March 22, 2012 |
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.
January 16, 2013 |
THE CRIMINAL TRIAL of a priest and a former Catholic schoolteacher accused of sexually assaulting an altar boy began Monday with the prosecutor calling the defendants "predators" who subjected the boy to "the most vile acts. " Conversely, defense attorneys painted the now-adult accuser as a drug-addicted liar angling for a payout. As their attorneys spoke of them, defendants Rev. Charles Engelhardt, 66, and Bernard Shero, 49, sat stone-faced and spoke only when they stood to plead not guilty.
April 25, 2012 |
The two men followed starkly different paths to the witness stand. The 49-year-old was raised in the outer suburbs, graduated from medical school, got married, and had five children. The 23-year-old from Northeast Philadelphia was kicked out of two high schools, attempted suicide, and spent much of the last decade hooked on heroin and prescription drugs. But in tense and emotional testimony to a Common Pleas Court jury on Wednesday, both described a bond: Each said he was sexually abused by his parish priest, Edward Avery.
September 11, 2003 |
A full house turned out Tuesday night to see the lineup of artists from the clan of hip-hop, assembled by director Jamie Merwin. As she meant it to, the electric program showed this already developed urban art form coming into its own as a place for full-spectrum artistic expression. Merwin and Raphael Xavier's Olive Dance Theatre made a meditative start, with Xavier and Bret Syfert circling warily, each seemingly busking for himself alone. The nine women of Mont?zh, with their high-volume 'tude and mix of shapes, sizes and colors, were way more fun than the Eagles cheerleaders, even if their aesthetic slid dizzily among jazz, club and hip-hop.
October 20, 2011 |
A former altar boy at a North Philadelphia parish filed a lawsuit Wednesday accusing a priest of molesting him for three years in the 1990s and blaming church officials for not preventing the alleged abuse. Filed in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court, the claim by the 28-year-old Philadelphia man said the Rev. William Ayres sexually abused him in the church and the rectory at Incarnation of Our Lord parish, as well as at other spots. The lawsuit names the man only as "John Doe 187. " His lawyers say Ayres and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia have been told his identity.
January 17, 2013 |
Lawyers for a priest and a former parochial-school teacher attacked the credibility Wednesday of a 24-year-old Northeast Philadelphia man who says the pair sexually assaulted him when he was a 10-year-old altar boy. The witness - The Inquirer does not identify victims of alleged sexual assault - was questioned for almost four hours by lawyers for the Rev. Charles Engelhardt and Bernard Shero. On Tuesday, the witness told the Common Pleas Court jury that serial sexual assaults by Engelhardt, another priest, and Shero while he was a fifth grader at St. Jerome's parish school shattered his childhood and propelled him into a life of petty crime and drug addiction.
November 2, 2011 |
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.
January 25, 2013 |
The child-rape trial of a Philadelphia Catholic priest and an ex-parochial-school teacher goes to a Common Pleas Court jury Friday after the end of testimony and one defense lawyer's plea for acquittal. Burton A. Rose urged jurors not to convict former teacher Bernard Shero because of his awkward appearance or the salacious nature of the charges against him. In his closing Thursday, Rose read the list of charges against the 49-year-old, vision-impaired English teacher: rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child, child endangerment, and two related counts.
November 14, 1994 |
The brothers ran, side by side, toward the church. They had cut across the broad blacktop parking lot of St. Cecilia's countless times before on their way home, 14-year-old Billy Polec and his big brother Eddie, 16, racing against curfew. This night, however, they were racing for their lives. If they could just reach the church - the place where Eddie had been an altar boy, the place where his family went every Sunday - they could find sanctuary from the bat-wielding mob chasing them.
April 16, 2003 |
Seven years after the Camden Diocese removed James F. Hopkins from the ministry amid claims of abuse, Camden County authorities have charged the defrocked Roman Catholic priest with sexually abusing a former altar boy. Hopkins, 60, who served eight South Jersey parishes between 1973 and 1995, was arrested Monday afternoon at his home in Florida, where he relocated after being removed from the priesthood in 1995, authorities said. For Jonathan Norton, the victim in the case, the arrest concluded a long, personal battle to understand what happened to him, and to learn how to fight back.