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.
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.
October 13, 2011 |
Citing patient confidentiality laws, the treatment center where the Archdiocese of Philadelphia sent priests accused of molestation says it is legally barred from turning over records to prosecutors in the looming child sex abuse trial of four current and former priests. In a motion filed in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court, a lawyer for the St. John Vianney Center in Downingtown asked a judge to quash Philadelphia prosecutors' subpoena for one patient's files. The motion says the Pennsylvania Mental Health Procedures Act prohibits it from releasing the records.
July 30, 2011 |
THE FIVE DEFENDANTS in the Philadelphia Catholic church sex scandal will be tried together, a judge ruled yesterday. During the case's final pretrial hearing, Common Pleas Judge Lillian Ransom denied the defendants' requests for separate trials and most of their motions to dismiss conspiracy charges. Ransom also denied a motion by the attorney for Monsignor William Lynn that would have allowed the state Superior Court to determine if the endangering-the-welfare-of-children statute applied to Lynn.
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.
June 12, 2012 |
Jurors in the landmark sex-abuse trial of two Archdiocese of Philadelphia priests resumed deliberations this afternoon after a three-day break. The panel last met on Thursday, when Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina agreed to jury's request to be excused all of Friday and Monday morning because of graduations and other family commitments. They also have requested to be off Wednesday if they had not reached verdicts against Msgr. William J. Lynn and the Rev. James J. Brennan.
August 18, 2012 |
A municipal judge stunned Philadelphia prosecutors on Thursday when she threw out the most serious charges against a Roman Catholic pastor accused of sexually assaulting a 10-year-old Philadelphia altar boy in 1997. Judge Karen Simmons issued her ruling after the alleged victim testified that the Rev. Andrew McCormick had led him to his rectory bedroom in the Bridesburg section one evening in 1997, stripped to his boxers, straddled him, and tried to force him to perform oral sex. McCormick's lawyer, William J. Brennan, argued that the allegations did not justify charges of felony sexual assault and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse because there was "absolutely no evidence" of clear penetration.
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.