Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Lying, Scheming Altar Boy on the Cover of Newsweek

The following article was written by Father Gordon MacRae, which can be found here. A Newsweek cover story by Ralph Cipriano exposed how a Catholic sex abuse fraud turned Father Charles Engelhardt into a martyr, and Daniel Gallagher into a millionaire. The Newsweek story of the cover magazine can be found here.  

We continue to pray for truth and justice to prevail. 


The Lying, Scheming Altar Boy on the Cover of Newsweek

The Lying, Scheming Altar Boy on the Cover of Newsweek
A Newsweek cover story by Ralph Cipriano exposed how a Catholic sex abuse fraud turned Fr Charles Engelhardt into a martyr, and Daniel Gallagher into a millionaire.
This post has a most urgent preface, one that arrived in the mail just as I sat down to type. It was a single page sent to me by TSW reader Helen, a frequent commenter from Pennsylvania who wrote across the top of the page, “Father Gordon, your face could be on this print.” No, Helen, it could not! The face on that printed page is someone I once met at a pivotal time in my life as a priest, but the sender could not have known that. Helen simply stumbled upon a quote she thought I ought to see, and she was right. The face and the quote on that page belong to the late Father John Hardon (1914 – 2000), an American Jesuit priest whose cause for beatification has begun with a recognition in Rome that he is held to be a Servant of God.
Father Hardon and I met in 1989 by “coincidence,” if you still believe in such things. I don’t, but how and why we met is another post for another day. Suffice it for now to say that it was an encounter I could not forget, and when I saw his face on that printed page, and read the words attributed to him, it seemed as though he once again stood next to me with a firm grip upon my shoulder. The quote expresses perfectly why I must write this post, why you must read it, and why together we must share it boldly, and as far and wide as we can make it travel. I took Father Hardon’s words to be a directive, and so should you. Here is the quote:
“Our duty as Catholics is to know the truth; to live the truth; to defend the truth; to share the truth with others; and to suffer for the truth.” (Father John Hardon).
A few weeks ago when I wrote my post, “American Crime Story,” it included a small piece of irony toward the end when I revealed why I felt so compelled to write it:
“How could I NOT? Maybe someone else in the media will catch the example of the likes of Marcia Clark and Dorothy Rabinowitz and grow a spinal column.”
It seems I had omitted someone from the “media spinal column” category, and that someone is journalist Ralph Cipriano. For some time now, he has been covering events in Philadelphia for, his outstanding Philadelphia Trial Blog. A few weeks ago, Mr. Cipriano published a major media event in a Newsweek cover story entitled “Catholic Guilt? The Lying, Scheming Altar Boy Behind a Lurid Rape Case” (Jan. 20, 2016).
This is a dark story, and a painful one, and for any number of reasons you might be tempted to click it away at this point, but that would be a big mistake, for it became a matter not only of justice, but of life and death. Ralph Cipriano’s Newsweek article arrived in the prison mail on the same day as the above quote from Servant of God, Father John Hardon, and I knew instantly that I had to write about this.
Reading through the Newsweek piece was a vivid experience of deja vu because I have written of this story before – just over a year ago – in a post entitled, “A Rolling Stone Gathers No Facts, Just Dirt.” It was an account of how a good, kind and much loved priest, Father Charles Engelhardt, was martyred in prison as a result of greed and false witness. It is this same story that Ralph Cipriano just covered in Newsweek, and both are to be commended for some courageous against-the-tide reporting. The Church and priesthood are indebted to Newsweek for presenting this story so boldly in a leading secular media venue while so much of the Catholic press crossed to the other side on the road to Jericho.
Father Charles Engelhardt died while chained to a bed in a prison medical unit late in 2014, and the full telling of this story is all that will bring meaning and purpose to his death.
So be brave, please, and read this post to the end, then share it every way you can. Do this, please, to honor the Servant of God who just told us that our duty as Catholics is to know, defend, and share the truth. Do this, please, to honor Father Charles Engelhardt who suffered for the truth and for his priesthood, a suffering that cost him his life.
In fact, I have written of the various facets of this story several times. The first was “Trophy Justice: The Philadelphia Msgr William Lynn Case,” and more recently in “Mercy Frees Roman Polanski. Justice Frees Monsignor Lynn.” I’d like to think that I approached both articles as Ralph Cipriano did, with cool journalistic detachment, but I now admit that’s very hard to do when the story has a Kafkaesque ring that is all too familiar. I was admittedly angry and not at all detached when I wrote “A Rolling Stone Gathers No Facts, Just Dirt,” a fact conveyed in my Search Engine summary for that post:
“Before Rolling Stone’s Sabrina Rubin Erdely fell for an untrue UVA gang rape story, she was conned by ‘Billy Doe’ whose tale took the life of an innocent priest.”
One year later I find myself no less angry revisiting it. It told the tale of how Sabrina Rubin Erdely’s infamous November 19, 2014 Rolling Stone article, “A Rape on Campus” came unraveled as her account of serial rape at the University of Virginia was debunked and widely exposed as grossly inaccurate and misinformed. Ms. Erdely fell for the story of “Jackie,” took it at face value, and ran with it – doing much damage not only to UVA and its students, but to Rolling Stone and the field of journalism itself.
Since I first wrote of this story, the University of Virginia and its Phi Kappa Psi fraternity have filed multi-million dollar libel and slander lawsuits naming Sabrina Rubin Erdely and Rolling Stone magazine as defendants. Both have since suffered serious losses in journalistic credibility. Rolling Stone magazine has since retracted Ms. Erdely’s account of a lurid frat house serial rape case at UVA. Her Rolling Stone article, “A Rape on Campus,” is today widely seen as grossly irresponsible and agenda-driven slander masked as journalism.
However, Mr. Cipriano’s bold Newsweek cover story is the first hint of media clamor to revisit Ms. Erdely’s other Rolling Stone debacle, “The Catholic Church’s Secret Sex Crime Files” in which she introduced “Billy Doe,” a purported victim of violent and horrific sexual abuse by Catholic priests. Billy Doe, granted anonymity by Rolling Stone and everyone else in the news media, was described by Ms. Erdely as “a sweet, gentle kid with boyish good looks” who had been callously “passed around” from predator to predator in the Philadelphia Archdiocese. The story eventually resulted in $5 million in settlements for Billy Doe while landing three innocent Catholic priests in prison.
One of those priests was Father Charles Engelhardt whose decision to stand by the truth against Billy Doe’s $5 million slander cost this good priest his life. As journalist Ralph Cipriano reveals in Newsweek, Father Engelhardt refused pre-trial plea deals including one deal on the eve of trial that would have resulted in no time in prison and a sentence of simple “community service.” Father Engelhardt chose the truth, and he chose to suffer for the truth. He instead was sentenced to a term of six to twelve years in prison “because he would not perjure himself by pleading guilty ‘to make a deal,’ to admit to a crime he did not commit.” In “Handcuffs and a Hospital Bed,” a November 17, 2014 posting at his “Big Trial” blog, Cipriano wrote:
“For Father Charles Engelhardt, the ordeal is finally over. The 67-year-old priest died at 8:30 PM Saturday night [November 15, 2014] an inmate at the State Correctional Institution in Coal Township [PA] where he served nearly two years of a 6-to-12 year sentence.”
The man dubbed “Billy Doe” – while the media shielded his true nature from view in all this – is Daniel Gallagher. Today he is a free man living in Florida where he settled into a lifestyle bankrolled by $5 million in settlements from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and, in part, its insurers. Gallagher lives free from scrutiny and the long arm of the law because the DA, judge, and news media in Philadelphia all got behind this case, but remain unable to surrender enough of their hubris to stop covering for him, to admit to their pursuit of “trophy justice,” and to allow the facts to invade their field of vision. Sometimes the obstacle to justice comes down to mere ego.
In his riveting Newsweek article, and in “Newsweek’s Cover Boy Makes a Media Splash” on his blog last month (Jan. 28, 2016) Ralph Cipriano pursued the truth about who and what Daniel Gallagher is. From his claims of serial victimhood to his ever changing accounts of abuse, to his vague and amorphous facts and stories, to his most recent (and most troubling) psychiatric profile, Daniel Gallagher is exposed as
“chronically maladjusted, immature, self-indulgent, manipulating others to his own ends, refuses to accept responsibility for his own problems, exaggerated, grandiose, hedonistic, impulsive, manipulative and self-serving, paranoid, delusional…”
And the list doesn’t stop there. Gallagher pulled off a con man’s dream when he got a DA and judge to agree that his 23 failed stints in drug treatment were all someone else’s fault. Do you recall “Sex Abuse and Signs of Fraud,” my 2005 article in Catalyst? It quoted a prison inmate who reacted to the flood of decades-old claims against priests with a dose of brutal self-honesty about his proclivities and his enablers:
“So let me get this straight. If I say that some priest touched me funny all those years ago, I’ll be seen as a victim, I’ll be paid for it, and my life will be seen as his fault instead of mine. Do you have any idea how tempting this is?”
Daniel Gallagher’s claim of having passed polygraph tests also now appears to be no more truthful than his claim of being passed from priest to priest. No one but his contingency lawyer claims to have seen polygraph results, and efforts to obtain them have been met with silence. Meanwhile, Father Charles Engelhardt DID take polygraph tests, and passed them conclusively, as did other priests in Daniel Gallagher/Billy Doe’s sights. (And for what it is worth, so did I).
Readers of These Stone Walls should find a loud and clear ring of the familiar in all this. Everything now said of Daniel Gallagher in these reports could be said of Thomas Grover. Take that back. Everything said in these reports HAS been said of Thomas Grover. And it has all been said of Shamont Lyle Sapp, a con man who landed settlements from accusing four priests in four different states until he was exposed by a U.S. attorney and a journalist with integrity. I take no credit, but he was also exposed in my TSW post, “Catholic Priests and the Perversions of Predators.”
The big difference here is that – like “The Trials of Father MacRae” by Dorothy Rabinowitz in The Wall Street Journal, some real news media has taken notice of the Daniel Gallagher scam, but not in time to save the life of Father Charles Engelhardt. Still, these revelations of truth bring immense comfort to those still charged with clearing this good priest’s good name. But there’s more than that at stake here. You have been duped. Our Church has been duped, and cast aside in the public square in the process. The truth is a value in its own right, and we owe it to ourselves to learn it and share it.
I can only thank Ralph Cipriano and Newsweek for taking this on, and for telling a truth most in the news media couldn’t care less about. Take a little time, please, and read the Newsweek article and Mr. Cipriano’s blog, and share a link to this post with others. I know one Servant of God who will smile upon you for it.


  1. An interesting discussion is worth comment. I think that you should publish
    more about this subject matter, it might not be a taboo matter but
    usually people do not discuss these issues. To the next!
    Kind regards!!

    1. Dear Anonymous at 8:50 am.

      The lesson to be learned in this true story is that the public law in Guam needs to be challenged and declared unconstitutional. As it now stands, anyone can accuse a priest of sexual abuse over 40 years ago when there is no evidence and no witnesses. Even a dead priest can be accused. The purpose of having statutes of limitations is so that truth and justice can be achieved. Without it, the Church will continue to be a victim for scammers such as Daniel Gallenger.

    2. Rohr said that Hope and Healing would do the investigation to weed out the scammers from the real victims so that the church can't be duped.

    3. Dear Anonymous at 9:33 am,

      Tim Rohr is incorrect. The Hope and Healing program is an alternative to going to court. Their goal is to settle out of court. Most of these cases do not have any substantial evidence due to several reasons: 1) the accused priest is dead, 2) the witnesses are dead, and 3) there is no evidence to support the allegation due to the length of time. According to news report:

      "Three other law firms representing 16 plaintiffs who filed clergy sex abuse lawsuits in the Superior Court of Guam are also now either reviewing or about to receive the same agreement that Lujan signed with Hope and Healing, Caspino said.

      “We want every single claimant to be a part of the Hope and Healing program,” Caspino said. “All the attorneys have been very cooperative. We started with Attorney Lujan because he represents a majority of the cases.”

      Caspino said if a settlement is reached, including counseling and compensation, then the person could release or withdraw his lawsuit.""

      The GOAL is to get every person to withdraw their lawsuit. By passing that law, all Tim Rohr did was open the door to scammers to scam the church out of millions of dollars. Rohr and the Junglewatch nation never made any provisions to be put in place to investigate the validity of the allegations.

    4. And you believe his lies because this hope and healing process is just attacking the church and he knows that if the church gets into it then his butt will be in trouble because it is him and his followers that includes ccog and l.f.m will be found out and he is going to be like last year when Timmy and ccog was put under a decree by archbishop Anthony because he knew who it was when these things came out because he has no explanation of then telling his followers that archbishop likes touching little boys and just like putting on the jungle just statements from Walter because like what pope Francis said the church is a hospital and we need the doctor to give us our medicine

  2. Diana look at this and look at what's happening with cardinal pell he's being persecuted now By Julie Zauzmer
    June 28 at 9:26 PM

    Australian Cardinal George Pell speaks at a news conference in Sydney, Australia, in November 2012. (Paul Miller/EPA)
    A cardinal in charge of the Vatican’s finances has been charged with multiple sexual offenses by Australian police, in one of the most significant indictments against a top-ranking leader of the Catholic Church.

    Cardinal George Pell faces multiple charges of “historical sexual assault offenses,” the Australian criminal justice system’s term for offenses committed in the past, Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton announced at a news conference on Thursday morning in Australia.

    That morning, Victoria police notified Pell’s legal representative that he has been charged and must appear in court on July 18, Patton said.

    Patton said that Pell was treated no differently than any other defendant because of his high rank in the Vatican — notifying a legal representative and summoning the defendant to court at a later date is the recommendation of Australian prosecutors in a case like his.

    In the Vatican, Pell’s job as secretariat of the economy is so crucial that it has been described as the second-most-powerful role in Rome, after only the pope. But for years, he has faced accusations of improper behavior connected with clergy sexual abuse in Australia.

    In Ballarat, Pell’s hometown, dozens of children were abused by priests. After the abuse came to light, priests testified under oath that Pell knew about the abuse while it was occurring.

    The scale of the abuse in Ballarat was staggering: In one fourth-grade class of 33 boys, 12 committed suicide, the Post reported in 2015. Five priests who worked in the parish were convicted of crimes, including one who was found guilty of abusing more than 50 children.

    Two years ago, Peter Saunders, a survivor of sexual abuse on the Vatican’s Commission for the Protection of Minors, spoke out against Pell, calling him “almost sociopathic” in his lack of concern for the victims of abuse in an interview with Australia’s television program “60 Minutes.”

    Saunders asked Pope Francis at the time to remove Pell from his position and take “the strongest action against him.” But Pell publicly refuted Saunders’s allegations, and a Vatican spokesman stood with Pell, saying the cardinal “must be considered reliable.”

    [From 2015: Top Vatican cardinal trailed by old child abuse scandal from Australia]

    Pell has served as a priest since 1966.

    Play Video 1:27
    Cardinal Pell testifies about Church's 'enormous mistakes'

    Australian Cardinal George Pell gave evidence to a commission investigating church sexual abuse cases in Australia on Feb. 29. (Reuters)
    In response to an Australian inquiry into clergy sexual abuse last year, he testified in court that he had heard about “misbehavior” by two priests — including priests kissing children and swimming naked with them — but had not reported it. He had heard only fleeting references to the priests’ actions, he said, and knew little about the incidents.

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    He said he doesn’t remember a child ever reporting abuse to him, though he added, “My memory is sometimes fallible,” according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. When children did report abuse in earlier decades, he said, they weren’t likely to be believed.

    “In those days, if a priest denied such activity, I was very strongly inclined to accept the denial,” he said. “At that stage, the instinct was more to protect the institution, the community of the church, from shame.”

    In his testimony, he said, “The church has made enormous mistakes and is working to remedy those.”

    [From 2016: Pell testifies about handling of sexual abuse that rocked Australia]

    On Thursday morning, Patton did not offer any details about the charges against Pell, other than to say that the cardinal faces “multiple charges in respect to historical offenses.”

    1. Dear God is one,

      I agree that the Catholic Church has made some enormous mistakes. Archbishop Flores, for example, made the gross mistake of transferring Father Brouillard off-island upon learning of the sexual abuse against him. Rather than defrocking him, he covered it up and sent him to the U.S. where he continued to abuse other children.

      However, Archbishop Flores is deceased. He may have escaped punishment from man's law, but he cannot escape the judgement of God. As for Cardinal Pell, he has repeatedly said that he is innocent and that the accusations are unfounded. See the weblink below:

    2. "Rohr and the Junglewatch nation never made any provisions to be put in place to investigate the validity of the allegations."

      Ever wonder why that is? Is it because Rohr didn't see ahead that there may be possible scammers who would take advantage of the law to milk the church out of millions of dollars? Is it because they purposely didn't want an investigation looking into the allegations?

  3. And that is why I said persecuted for something he did not do

  4. Facebook post going around of Cardinal Pell with Archbishop Apuron,Archbishop Flores, Bishop Camacho.

  5. Diana Timmy is using cardinal pells case for evidence saying that may help their case

  6. And he's also attacking us because cardinal George pell is a big supporter of the way

  7. Cardinal pell nothing to do with Guam.

    1. Dear Anonymous at 6:59 pm,

      I agree. Cardinal Pell has nothing to do with Guam. Tim Rohr is not making any sense when he wrote about Cardinal Pell. After all, Judge Manibusan said that they will wait until after the canonical trial is over.

  8. Diana something might be getting planned because Lou is telling the jungle people to be prepared for the 5th and the 9th because she's saying those days are really important

  9. New law Suit to drop Friday July 7th.

  10. Sexual harassment case.