UPDATE:: Catholic school teacher convicted of child rape freed early
A former Catholic school teacher convicted of raping a child was released more than a decade early from prison on Wednesday after a judge threw out his conviction amid questions about his accuser's truthfulness.
Rather than face a new trial, however, Bernard Shero, 54, pleaded no contest on Monday to less serious child rape and assault charges and was sentenced to the roughly four years in prison he's already served. He originally was sentenced in 2013 to up to 16 years.
The accuser had helped to convict three other church officials, including a monsignor who became the first to be criminally charged for mishandling complaints about sexual abuse by priests.
Retired detective Joseph Walsh, who had worked on the case for the district attorney's office, told prosecutors several times that he could not corroborate the accuser's story. But the detective said they dismissed him, with one assistant district attorney going so far as to tell him "you're killing my case," according to a court filing.
UPDATE: Philly Altar Boy Sex Scandal Gets Uglier
I don’t remember.
I really don’t remember.
I honestly don’t remember.
That’s what former Philadelphia altar boy Daniel Gallagher had to say when questioned about the numerous and contradictory allegations of sex abuse he’s made over the years to doctors, drug counselors and social workers. During a confidential deposition over two full days in May and June 2014, Gallagher claimed he couldn’t remember more than 130 times.
The skinny, tattooed, 27-year-old former drug addict and admitted dealer was the Philadelphia district attorney’s star witness at two criminal trials in 2012 and 2013. Gallagher’s testimony about allegedly being repeatedly raped when he was an altar boy sent three priests and a Catholic schoolteacher to jail.
Since then, however, Gallagher’s credibility is unraveling under the scrutiny of expert witnesses, and the criminal convictions resulting from his testimony have been the subject of two successful legal appeals, with more challenges on the way.
UPDATE:: As noted in the previous update, there have been questions raised as to the truthfulness of "Billy Doe", known as Dan Gallagher. The situation surrounding said case has become rather bizarre and is beyond the scope of what I normally present. But if Engelhardt, Shero, and Avery are innocent of the charges, it raises many red flags.
One would think that the scandal of a drug-addled Philadelphia man making false abuse accusations against multiple Catholic priests – all of whom were convicted and landed in prison, where one has already died – would merit at least a tiny mention in Philly's newspaper of record, the Philadelphia Inquirer. Heck, it was noteworthy enough to merit a huge cover story in Newsweek magazine only a couple weeks ago.Scandal? What Scandal? Philadelphia Inquirer Ignores Blockbuster Story of Bogus Accusations Against Priests In Its Own Backyard
And indeed during the trials against these priests, the Inquirer gave wall-to-wall coverage with countless stories and hysterical headlines.
But the Inky's editor-in-chief, Bill Marimow, has made it clear that he has no interest in informing his readers about a fraud being perpetrated right in his own backyard against the Catholic Church.
UPDATE:: Psychiatrist questions 'Billy Doe's' claim of priest sexual abuse, Newsweek reports
Lynn is serving a three- to six-year term as he appeals his conviction for endangering the welfare of a child. He was ordered back behind bars in late April after Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Teresa Sarmina revoked his bail. But in December a panel of three state Superior Court judges overturned his conviction, and ordered a new trial. He remains in a Northeast Pennsylvania prison.
The Rev. Charles Engelhardt and English teacher Bernard Shero were both convicted in the case, while Edward V. Avery was sentenced to five years in jail after pleading guilty in 2012. Engelhardt died in prison while appealing his conviction.
According to Newsweek, Slade McLaughlin, a Center City lawyer for "Billy Doe," dropped the civil suit against the individual defendants shortly after receiving Mechanick’s report on Oct. 28.
UPDATE:: Bernard Shero Loses In State Supreme Court__
The state Supreme Court on New Year's Eve turned down an appeal by Bernard Shero in the Billy Doe case.
On June 12, 2013, Shero, then 51, was sentenced by Judge Ellen Ceisler to 8 to 16 years in jail after he was convicted by a jury of rape of a child, attempted rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child, endangering the welfare of a child, corruption of a minor, and indecent assault.
The Supreme Court decision means that Shero is out of appeals on the state court level. In a 36-page decision last March, a panel of three Superior Court judges ruled that seven appeals issues raised by Shero, a former Catholic school teacher, "are either waived or devoid of merit."
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has settled a civil lawsuit brought by an accuser whose testimony helped convict two Catholic priests and a former parish-school teacher on sexual abuse charges, and aided in the unprecedented prosecution of a church administrator for covering up the priests' crimes.
In filings Tuesday, Common Pleas Court Judge Jacqueline F. Allen said the plaintiff - a 26-year-old man identified only as "Billy Doe" - had "settled any and all claims" against the archdiocese and two former church officials. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
A spokesman for the archdiocese did not return calls for comment Wednesday, nor did lawyers for Doe.
Their agreement - first reported by the legal blog BigTrial.net - is at least the third this year between the church and its accusers.
Philly archdiocese settles sexual-abuse civil suit