Catholic League’s Bill Donohue Demands Probe of Philly D.A.


You’ll remember a couple of weeks ago, famed Philly reporter Ralph Cipriano published his analysis of recent child-molestation trials involving the Philly Catholic Church—and came to the conclusion that convictions didn’t quite add up. Now the Catholic League and its leader, Bill Donohue, are weighing in, saying that Cipriano’s reporting should lead to a probe of Philly D.A. Seth Williams.

Specifically, Donohue wants the state’s legal disciplinary board to look into whether Williams received a referral fee in exchange for helping “Billy Doe”—a witness-victim in the case—procure a lawyer in order to bring a civil suit against the Philadelphia diocese. “Never in my 20 years as president of the Catholic League have I seen a more egregious series of legal misconduct stemming from one case,” said Donohue in his letter to the disciplinary board.

Donohue added:

The Catholic League is not walking away from this issue. From what I have learned from the crackerjack reporting by Ralph Cipriano, the public has been kept in the dark on many aspects of what really happened to three Catholic priests and one Catholic layman. That is about to change. Stay tuned.

Cipriano’s reporting alleges that Doe was an unreliable witness, whose testimony changed from telling to telling, and who thus should’ve been disqualified from testifying at the trials that convicted Msgr. William Lynn, the Rev. Charles Engelhardt, and school teacher Bernard Shero. Doe’s testimony also lead to a plea deal from former Rev. Edward Avery.