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Altar Boy

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NEWS
February 1, 2013 | BY MENSAH M. DEAN, Daily News Staff Writer deanm@phillynews.com, 215-568-8278
MINUTES before former Catholic-school teacher Bernard Shero was convicted Wednesday of raping an altar boy, he joked with the court crier and a deputy sheriff about leaving the courtroom. "Good effort, though," Shero chuckled, when told he couldn't. Shero wasn't laughing for long. On its fourth day of deliberating, a Common Pleas jury convicted Shero, 50, of all five crimes of which he was accused, and convicted his co-defendant, disgraced priest Charles Engelhardt, of four of the five counts against him. The jury deadlocked on one charge against Engelhardt, 66: involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child.
NEWS
May 23, 2002 | Daily News Wire Services
A former altar boy has accused Lexington Bishop J. Kendrick Williams of abusing him 21 years ago, one of a dozen new lawsuits filed against the Archdiocese of Louisville alleging its priests sexually abused children. James W. Bennett said he was 12 at the time of the alleged molestation. "I quit going to the church after it happened," he told the Associated Press on Tuesday. Williams proclaimed his innocence yesterday. "I am stunned and saddened by this accusation," he said.
NEWS
September 23, 1989 | By Kitty Caparella, Daily News Staff Writer
Two sides of reputed Junior Black Mafia street boss Aaron Jones emerged at a hearing yesterday to consider whether Jones' $5 million bail for shooting a convicted drug dealer should be reduced. John Jones Jr., a new car salesman, testified that his younger brother, Aaron Jones, 27, of S. 51st Street near Cedar Avenue, is one of 13 children. Aaron Jones was an altar boy at St. Francis DeSales, played sports and chess, worked on the yearbook and graduated from West Catholic High School in 1979 before attending Temple University, his brother said.
NEWS
June 3, 1990 | By Melissa Dribben, Inquirer Staff Writer
James Lombardo's hearing is failing a little, he has an ornery knee and a squinty eye, but otherwise, time appears to have done little to weaken the oldest altar boy in the history of St. Mary's Manor retirement home. When he kneels on the red velvet pad to ring the brass bells during Mass, Lombardo sometimes leans against the marble pillar to ease his descent. When he carries the cut-glass pitcher of wine to fill the priest's chalice, his steps verge on a shuffle. He is 94. These are the small concessions he must make to his age. Lombardo was somewhat mature to make a start as an altar boy. He was 77 and had just moved into St. Mary's Manor in Lansdale.
NEWS
October 19, 2011 | By John P. Martin, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
A former altar boy at a North Philadelphia parish today filed a lawsuit accusing a priest of molesting him for three years in the 1990s and blaming church officials for not preventing the abuse. Filed in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court, the claim by a 28-year-old Philadelphia man said the Rev. William Ayres sexually abused him in the church and rectory at Incarnation of Our Lord parish, as well as at other spots. The lawsuit names the man only as "John Doe 187" but his lawyers say Ayres and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia have been told his identity.
NEWS
October 4, 2012 | BY MENSAH M. DEAN, Daily News Staff Writer
A PHILADELPHIA judge Tuesday reinstated three felony charges against a Catholic priest who is accused of forcing oral sex on a 10-year-old altar boy in 1997. Father Andrew McCormick sat stoically at the defense table as Common Pleas Judge Paula Patrick held him for trial after a brief hearing on involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault and statutory sexual assault. Those charges were dismissed by Municipal Judge Karen Y. Simmons following an August preliminary hearing, during which the now-24-year-old alleged victim testified that McCormick, 56, straddled him and put his penis on the victim's lips and on his teeth.
NEWS
March 22, 2012 | By John P. Martin, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
A defrocked Philadelphia priest pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiracy and sexually assaulting a 10-year-old altar boy, four days before he and two priests were to face the start of a landmark trial about clergy sex-abuse in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Edward V. Avery, 69, was sentenced to 21/2 to five years in prison under an agreement with the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office. It was unclear how the sudden plea would affect the trial, scheduled to start Monday, or if Avery would become a witness for the commonwealth.
NEWS
December 13, 2003 | By Jacqueline L. Urgo INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
In the same peaceful church sanctuary at St. John Bosco Church where Air Force Staff Sgt. Thomas Walkup Jr. once served as an altar boy, mourners yesterday attended his Funeral Mass. Walkup, 25, who grew up in Millville, was aboard a transport helicopter that crashed Nov. 23 during a military support operation near Bagram, Afghanistan, killing five U.S. soldiers and injuring eight others. "I have such fond memories of Tommy, because he was always ready to serve," said Msgr.
NEWS
November 1, 2011 | By John P. Martin, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
A judge said Tuesday that a priest and a teacher accused in a lawsuit of raping a Northeast Philadelphia altar boy could not question the alleged victim until after their criminal trial on the charges next year. Common Pleas Court Judge William J. Manfredi denied the request by the Rev. Charles Engelhardt and Bernard Shero to interrogate their accuser and be given access to his medical and personal records. He said the parties in the civil case would not have to exchange evidence until next July.
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NEWS
July 24, 2015 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer
Twice, the Rev. Andrew McCormick went to trial in Philadelphia for allegedly sexually assaulting an altar boy almost 18 years ago in a Bridesburg parish. Twice, Common Pleas Court juries failed to reach a verdict. Now, three months after the District Attorney's Office announced it would not retry McCormick and withdrew the charges, the now-27-year-old former altar boy has sued McCormick and the Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The lawsuit under the pseudonym John Doe was filed July 10 in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court and seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages for emotional and other injuries sustained by the alleged victim.
NEWS
March 28, 2015 | By Matt Gelb, Inquirer Staff Writer
A state Superior Court panel upheld this week the prison sentences of a Catholic priest and former parochial-school teacher convicted of sexually abusing a 10-year-old altar boy from Northeast Philadelphia. The Rev. Charles Engelhardt and Bernard Shero, a former St. Jerome teacher, were sentenced by a Common Pleas Court judge in June 2013 for abuse that occurred in the late 1990s. Their lawyers appealed, contending prosecutorial misconduct and citing new evidence. Engelhardt died Nov. 15, 2014, just weeks after his appeal was heard.
NEWS
March 8, 2015 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
He ate two cookies - light vanilla coating with cream filling - drank a Dr Pepper, and counted to himself as the Rev. Andrew McCormick unfastened the 33 buttons on his cassock one by one. A 27-year-old man recounted that vivid memory from the witness stand this week, describing the moments before McCormick allegedly sexually assaulted him about 18 years ago. And as jurors began deliberating the suspended priest's fate Friday, their decision could...
NEWS
February 28, 2015 | By Matt Gelb, Inquirer Staff Writer
A hung jury resulted last spring in the mistrial of the Rev. Andrew McCormick on child sex-assault charges. Lawyers in the retrial that started this week spent parts of four days to select a jury before opening arguments could be heard Thursday afternoon. The Philadelphia Common Pleas Court jury of 10 women and two men heard accusations that McCormick, 58, abused a 10-year-old altar boy in 1997 at St. John Cantius Catholic Church in Bridesburg. Assistant District Attorney Kristen Kemp, in her opening statement, showed the jury an old photo of the boy while describing a troubled child victimized by a man of authority.
NEWS
November 20, 2014
A story Tuesday about the death of the Rev. Charles Engelhardt, who died Sunday while serving a six- to 12-year sentence for sexually assaulting an altar boy, incorrectly described his status in the church. He was still a priest.
NEWS
November 18, 2014 | By Joe Dolinsky, Inquirer Staff Writer
A former Catholic priest convicted of sexually abusing a 10-year-old boy at a Northeast Philadelphia parish from 1998 to 1999 died Sunday, just weeks after an appeal of his conviction was heard before the state Supreme Court. The Rev. Charles Engelhardt, 67, of Wynnewood, was in the second year of a six- to 12-year sentence at the Coal Township Prison in Northumberland County, stemming from his 2013 conviction. Engelhardt died at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, the Associated Press reported.
NEWS
March 7, 2014 | BY MENSAH M. DEAN, Daily News Staff Writer deanm@phillynews.com, 215-568-8278
HIS FACE turning red yesterday, the Rev. Andrew McCormick turned toward the nine women and three men who will decide his fate and blurted out: "I want the jury to know that I never molested [a former altar boy]. I want to convince you of that. " Moments later, when asked by defense lawyer William J. Brennan if he had ever molested any of the estimated 700 altar boys he came in contact with over 14 years at a Bridesburg church, McCormick, 57, was succinct: "Never," he said, bringing his lawyer's brief questioning to a sudden conclusion.
NEWS
March 7, 2014 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer
Accused Catholic priest the Rev. Andrew McCormick took the witness stand in his defense Wednesday and denied molesting any altar boys, telling a Philadelphia Common Pleas Court jury: "I want to convince you of that. " Agitated and blushing, at times talking over questions from his lawyer and the prosecutor, McCormick, 57, denied the allegation by a 26-year-old man, who said the priest sexually assaulted him in 1997 when he was a 10-year-old altar boy at St. John Cantius in Bridesburg.
NEWS
March 7, 2014 | BY MENSAH M. DEAN, Daily News Staff Writer deanm@phillynews.com, 215-568-8278
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.
NEWS
March 6, 2014 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer
After three days of prosecution testimony, the sexual-assault trial of Catholic priest Andrew McCormick moves to the defense Wednesday with the priest's lawyers saying they have not decided whether their client will testify. On Tuesday, Assistant District Attorney Kristen Kemp completed her case in a day dominated by a former Bridesburg altar boy's conflicted testimony about his relationship with McCormick. Adam Visconto, now 27, told the Common Pleas Court jury that McCormick was an influential spiritual mentor at St. John Cantius parish in Bridesburg.
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