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.
February 28, 2015 |
A hung jury resulted last spring in the mistrial of the Rev. Andrew McCormick on child sex-assault charges. Lawyers in the retrial that started this week spent parts of four days to select a jury before opening arguments could be heard Thursday afternoon. The Philadelphia Common Pleas Court jury of 10 women and two men heard accusations that McCormick, 58, abused a 10-year-old altar boy in 1997 at St. John Cantius Catholic Church in Bridesburg. Assistant District Attorney Kristen Kemp, in her opening statement, showed the jury an old photo of the boy while describing a troubled child victimized by a man of authority.
March 8, 2015 |
He ate two cookies - light vanilla coating with cream filling - drank a Dr Pepper, and counted to himself as the Rev. Andrew McCormick unfastened the 33 buttons on his cassock one by one. A 27-year-old man recounted that vivid memory from the witness stand this week, describing the moments before McCormick allegedly sexually assaulted him about 18 years ago. And as jurors began deliberating the suspended priest's fate Friday, their decision could...
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.
March 6, 2014 |
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.
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.