Mike Ference posted a letter today on Facebook to the parents of a child who killed himself due to the corruption of the Pittsburgh Diocese. This man has been tirelessly working to expose the evil behavior of the members of the clergy in Pittsburgh, PA for 25 years and has reached a dead end every time. He refuses to give up.
Due to the power and money that the Catholic Church has, the most vulnerable and helpless people in our society are “legally” allowed to be abused; not just by the courts and CPS and APS, but by the Roman Catholic Church clergy. The heartbreaking stories of adults who were raped and sexually abused as children by Catholic priests are in the thousands, possibly higher, yet the RCC still stands, and people still attend services and donate their money. This will never stop until all people raise their voices in protest and stop supporting this institution.
God Bless you Mike Ference. You will see justice for your son.
by Mike Ference
October 6, 2016
I do not expect to be called before the grand jury investigating clergy sex abuse and countless cover-ups in the Pittsburgh Diocese. Therefore my next plan is to pass out copies of the following essay I have written at the University of Pittsburgh vs Notre Dame football game, maybe at the bowl game that Pitt may be invited to or some other national event where real journalists might be interested in my investigation.
Read for yourself and judge for yourself:
An Open Letter to William and Kimberly Gaines proud parents of Billy Gaines, a former University of Pittsburgh student and football player who fell to his death due to the corruption of the Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese.
Sadly, Mr. & Mrs. Gaines I have to be the one to tell you that Billy’s untimely death could have and should have been prevented. For over 25 years I’ve been trying to expose the dysfunctional and deviant behavior of a former Catholic priest from the Pittsburgh Diocese. His name is Father John Wellinger. Billy was not the only University of Pittsburgh student to be victimized by a Catholic priest, nor the only young man to lose his life because of a Catholic priest from the Pittsburgh Diocese.
I can assure you that I have tried everything imaginable to expose the criminal behavior of Catholic priests in the Pittsburgh Diocese, especially Father John Wellinger. Had I successfully exposed Wellinger, there’s no doubt in my mind, your son, Billy would still be alive.
What’s worse, there were so many others who could easily have exposed Wellinger but deliberately covered-up his crimes; again had any one of these dozens and dozens of people done the right thing, your son Billy would be alive today.
I take no pleasure in writing this letter even though I know it may finally force people to confront the truth. And, I know it won’t bring Billy back, but it might save others. I have a feeling Billy would want to help others. Here’s what I know for sure and why Billy could still be alive today if only those people in charge would have done the right thing. From 1981 to 1985 Father John Wellinger abused a young boy at St. James Parish in Wilkinsburg where Wellinger served as the assistant pastor. The young boy’s name was Jeffrey Wennersten who passed away at the age of 42, leaving a young son. Just weeks before Jeffrey died he shared details of the abuse he suffered at the hands of Pittsburgh Catholic priest Father John Wellinger.
Sometime in early 1987, possibly February or March, Father John Wellinger and a University of Pittsburgh student, Greg Witkowski were sharing beers in an Oakland apartment that Greg rented with his brother, who was also a Pitt student. Greg admitted to me that Wellinger often provided alcohol to Greg and his brother. On this occasion Wellinger also drugged Greg with a substance that knocked him out for hours. When Greg regained consciousness he intuitively called 911. Scared, Greg said he raced down the flights of stairs to meet the EMS crew and ambulance that transported the still dazed student to Presbyterian University Hospital, now known as University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC).
For whatever reason, the emergency room doctors refused to treat Greg even though he ingested an unfamiliar substance, administered by a lay person, with malicious intentions and alcohol was part of the mix. This was years before the Boston scandal exploded, so the Catholic Church still maintained its grip on plenty of institutions, it appears that the University of Pittsburgh was one of them and its affiliate, Presbyterian University Hospital. Father Wellinger trailed the ambulance to the emergency room and took Witkowski by surprise. Staying calm, Witkowski asked Wellinger to fetch his nurse. When the nurse arrived, Witkowski explained that Wellinger was the person who had drugged him. No police were called, not even hospital security. Witkowski’s parents Robert and Ann were summoned to the hospital and asked to take their son home. I do not know who or if anyone ever paid the hospital bill.
According to former Clairton Public Safety Director William Scully, he explained to me in 1990 that a hospital worker advised Robert and Ann Witkowski not to press charges and further cautioned the parents that the Catholic Church was too powerful to challenge. Several days later Robert Witkowski would confront Father John Wellinger at Holy Spirit Church in West Mifflin, PA. Father Wellinger was the parish priest and the Witkowski family were members. At the time Robert Witkowski came banging on the front door of the rectory, a parish council meeting was going on with several eyewitnesses to the event.
I interviewed one of the eyewitnesses who was also Father Wellinger’s secretary. Her name is Marta Placek. According to Placek the council members were concerned that Robert Witkowski was drunk and may have had a gun, so West Mifflin Police were called. No charges or arrests were made. My guess is if any questions were asked by West Mifflin police, they quickly forgot the answers.
Over the years I spoke with Robert Witkowski on several occasions. He never volunteered very much information. He did admit that he received a letter from the legal department of the Pittsburgh Diocese or one of their law firms commanding Robert Witkowski to stay off the property at Holy Spirit Church and to stay away from Father Wellinger. If any of this had been exposed, like it should have been, college students throughout the Pittsburgh area would have been warned about Catholic priests such as Father John Wellinger. Freshman orientation would have been the appropriate time to issue the proper alerts. Sadly, too many people failed to take their jobs seriously. Worse yet, folks in charge succumbed to the wishes of evil men in black robes; most likely because they are scared to death of Catholic Church hierarchy.
Your son Billy wasn’t the only boy victimized by Father John Wellinger. There were many; too many. Here are some of them, all before your son even thought about playing football at the University of Pittsburgh. One boy was Chris Mathews an 11-year-old altar boy who served under Father John Wellinger at Holy Spirit Church in West Mifflin, PA. The same parish that Greg Witkowski and his family attended. Although I do not know the details of the sexual abuse, I know Chris Mathews very well and his father, as well. His abuse took place in 1989. Also in 1989, a young boy from Holy Spirit Church in West Mifflin took his own life. He killed himself with a shotgun blast. Was this young man another victim of Father John Wellinger? I do not know.
As a civilian investigator, I have very few resources to conduct an investigation. Without a badge or even a press pass, most people would shy away from talking to me; all fearful of the Catholic Church.
1989 was not a good year for former altar boys of John Wellinger. Robert Butler served under Father John Wellinger at St. Clare of Assisi Parish in Clairton, PA. Butler also attended the parochial school; it was known as Clairton Central Catholic. Butler and his circle of friends were often invited to the rectory for fun and games with Father Wellinger. The game room had a pool table and pinball machines, I was told. Butler would kill himself with what I believe was a 32-caliber pistol on his way to Serra Catholic High School in McKeesport, PA. One shot to his right temple, he probably died instantly. Before killing himself, Butler tried to murder my son, Adam with a bullet discharged inches away from the back of my son’s skull. Miraculously, my son survived and thrived. It’s the main reason why after 25 years, I’m still fighting to expose Father John Wellinger and all the harm he did to others. There’s no doubt in my mind that Wellinger sexually abused Robert Butler.
I spoke to many people about Wellinger. I would state with absolute certainty that Wellinger’s sexual activity with young boys, young men and older women was common knowledge in every parish where the preying priest served.
The women who worked in the cafeteria and volunteered to watch the children on the playground at Clairton Central Catholic knew to keep their children away from Wellinger. According to Mrs. Ann Weeks, the cafeteria manager at the time, Wellinger liked to parade around the playground covering the younger children faces with his long black rope and smothering their heads into his genitals; separated only by a thin layer of clothing. One of the things I learned through my 25 years investigating the Catholic Church is that Catholic parents don’t give a damn about other children. As long as their children’s heads weren’t being squeezed in Wellinger’s private parts; that’s all that mattered.
Wellinger was at St. Clare of Assisi in Clairton in 1985 and 86 or so. I was told by a Catholic priest that a man with the last name of Volmer went to talk to Father Charles Bober and complained about Father Wellinger’s predatory behavior and nothing was done. Father Bober is a big time operator in the Pittsburgh Diocese raising millions of dollars for the Cardinal Donald Wuerl Catholic High School. He’s got a plum position in a financially well-off parish church in the north hills section of Pittsburgh, possibly a reward for keeping his nose clean and his mouth shut.
Again, if this is true, your son Billy should have and could have been alive today.
Back in 1987 or 1988, Marta Placek, Wellinger’s secretary at Holy Spirit Church in West Mifflin, PA went to the Pittsburgh Diocese to protest Wellinger’s behavior at Holy Spirit Church. Her complaint included Wellinger providing living arrangements for a young man, possibly from St. James Parish in Wilkinsburg, PA, yet another parish that witnessed at least one young man who suffered as a result of Wellinger’s demons. Instead of Placek’s concerns being taken seriously, she was labeled a gossip hound by Pittsburgh Diocesan spokesman, Father Ron Lengwin. Certainly, by the time Placek lodged her complaints, Wellinger’s dossier was simply too depraved to reveal. One could easily make the argument that Wellinger’s file was so wicked and dreadful, he may have been able to blackmail church hierarchy. In any event, if any of Wellinger’s alleged crimes would have been and should have been reported, your son, Billy and his friends would have known better than to trust a Catholic priest overly eager to offer alcohol to underage young men.
After all these years something made me reach out to you, William and Kimberly Gaines. I hope it makes a difference. I hope I did the right thing. I know your son, Billy was a good boy and a very tough football player. I tried and tried to expose the truth. I wish I could have done more. I really believe Billy could be alive today.
Maybe, just maybe, it was Billy who spurred me on to write this letter. Maybe someday, we’ll find out.
God Bless you William and Kimberly Gaines and God Bless
When the day comes that you can no longer care for a family member and/or loved one, nursing homes are where we usually have to place that person. We should be able to trust that they are in good hands and will receive the care the nursing home staff is being paid to give. Why, then, are all of the reports to the contrary? Why are the people who run them only concerned with the amount of money they make and not the care of their clients?
A company can only stay in business for the long term if they treat their customers well by providing quality products and good customer service. How is it then that when it comes to the actual care of a human being nursing homes do not meet those standards?
“In the past year alone, several grisly cases of abuse and neglect have come to light in New York. In one case, a nurse’s aide at West Lawrence Care Center in Far Rockaway allegedly pummeled a bedridden 80-year-old, leaving her battered, black-eyed and ultimately hospitalized.”
Are these homes doing background checks on the people they hire? Apparently not, if something like this is happening.
In order to help prevent your loved ones from ending up in one of these horrific facilities, show them how to care for themselves. Teach them about nutrition and exercise and the right supplements to take. There are many alternative health care methods out there to help people live productive lives as they age.
This is the story of one of my dearest friends that I met through Facebook. Julie Lynn Belshe was on the internet one night desperately searching for anybody that was going through the horrific nightmare she and her parents were experiencing. She came across a video I posted of my Mom crying desperately to be released from the nursing home she had been imprisoned in by Mary Giordano, elderlawfg.com, an elder care attorney in Mineola, NY. Julie was horrified and deeply saddened. She watched this video over and over for days. She couldn’t sleep for weeks. She knew she had to reach out to me because I was the only one she found at that moment who was exposing the truth about this insidious crime. For the past few years, Julie has worked tirelessly to free her parents from the clutches of April Parks and the corrupt Clark County Nevada judicial system. In the process, she has discovered that there are thousands upon thousands of elderly victims of this country’s huge criminal guardianship enterprise system.
Julie’s parents, Rudy and Rennie North were kidnapped August 30, 2013, and freed June 2015, after two years of living as “wards” of April Parks, who took all of their personal belongings. Julie is still actively pursuing the return of their assets. While some items are now in their possession , a painting worth thousands coveted by Dr. Basu, the doctor who is responsible for stating that they needed a guardian, is still missing.
By Julie Lynn Belshe as told to Diane Wilson
For the past two and one half years I have been trying to find a cure and trying to heal from one of the most insidious outbreaks of disease that has exploded across our country. I have managed to find support groups and individuals who are suffering from the same kind of pain, the same insidious disease. They are working together to end this nightmare and I feel blessed that I found them. It is a long road but together I believe we will eliminate this problem once and for all.
Evil and greed and the lust for power and money are the causes of this secret disease. It is well-known amongst advocates as Guardianship Abuse of the Elderly and Disabled. It is America’s dirty little secret. The media has refused to report it in the past but is now beginning to expose it; the politicians refuse to help their constituents and turn a blind eye to this Holocaust; families close their eyes to it or they are part of the enslavement, theft of assets and drugging of other human beings.
I am a daughter, a mother, a wife, a friend, a businesswoman, a sister, an aunt, an accountant. I am your neighbor, your co-worker. I stand next to you in church, behind you in the grocery line, sit next to you in the movie theatre.
My name is Julie Stulman North Belshe. This is the story of the illegal kidnapping of my parents, Rudy and Rennie North on August 30th, 2013. This is a story that MUST be told. This happened to our family and it can happen to yours if we don’t speak up and stop it now.
I am the mother of three amazing children and have been happily married for the past 26 years. My husband and I own our own business and value family above everything else. Through the years our family has suffered through illness and loss and tragedies. Somehow we managed to make it through with the love and support of each other. Through it all we managed to keep our family together.
I was born and raised in Orange County, California, one of three children. In 1989, my brother died in a motorcycle accident. Our family grew closer as we worked hard to heal from this loss; unfortunately the stress and grieving became overwhelming for my Mom. A few years later she was diagnosed with leukemia. After undergoing several rounds of chemo my mother was left with very little energy and her health took a turn for the worse.
One year after Randy’s tragic accident, my sister Heidi and I were in a car accident. While stopped on the freeway in heavy traffic, a van hit us while traveling at 40 mph. My sister’s BMW was crushed into an accordion. We were lucky to be alive. At that time, my sister and I were put under the care of a chiropractor, physical therapist, and pain management doctor. According to the X-Rays, MRI’s and other tests doctors advised both of us that our injuries had changed our lives forever and certain activities would be very limited. For me it was my neck–bone on bone with three bulging discs. My back had four bulging discs.
My sister and I resumed our professional lives in Huntington Beach, California and made the best out of our situation. We lived together and were very close. Heidi was four years older than me and the best sister anybody could ever ask for. In 1987 I met my soon to be husband and after a short time, we moved in together in an apartment in Laguna Beach, California. One year later we got married.
In 1992 we moved to Las Vegas, Nevada. Life was magical and everything I always dreamed of. On June 29, 1994, I gave birth to our beautiful baby boy. Evan was truly a blessing in every way and my parents were thrilled! Dad was traveling on business at the time and Mom came to stay with me for two weeks. She fell head over heels in love with her precious new grandson.
The following year my sister gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Allie Renee. My parents decided they wanted to move to Las Vegas, Nevada so we could all be together. In 1996, my parents packed up their belongings and moved one block away from me and my family! My sister and her family followed a few months later.
On September 30th, 1997, I gave birth to my second son, Parker. That same year my sister gave birth to another precious baby girl, Andrea. The following year, on November 16th, 1998, I gave birth to my third son, Aaron. Our family was growing in leaps and bounds and my parents were in heaven being surrounded by their loving daughters and five grandchildren!
We were a very busy and close-knit family. My backyard is a virtual oasis and family and friends always congregated there. There were weekly get-together’s, barbecues, swimming, boating, watching movies. All of the family holidays were held at my home. Mom and Dad were very involved with their family. As the children grew older, I would have coffee with my parents every morning after dropping them off at school. Life was perfect and the years just flew by.
Tragedy struck my family again in May 2008. I received a call from my father. I knew from the tone in his voice that something was terribly wrong. He said “Sweetheart, it’s your sister, Heidi. She has passed away.” My heart stopped; my sister; my best friend…gone. I raced over to her house and kissed her goodbye before they took her. We all somehow managed to get through the funeral. Heidi left behind three beautiful children and a husband and our family life as we knew it changed in an instant.
Mom’s condition worsened and in 2010 she was diagnosed with CLL, Chronic Lymphatic Leukemia. She started undergoing chemo sessions again. During these sessions my Dad and I sat by her side. I would bring her fresh fruit and vegetables for juicing, homemade chicken soup, jello and fresh Star gazing lilies to cheer her up. I laid with her on the bed and held her and talked. We laughed and cried together and talked about Heidi and Randy and all of the good times we always had as a family. Our memories were our treasures. I made sure to check in on my Mom a few times a day, either calling or stopping by.
My Dad continued to attend all of the boys’ football games and other sport activities. After the games we would all go out to eat or just grab a pizza to take home. Life started to regain a sense of normalcy again. According to the doctor, Mom was in remission; however her actual condition was getting worse. She lost feeling in her arms and legs; her hands were becoming claw like and the days were becoming increasingly difficult for her. Many days I would get a call from my Dad to let me know the ambulance was on its way and that I was to meet them at the hospital. After one of the many hospital stays she was diagnosed with chemo neuropathy. She was transferred to rehab where she received physical therapy and learned how to become mobile again using a wheelchair. I visited often and checked in on my father as well. After a few weeks at the Southwest Rehab Center, I was able to bring my mother home. I arranged for a nurse, a maid and hired a friend of mine as a caretaker. After a short time, my friend could no longer put in the hours required. It was then that I stepped in and became my mother’s caretaker for six days a week. I cooked for both of my parents and showered my Mom daily. I took her out for walks and slowly got her acclimated to going out in public in a wheelchair. This was a very difficult transition for a beautiful woman who never went out unless her hair and makeup was perfectly done and her shoes and clothing and jewelry were all perfectly matched. With a lot of love and emotional support, my mother started to become her old self again. The physical therapist came a few days a week to work with her and the nurse stopped by a few days a week to monitor her health.
While Mom was starting to recuperate, I went over one day to find my father acting very strange. Thinking that he had suffered a stroke, I immediately took him to the hospital where he was diagnosed with a prostate infection. I stayed with dad until he was comfortable and then went back to my mother’s house to stay with her. While Dad was in the hospital my husband and my three sons came to help my mother so I could run back and forth to the hospital. Once I brought my father home from the hospital, the nurse showed me how to change a catheter bag and what to watch out for. My parents were thrilled to be back together again.
So now Mom was home. We had all of the instructions from the doctor and followed them to the tee. Unfortunately she became constipated and after a few days we had to rush her to the emergency room where she was admitted for the next three days. My husband and I took turns staying with my parents between the hospital and their home. He literally ran our own household during this time and was not at all resentful. I was grateful to be able to give my parents the care they deserved along with lots of love and attention. Who else but family would you want taking care of you during an illness? In addition, I cooked, cleaned, ran errands and did it all out of love. I never missed one day.
Eventually, with Dad’s health greatly improved, and with my parents understanding and agreement, I decided to take a break and go back to caring for my own family. I made certain everything was in place for my parents; all of their doctors had me listed as their emergency contact and I only lived a few blocks away. This occurred on April 1st , the day before Easter Sunday. I continued to call them every day and of course continued to visit. Things were going smoothly. During this time period, my parents decided to contact an attorney to have a will made up and to make certain their personal possessions were divided up amongst their family the way they wanted, including their very precious art collection.
What happened next should send a chill through every single citizen of this country.
In August of that same year, a pain management doctor that my parents had been seeing for a number of years, Dr. Sanghamitra Basu, decided to pay an unannounced visit, with her husband, to my parents’ home. She did not contact me or my parents in advance; she just showed up at their home. When they walked into the house, Dr. Basu started talking about how wonderful they looked and how she hoped that when she and her husband are older they hope to be just like them. She also expressed an unusual interest in my parents’ art collection. Apparently she found out what they had during many conversations with my father over the years and had asked him if she could “borrow” one of his paintings. Dad always thought she was joking. During this visit, she asked my father five different times if she could “borrow” a particular painting. She stated that she wanted him to “loan” it to her; that she wanted to hang it up somewhere but she had not decided exactly where it would go. My mother was becoming very angry with her and finally just said absolutely not and ended both the conversation and the visit.
It was this doctor who wrote a Physician’s Certificate stating that Rudy North suffered from confusion, and the deterioration in his health was a permanent status. She also claimed he was in “immediate risk of physical harm” and had an “immediate need for medical attention.” She also stated that there was a “substantial and immediate risk of financial loss.” In the report where she had to provide an assessment of the needs of the Proposed Ward she filled in “medication management, financial management, safety assistance, ADL assistance, housekeeping assistance.” It must be noted that my parents’ house was always immaculate. This was nothing but one lie after another.
On page two of this Physicians Certificate, Dr. Basu wrote “It is in my opinion that this patient needs a guardian of Person and Estate. I have advised the patient of his/her right to counsel and the Proposed Ward does not wish to be represented by counsel in the guardianship proceeding.” Dr. Basu NEVER discussed this with my father. He never knew about any of this. However, Dr. Basu did compliment my parents on their lovely home and how great they looked. She also knew about me and knew where to contact me. Instead Dr. Basu either mailed or faxed this over to the public guardian on August 12th, 2013.
It is now obvious to me that Dr. Basu was working alongside April Parks, using her status as a doctor to find out which people are “ripe for the picking.” It is a scam of gigantic proportions. Her visit and subsequent writing of a “Physician’s Certificate” is what started this nightmare. On August 28, 2013, April Parks filed an electronic document to the court stating that she would be taking temporary legal guardianship of Rudy North. She listed my father as the ward and my mother as wife of the ward. She stated that there was no family contact since their only daughter was a drug addict. More lies…
On August 30th, 2013, my parents were just finishing up breakfast and tidying up the house when the doorbell rang. The only person they were expecting was an aide from hospice who came each day to assist my mother with her shower. When my father answered the door for the aide, April Parks, along with her entourage was also there and just entered the house. She handed my father a piece of paper showing that she was now his legal guardian and that they were there to take them. My father was in total shock when April Parks said to my Mom “You are going on a three-week vacation and then you will be coming home” My Mom was pleading and crying. My father desperately tried to calm her down. April Parks said you have four options:
“You will either go to the hospital, go to a mental facility, go to Jail, or go to an assisted living facility in Boulder City.” My Mom pleaded with April Parks “Please don’t take me. Let me call my daughter.” April said “We will contact her.” And with that, they were taken away.
I was never contacted.
I had plans to visit my parents the next day with my children. I started calling them that morning to let them know we were on our way but they never answered the phone. I called before I left home and on my way there, more than twenty times. I knew their daily routine and I knew something was very wrong. When we arrived, the porch light was on, the newspaper was out on the front porch and the house was locked up. I drove back home and told my husband that my parents were gone and I feared that someone had kidnapped them. I continued to call their house and decided to drive back there the next day. When I arrived I found a sign on the door to contact the “professional legal guardian in case of emergency.” That was it. The state of Nevada had stepped in and taken my Parents without contacting any family member.
As soon as I got home I called the private “legal” guardian, April Parks, who told me, “Julie this is legal.” I didn’t ask if it was legal but those were the first words out of April’s mouth. This is legal I asked? Where the hell are my Parents? She told me where they were and reminded me again that this was all “legal.” She repeated that a number of times. I didn’t respond. I just hung up. By the time my husband and I arrived at Lakeview Terrace Assisted living Facility my parents were clearly shaken. They were terrified and in shock. They had no access to a phone. Their personal cell phone was gone, nowhere to be found. They had been placed in the model apartment at the facility with a cardboard bed. My Dad was totally humiliated and embarrassed that he had not been able to protect his precious wife, my dear mother.
We all cried and hugged and I kept repeating over and over again that I would fix this and please don’t worry.
For the first few weeks I stayed with them eight hours a day, trying to keep them calm and make sense out of a situation that made no sense at all. I mean, we were in America, right? Land of the free? Wasn’t kidnapping illegal? My husband and I scheduled appointments with one attorney after another but not one wanted to get involved. I researched and dug deeper and deeper until I finally found out that this was going on all across the country! I read horror stories all over the internet about the kidnapping of people’s parents and grandparents and husbands and brothers and sisters. Really?? In America?? If all of this was true, how was I going to save my parents?
This is one of the creepiest scams out there; with the blessing of the courts these scammers and criminals were raking in billions of dollars by kidnapping the elderly, locking them up in nursing homes and assisted living facilities and drugging them to make them complacent and compliant. This was slavery, human trafficking. The judges and politicians were in on it; they all knew what was going on. Many people from Hospice, doctors, private agencies, hospitals, law firms, lawyers, private “legal” guardians, all of these criminals are getting kickbacks from this huge scam.
For years all of the complaints to Nevada officials from victims and their families had fallen on deaf ears. Not one person would listen. Not one person would stop this.