallagher falsely claimed he was viciously raped three times, "He [Walsh] did that on his own," Blessington said.

    Courtroom spectators burst out laughing, but the judge was incredulous.

    "He did that on his own," the judge repeated. Mr. Blessington, the judge said, are you telling me that during the district attorney's investigation of the crimes alleged by Danny Gallagher, Detective Walsh was acting on his own?

    "I don't understand that," the judge said.

    But Blessington didn't back down.

    Walsh was acting on his own, Blessington continued to assert, when the detective was out interviewing all those witnesses who contradicted Danny Gallagher's cockamamie stories of abuse.

    Those witnesses that Walsh interviewed who contradicted Danny Gallagher included members of Gallagher's own family, such as his mother, older brother, and father.

    Next, Blessington brought up former Assistant District Attorney Mariana Sorensen, the lead prosecutor in the case. According to Detective Walsh, he repeatedly told Sorensen that Danny Gallagher wasn't a credible witness, and she replied, "You're killing my case."

    Pretty damaging stuff. But in ADA Blessington's version of the story, Walsh was insubordinate to Sorensen.

    "She asked him [Walsh] to do things that he didn't do," Blessington claimed.

    Blessington did not say what those things might be. He has two weeks to dream something up.

    Meanwhile, here's a suggestion for Shero's defense lawyers on how to handle Blessington's tall tale.

    From 2002 to 2005, Walsh, a decorated former homicide detective, was assigned to the district attorney's office as the lead investigator when the D.A. was investigating sex abuse in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

    Walsh became the D.A.'s expert on the archdiocese's so-called secret archive files, 45,000 pages that chronicled decades of sexual misdeeds committed by some 160 priests in the archdiocese against hundreds of innocent children. Then, Walsh retired in 2005.

    In October 2011, First Assistant District Attorney Ed McCann called Walsh and asked if he would be interested in coming back to work as a contractor to help prosecute three priests and a schoolteacher accused in the Danny Gallagher case.

    At the 2012 trial of Msgr. William J. Lynn, Walsh, as the D.A.'s expert witness, was on the witness stand for 19 straight days, testifying for nearly 100 hours.

    If Walsh, the D.A.'s expert witness, suddenly went rogue, he was a contract employee. On any given day that Walsh allegedly interviewed a witness he wasn't supposed to, or he didn't follow an order from ADA Soresnen --- a rookie courtroom warrior who had never previously prosecuted a traffic stop -- the veteran decorated detective could have been fired on the spot.

    But he wasn't. So that proves Blessington's rogue cop theory is a bunch of BS.

    But that wasn't the only BS flying around the courtroom today.

    Both the judge and ADA Blessington asserted that before the trial of Father Engelhardt and Bernard Shero, Walsh that rogue cop was allegedly "feeding" information to Mike McGovern, the lawyer who represented Father Engelhardt.

    I happen to know from a variety of sources that this isn't true. Walsh never spoke to McGovern until after the Engelhardt-Shero trial was over, and both defendants had been unjustly convicted. Walsh called McGovern to ask what the hell happened.

    If Walsh was feeding McGovern, McGovern would have continued to cross-examine Danny Gallagher about many factual discrepancies in his stories -- discrepancies laid out in Walsh's recent 12-page affidavit -- until the cows came home.

    If Walsh was feeding McGovern, Engelhardt and Shero would have been acquitted.

    At today's hearing, there was much arguing over precisely what Judge Gwendolyn Bright had found to be prosecutorial misconduct when she presided over the retrial of the Msgr. Lynn case, where her pretrial rulings are now being appealed by both sides.

    Judge Ceisler tried to clarify things by telling both sets of lawyers that she had called Judge Bright for clarification. And that Judge Bright had said that the prosecutorial misconduct she found was Detective Walsh's continued interrogation of Danny Gallagher, which supposedly went on for three hours. That involved Walsh questioning Gallagher about nine different factual contradictions in his crazy stories, and Gallagher responding by either saying nothing, claiming he was high on drugs, or telling a new story.

    According to Judge Ceisler, the prosecutorial misconduct Judge Bright found did not include ADA Sorensen telling Walsh, "You're killing my case."

    On his end, ADA Blessington argued that what Walsh was doing when he was grilling Danny Gallagher amounted to "trial prep."

    "If there's a violation," Blessington said about the allegations of prosecutorial misconduct made by Walsh, "he's the violator," Blessington said about Detective Walsh.

    George Bochetto, representing Shero, told the judge that in the Lynn retrial, Judge Bright was dealing with "the same exact detective, the same exact accuser, the same body of facts."

    If Judge Bright found prosecutorial misconduct in the Lynn case serious enough to warrant a new trial, shouldn't Judge Ceisler in the Shero case also grant a new trial?

    In the criminal justice system, Bochetto argued, defendants facing the same accuser, and the same set of facts deserve "equal justice."

    If Detective Walsh was a bad actor, Bochetto pointed out, he's still a member of the prosecution team. And if there is any misconduct, the prosecution is stuck with it.

    "How do any of us participate in that," Bochetto said from the defense table, about the misconduct in the case.

    Bochetto also asserted that the grilling that Detective Walsh gave Danny Gallagher for three hours "was not trial prep." It was an attempt to "assemble evidence" and "build the prosecution case," Bochetto said.

    But the prosecution "improperly withheld a lot of that evidence," Bochetto said. "This is wrong."

    "This is their investigator," Bochetto said about Walsh. And so when it comes to the "type of shenanigans" that went on in this case, that's on them, Bochetto said of the prosecution.

    On her part, Judge Ceisler conceded that Danny Gallagher's stories of abuse were "wildly inconsistent," and that she thought the prosecution had a difficult case.

    Ceisler then bore in on Blessington regarding several factual discrepancies in Gallagher's stories that were detailed in Walsh's 12-page affidavit filed last month in court.

    Danny Gallagher had claimed that he was raped by Father Engelhardt at an early morning 6:15 a.m. Mass at St. Jerome's in December, 1998. Was it true, the judge repeatedly demanded of ADA Blessington, that Gallagher's mother kept meticulous monthly calendars, and those calendars never mentioned a 6:15 a.m. Mass?

    If it was true, Judge Ceisler told Blessington, then the Commonwealth's case was over right there.

    Here, Blessington did some tap-dancing, claiming that Danny Gallagher's mother wrote some kind of a note on one of the calendars, saying that a 6:15 Mass where Danny's older brother James was scheduled to serve at, must have been served by little Danny.

    But here we come to a dirty little secret of the Engelhardt-Shero trial.

    When Sheila Gallagher took the witness stand, the defense attempted to question her about what those calendars said.

    Only the prosecution had pulled the old switcheroo. That's right, instead of entering Sheila Gallagher's 1998 calendars as evidence in the case, the prosecutors entered Sheila Gallagher's 1999 calendars. And the note Blessington was referring to was written in a female's handwriting on a July 1999 calendar.

    Not the December 1998 calendar.

    From the bench, the judge said she was shocked that the defense lawyers didn't ask more questions during the Engelhardt-Shero trial.

    About the calendars. About whether Danny Gallagher walked to that 6:15 Mass where he was allegedly raped in the dead of winter, as Danny Gallagher had claimed to Detective Walsh.

    Or was Danny Gallagher and his older brother routinely driven to and from Mass by their parents, as Gallagher's older brother told Detective Walsh. Even though the family lived less than a mile from the church.

    The other detail the judge was upset about concerned a schedule of Masses at the church. Danny Gallagher had claimed that after he was raped by the two priests, whenever he noticed on the Mass schedule that he was supposed to serve a Mass with either priest, he would switch services with another altar boy.

    But the priests at St. Jerome's told Detective Walsh that Danny Gallagher could have never known which priest was serving at what Mass, because there was a weekly schedule kept in the rectory, where Gallagher had no access to.

    "That never came out at trial," the judge said about the Mass schedule. "That was shocking to me."

    What might also shock the judge was another dirty trick that the prosecution pulled at the Engelhardt-Shero trial.

    During his closing statement, Assistant District Attorney Mark Cipolletti devoted more time to attacking the credibility of Louise Hagner, a social worker for the archdiocese, than any other witness.

    That's because Hagner was the person who was taking notes when Danny Gallagher first told his fantastic tales of abuse by three alleged assailants.

    In his first stories, Gallagher had claimed he was anally raped, beaten into unconsciousness, strangled with a set belt, tied up naked with altar sashes, threatened with death, and forced to suck blood of the penis of one of the priests who raped him.

    Then, Gallagher dropped every one of those details when he told a new story of abuse to the police and the grand jury. This time, Gallagher claimed he'd been forced to perform a strip tease and engage in oral sex and mutual masturbation with his three assailants.

    But Gallagher claimed he was high on drugs when he told those stories, and ADA Cipolletti claimed that Hagner couldn't be trusted.

    "She couldn't keep track of her own lies," Cipolletti said about Hagner, as he argued that she had no credibility.

    But Cipoletti knew better.

    Before the Engelhardt-Shero trial, Cipolletti and another prosecutor, Evangelia Manos, had interviewed Judy Cruz-Ransom. She was a second archdiocese social worker who was in a car with Hagner the day Danny Gallagher voluntarily got in and told those wild stories of abuse.

    Cipolletti and Manos had interviewed Cruz-Ransom before the trial, and knew that she had corroborated every detail of Hagner's story. Including the details that Gallagher had appeared sober and seemed to be fake crying when he told the social workers his violent and crazy stories of abuse.

    But the prosecutors never told the defense about their interview with Cruz-Ransom. It was disclosed in a civil case where Danny Gallagher sued the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for damages, and Cruz-Ransom was deposed.

    That's the kind of dirty tricks the prosecution has pulled in this case.

    And, as demonstrated by ADA Blessington today, the D.A.'s office under Rufus Seth Williams continues to keep pulling dirty tricks, such as asserting that Detective Walsh was a rogue cop.

    While Bernie Shero rots away in prison.

    "My guy's still sitting in jail," Bochetto complained during today's hearing. While the lawyers continued to argue the finer points of the law.

    Let's have another trial, Bochetto said, but this time, let's make it a fair trial.

    Before Shero "dies in jail," Bochetto said.

    That was the fate of Shero's co-defendant, Father Charles Engelhardt, who died in prison in 2014.

    His dying declaration, as made to a fellow prisoner: "I am an innocent man, who was wrongly convicted."

    Let's hope and pray that Bernie Shero is more fortunate.

    0 0

    Reprinted with permission from Gangland News.

    By George Anastasia

    The Tribeca Film Festival ended in April with a screening of Godfather I and Godfather II. The tribute was a way to mark the 45th anniversary of the release of Godfather I.

    Even before the film festival began, however, New Jersey mob figure Danny Provenzano was raising a toast to the movies. Provenzano, whose great uncle was the legendary Anthony (Tony Pro) Provenzano, has turned his fascination with those films and some astute foresight into a significant payday.

    A movie buff who has acted, directed and written scripts, Provenzano, 53, has always been a fan of the Mario Puzo-Francis Ford Coppolla classics. Shortly before he went to prison on a New Jersey racketeering charge in 2003, Provenzano inquired about the availability of various business trademarks linked to the Godfather phenomenon. He was particularly interested in Genco Olive Oil. Genco, you may recall, was the company Don Corleone set up in New York to legitimize his business operations.

    Paramount had the trademark. But after Provenzano was released from prison in 2007, he learned that the trademark license had expired and was available. He bought it.

    “I think I paid $1,600,” Provenzano said with a laugh.  

    Last year, MJ Licensing, a company that is already marketing Don Corleone Vodka in a deal with Paramount, decided it wanted to get into the olive oil business and inquired about the availability of the Genco brand. That, apparently, is when Paramount learned that it no longer had the trademark.

    MJ Licensing negotiated a deal with Provenzano instead.

    “He was a nice guy and easy to deal with,” said Jeffrey Dash, the CEO of  Don Corleone Vodka and part of MJ Licensing team.

    Dash called the Godfather brand “iconic” and said his company hopes to roll out its Genco Olive Oil brand in the near future.  Look for it as a supermarket near you. But he politely declined to discuss specifics of the deal with Danny Pro, nor would he say how much his company had paid for the trademark.

    Provenzano isn’t saying much about that either, but he was smiling broadly over dinner recently at Angelo Lutz’s Kitchen Consigliere Café in Collingswood, NJ, where between courses he happily reported the deal has given him some financial breathing  room and a chance to pursue other projects.

    Provenzano has had his ups and downs since returning home nearly a decade ago from Northern State Prison, one of the toughest in New Jersey. He wrote directed and starred in a movie called “This Thing of Ours” that was release shortly before he went away. In a move that typified his bravado, part of that script came directly from the racketeering indictment the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office had brought against him.  

    James Caan, Frank Vincent and Vincent Pastore had roles in the film, which won some local film festival awards but quickly went to video.

    Provenzano had a recurring role in one season of the Housewives of New Jersey after coming home from NorthernState. He has also been actively involved in bare knuckles boxing, promoting that illicit fight game for an avid underground following. Matches, staged in obscure locations and touted by word of mouth, were often “sponsored” by Provenzano’s Genco Olive Oil company.

    (Full disclosure  - I’ve written pieces of three scripts for projects Provenzano has tried, thus far without success, to develop. These include a television comedy drama called “ManhattanKansas” and a Simpsons-like cartoon called “Wiseguys and Whack Jobs.” )

    How lucrative was Provenzano’s deal with MJ Licensing for the Genco trademark?

    Danny Pro’s not saying. But the case of Don Corleone vodka that was thrown in to sweeten the package – retail value of $900 – didn’t begin to scratch the surface. The payout was a six-figure deal, Gangland has learned. It was somewhere south of $500,000 but still in a very nice neighborhood for a trademark that cost him less than two Gs.

    Provenzano will also have a small percentage interest in the sale of the olive oil and he says he has retained the right to use the Genco name in promoting several of his other ventures.

    “Everyone knows The Godfather,” he said of the movie. “People also know products associated with the movie. Nine out of ten people can tell you what Genco Olive Oil is. That’s what I was thinking when I asked about the trademark.  I never thought it would be available, but if you don’t ask…”

    George Anastasia can be reached at
     To read more from Jerry Capeci's Gang Land News click below:

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