Recently in Philadelphia, two men, Father Charles Engelhardt and Bernard Shero, a parochial school teacher, were sentenced to prison for the rape of a minor. This is a story the Catholic League has been closely following for some time. When we here at the Catholic League first heard that a boy was allegedly raped by three different persons, two of whom were priests, we were immediately suspicious. After all, how many times in American history has anyone been raped three times by three different persons? The more we learned, however, the more we were convinced that “Billy Doe,” the alleged victim, was a congenital liar, school dropout, thief, and drug addict, a punk who sought to cash in on the prevailing animus against priests. It’s frighteningly easy to make charges against priests and others these days, and it’s frighteningly easier to make them stick in a court of law.
Father Engelhardt, whom no one has ever proved even met “Billy Doe,” was sentenced to six to twelve years in prison. Bernard Shero was hit with eight to sixteen years in prison.
Bill Donohue’s statement on this issue, which was submitted to the Philadelphia Inquirer as an advertisement, was turned down by the paper. It was quite a surprise. After all, it’s not every day that you see a failing metropolitan newspaper reject an ad that would have gained the paper $58,000 (at a time when employees have already been laid off, Inquirer personnel surely can’t be happy about that), even when the contents make the paper look bad for not doing its job.