Mass hysteria at Drexel Hill church

Matthew von Siegel
Matthew von Siegel
Posted: November 05, 2013

ONE MAN became a weapon of Mass disruption at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Drexel Hill two weeks ago, when he punched a man in a dispute over a crying baby during a Sunday afternoon service, according to police.

After a nearly two-week investigation into the Oct. 20 incident, Upper Darby police charged Matthew von Siegel, 36, of Clifton Heights, with simple assault and harassment on Friday.

According to Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood, von Siegel was attending the church's 4 p.m. Mass when he turned to say something to a woman about her crying baby.

The male victim, who did not know the mother and child, told von Siegel not to talk to the woman in that manner, Chitwood said. The confrontation escalated and the victim eventually said, " 'This ain't working out, I'm going to stand in the back of the church,' " according to Chitwood.

During communion, von Siegel allegedly went to the back of the church where the man was standing.

Thinking that von Siegel was leaving the church, the man held the door open for him, Chitwood said, but instead of leaving, von Siegel "cold-cocked" the man, knocking him down and cutting his mouth and face.

Other parishioners had to jump into the fight to stop it, according to police.

The victim was treated for facial injuries at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital and released.

When officers arrived, it was one man's story against the other's, but after an investigation and contact with the Delaware County District Attorney's Office, Upper Darby police decided to charge von Siegel, who turned himself in on Friday, Chitwood said.

Von Siegel did not immediately return a message left on his cellphone for comment yesterday.

A cellphone number listed for von Siegel matches that of a Matt von Siegel who is director of operations for Hands of Truth Ministry, a "Catholic community building nonprofit ministry dedicated to building welcoming love-centered communities within Catholic parishes," according to the group's website.

A quick search of Matthew von Siegel in Philadelphia also turns up an IMDB page for a Matt von Siegel who starred in "Hell's Threshold," a low-budget horror film shot in Philadelphia in 2006 in which he played Apostolos, a murderous demon who emerges from a portal in an apartment rented by models. It could not be immediately confirmed whether that is the same man charged in the Upper Darby case.

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