January 30, 2013
The Philadelphia Common Pleas Court jury evaluating the child-rape case against the Rev. Charles Engelhardt and former parochial-school teacher Bernard Shero will return Wednesday after a second full day of deliberations without a verdict. The jury of eight men and four women, which deliberated for two hours on Friday, followed by seven-hour days Monday and Tuesday, broke only to send a request to Judge Ellen Ceisler to have portions of the transcript involving Shero read back to them.
March 7, 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.
September 19, 2012 |
In March, Edward Avery made a bombshell decision: He took a plea deal. Avery, a former priest, admitted he had sexually assaulted a 10-year-old altar boy in 1999. He was sentenced to 21/2 to five years in prison. Weeks later, the victim described the attack for jurors at the landmark clergy sex-abuse trial of Avery's codefendant, Msgr. William J. Lynn. After hearing the testimony, the jury convicted Lynn of endangerment because he had let Avery live at the boy's parish. On Monday, Lynn's lawyers dropped their own bombshell in their latest bid to free him on bail.
August 7, 2005 |
When the Rev. James Gigliotti told church officials in the early 1980s that a Northeast Philadelphia priest was molesting boys, he remembers receiving a stern warning. "This comes from the highest authority: You're to keep your mouth shut," Gigliotti said an assistant chancellor told him. The Philadelphia Archdiocese quickly removed the accused priest, the Rev. James J. Brzyski, from his parish in the Fox Chase section. But the archdiocese did not tell parishioners the reason.
January 16, 1998 |
A priest who says he is seeking treatment for a "sex addiction" admitted yesterday in Bucks County Court that, over the course of three years, he supplied an altar boy with beer, shared a bed with him, hugged him, and kissed him on the lips. The Rev. Michael Swierzy, 49, of Downingtown, a former principal of Cardinal Dougherty High School in Philadelphia, who most recently ministered at St. John the Evangelist church in Lower Makefield Township, pleaded guilty to one count of corruption of minors and was sentenced to five years' probation.
August 17, 2012 |
A municipal judge stunned Philadelphia prosecutors today when she threw out the most serious charges against a former Roman Catholic pastor accused of sexually assaulting a 10-year-old Philadelphia altar boy in 1997. Judge Karen Simmons ruled after the alleged victim testified that the Rev. Andrew McCormick led him to his rectory bedroom in the city's Bridesburg section one evening in 1997, stripped to his boxers, straddled the altar boy and tried to force him to perform oral sex. McCormick's lawyer, William J. Brennan, argued that the allegations didn't justify felony sexual assault and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse charges because there was "absolutely no evidence" of clear penetration, as he said the law requires.
December 24, 2003 |
Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, to a young altar boy at St. Patrick's Church in Jersey City in 1956, felt like a medieval mysterium. It had all the pomp of the centuries-old Tridentine Mass sung in Latin by the priest at the altar, and answered by the choir from the shadowed loft at the rear of the darkened church. Memory carries the treasure of this moment. Altar boys enter and swing bronze censers as wreaths of evergreen and holly shudder to the sounds of a thousand parishioners rising as one, singing the opening lines of "Adeste Fidelis," and the bells above us begin to ring out from the high stone towers.
November 13, 1992 |
They come into the Adoption Center playroom in a tumble of joy. They're wrestling, punching and laughing. These six brothers and sisters live in four separate foster homes, and this is a day of celebration. It's their once-a-month gathering. They're together! And that's what they want to be, with the miracle of a family that will read their story and see the love they can bring. They jump on a big table and grin at one another. Hope swings her legs and bats her eyelashes as she swishes a paper fan at Eddie.
September 13, 1989 |
An embattled black Roman Catholic priest who has defied the church hierarchy and formed his own congregation in Washington defended his breakaway movement here last night, saying, "What we are asking for is parity, equality, justice. " "All we're saying to the Roman Catholic Church is that we are tired of being the stepchildren," said the Rev. George A. Stallings Jr. "We're tired of being like Lazarus and asking for the crumbs that fall from the table - we want to sit down and eat the whole meal.