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Altar Boy

NEWS
January 16, 1998 | By Erin Einhorn, INQUIRER CORRESPONDENT
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.
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.
NEWS
August 17, 2012 | By John P. Martin, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
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.
NEWS
December 24, 2003 | By Thomas Belton
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.
LIVING
November 13, 1992 | By Paddy Noyes, FOR THE INQUIRER
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.
NEWS
September 13, 1989 | By Mark Wagenveld, Inquirer Staff Writer
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.
NEWS
April 11, 1988 | By Maureen Maloney, Special to The Inquirer
Frank H. Plageman Jr., 84, a retired employee of Bell of Pennsylvania and an altar boy at the historic St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church on Willing's Alley, died Saturday at Kennedy Memorial Hospitals/Stratford Division after a long illness. Mr. Plageman was a retired troubleshooter and technical switchman for Bell of Pennsylvania, and was an altar boy for about 17 years at St. Joseph's Church, where he assisted during early Mass, according to his son, Joseph. "He'd help them open up in the morning and bring flowers for the courtyard," Plageman said of his father, who was an avid gardener.
NEWS
April 24, 2012 | BY JOHN P. MARTIN, Inquirer Staff Writer
EDWARD AVERY might be gone from the defense table at the landmark clergy-sex-abuse trial involving Archdiocese of Philadelphia priests, but he remains a pivotal figure in the case. On Monday, prosecutors and defense lawyers clashed over what jurors could and should be told about Avery, a defrocked priest who was removed as a defendant last month after his last-minute plea to charges that he sexually assaulted a 10-year-old altar boy. Common Pleas Judge M. Teresa Sarmina suggested that jurors could even hear from Avery himself.
NEWS
March 23, 2012 | BY JULIE SHAW, shawj@phillynews.com 215-854-2592
IN A SHOCKING turn of events, a former priest pleaded guilty to two charges Thursday instead of facing trial in the high-profile clergy-sex-abuse case that is set to begin Monday. Defrocked priest Edward Avery, 69, pleaded guilty to a count of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse involving a 10-year-old altar boy. He also pleaded guilty to a count of conspiracy to endanger the welfare of children. Avery was sentenced to 2 1/2 to 5 years in state prison under a plea deal with prosecutors and was told to surrender on April 2 to begin his sentence.
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