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.
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.
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.
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.
April 11, 1988 |
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.