Prosecutor: Priest failed polygraph tests

MATT ROURKE / ASSOCIATED PRESS The Rev. Andrew McCormick, shown outside the Criminal Justice Center yesterday, has pleaded not guilty.
MATT ROURKE / ASSOCIATED PRESS The Rev. Andrew McCormick, shown outside the Criminal Justice Center yesterday, has pleaded not guilty.
Posted: March 07, 2014

THE PHILADELPHIA Catholic priest on trial for allegedly molesting an altar boy in 1997 was suspended from ministry in 2011 after he twice gave deceptive answers during polygraph tests when asked about touching children's genitals, a prosecutor said yesterday.

The revelation about the Rev. Andrew McCormick, 57, was made in court by Assistant District Attorney Kristen Kemp. It was made following the closing arguments by defense lawyer William J. Brennan and after the jury had been escorted from the room.

Kemp told Common Pleas Judge Gwendolyn N. Bright of the tests administered by the Archdiocese because Brennan had told the jury during his closing that McCormick's suspension from his church duties had nothing to do with child-molestation allegations.

Once the jurors returned to the courtroom, Bright instructed them to disregard Brennan's assertion regarding the circumstances of McCormick's suspension. She did not mention the polygraph tests, which were not entered as evidence during the two-week trial.

McCormick was one of 26 priests placed on administrative leave in March 2011 in response to allegations of sexual misconduct with minors.

In December 2011 the alleged victim, now 26, reported to police and church officials that McCormick had tried to force him to perform oral sex in 1997 when he was an altar boy at St. John Cantius Church in Bridesburg.

McCormick was arrested in July 2012 and charged with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault, child endangerment and related counts. He has pleaded not guilty and testified Wednesday that he did not assault his accuser.

After hearing closing arguments, the jury of nine women and three men received legal instructions from Bright and began deliberating McCormick's fate.


On Twitter: @MensahDean

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