March 22, 2012
T HE JUDGE in the clergy-sex-abuse trial ruled yesterday that the jury can hear about the troubled past of one priest's accuser. Common Pleas Judge M. Teresa Sarmina said attorney Michael Wallace, who represents defrocked priest Edward Avery, can tell jurors about the man's expulsion from the Catholic high school he attended in the early 2000s, and of discrepancies in the man's related civil lawsuit and his grand-jury testimony. Avery, 69, is charged with sexually assaulting the man when he was a 10-year-old altar boy in the 1990s.
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.
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.
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.
June 14, 2013 |
Even as they professed their innocence, a Catholic priest and an ex-parochial schoolteacher got long prison terms Wednesday in the serial sexual assault of a 10-year-old altar boy in the late 1990s. Common Pleas Court Judge Ellen Ceisler exceeded sentencing guidelines in handing out punishment to the Rev. Charles Engelhardt, 66, and Bernard Shero, 50, saying their crimes called for long terms. She sentenced Engelhardt to six to 12 years in prison and Shero to eight to 16. The sentences stunned the standing-room-only crowd that filled her courtroom.
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 24, 2012 |
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 Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina suggested that jurors could even hear from Avery himself.
August 31, 2012
PROSECUTORS will get another opportunity to try the Rev. James J. Brennan, 49, a Roman Catholic priest charged with attempted rape of a 14-year-old boy in 1996 and related offenses. A mistrial was declared in June after the District Attorney's Office was unable to persuade a jury to reach a unanimous verdict that Brennan was guilty. Common Pleas Judge Robert P. Coleman met Wednesday with Assistant District Attorneys Patrick Blessington and Mark Cipoletti and defense attorneys William J. Brennan Jr. and Richard J. Fuschino Jr. before setting March 6 as the new trial date.