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.
May 8, 2012 |
A former FBI agent hired by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to investigate clergy sex abuse concluded that a Bucks County man was telling the truth when he said the Rev. James J. Brennan tried to rape him when he was 14. Testifying Monday at Brennan's trial, the investigator, Jack Rossiter, said the priest consistently denied any "intentional" sexual contact with the teen when the boy stayed at his apartment in 1996. But in three interviews with Rossiter a decade later, Brennan gave conflicting statements about why he slept in the same bed with the boy, how long their visit lasted, and his ties to another young man who lived with him when Brennan was stationed at Cardinal O'Hara High School.
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.
April 26, 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 Wednesday, both former altar boys described a bond: Each said he was sexually abused by his parish priest, Edward Avery.
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.