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Altar Boy

NEWS
January 19, 2013 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Strange, awkward, socially inept - witness descriptions of former parochial-school teacher Bernard Shero have been consistent. Prosecutors allege that the traits are consistent with a man who raped a pupil - a 10-year-old altar boy - in the backseat of his car. But, as Shero's lawyer suggests, are they just the personality of a man whose physical disability made him a social outcast and easy target of children's jeers and rumors? Both sides pressed their interpretations Friday on the Philadelphia jury hearing the trial of Shero and the Rev. Charles Engelhardt.
NEWS
January 19, 2013 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian and John P. Martin, Inquirer Staff Writers
Ten months ago, defrocked Catholic priest Edward V. Avery began serving a sentence of 21/2 to 5 years in prison after pleading guilty to sexually molesting a 10-year-old altar boy from the Northeast. On Thursday, Avery, 70, returned to a Philadelphia courtroom and recanted his guilty plea - denying any contact with the alleged victim and tossing into turmoil the trial of a former St. Jerome's parish priest and a schoolteacher charged with serially sexually assaulting the same boy in 1998 and 1999.
NEWS
January 18, 2013 | BY MENSAH M. DEAN, Daily News Staff Writer deanm@phillynews.com, 215-568-8278
A DEFROCKED Catholic priest who pleaded guilty last year to sexually assaulting an altar boy recanted his guilty plea on the witness stand Thursday, dealing a blow to prosecutors making a case against two other men on trial for allegedly molesting the same boy. Defrocked priest Edward Avery, 70, who is serving a 2 1/2-to-5-year state prison sentence, denied touching or even knowing the victim. Avery had been expected to buttress the prosecution's case against Rev. Charles Engelhardt, 66, and ex-teacher Bernard Shero, 49, who are being tried in Common Pleas Court for allegedly raping a St. Jerome Parish altar boy in 1998 and 2000, respectively.
NEWS
January 18, 2013 | By Joseph A. Slobodzianand John P. Martin, INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS
Ten months ago, defrocked Catholic priest Edward V. Avery began serving a sentence of 21/2 to 5 years in prison after pleading guilty to sexually molesting a 10-year-old altar boy from the Northeast. On Thursday, Avery, 70, returned to a Philadelphia courtroom and recanted his guilty plea - denying any contact with the alleged victim and tossing into turmoil the trial of a former St. Jerome's parish priest and a schoolteacher charged with serially sexually assaulting the same boy in 1998 and 1999.
NEWS
January 18, 2013 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Facing imminent arrest for the alleged sexual assault of a 10-year-old pupil in his English class, parochial school teacher Bernard Shero penned a sad letter apologizing to his parents for the "ridicule and shame," took an overdose of sleeping pills and waited for death in his Bristol apartment. Death did not arrive on Feb. 10, 2011 but Philadelphia police Det. Andrew Snyder did and the detective told a Common Pleas Court jury today how lucky timing let him arrest Shero instead of follow him to the morgue.
NEWS
January 17, 2013 | By Allison Steele, Inquirer Staff Writer
Speaking quietly but firmly, a 24-year-old man testified for more than two hours Tuesday about enduring a series of childhood sexual assaults by two Catholic priests and a teacher, all of whom worked at a church and middle school less than a mile from his Northeast Philadelphia home. The molestation began in the late 1990s when the man was a 10-year-old altar boy at St. Jerome's, a Catholic school near Pennypack Park, and left him overwhelmed by fear, guilt, and shame, he testified in Common Pleas Court.
NEWS
January 17, 2013 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer
Lawyers for a priest and a former parochial-school teacher attacked the credibility Wednesday of a 24-year-old Northeast Philadelphia man who says the pair sexually assaulted him when he was a 10-year-old altar boy. The witness - The Inquirer does not identify victims of alleged sexual assault - was questioned for almost four hours by lawyers for the Rev. Charles Engelhardt and Bernard Shero. On Tuesday, the witness told the Common Pleas Court jury that serial sexual assaults by Engelhardt, another priest, and Shero while he was a fifth grader at St. Jerome's parish school shattered his childhood and propelled him into a life of petty crime and drug addiction.
NEWS
January 16, 2013 | BY MENSAH M. DEAN, Daily News Staff Writer deanm@phillynews.com, 215-568-8278
THE CRIMINAL TRIAL of a priest and a former Catholic schoolteacher accused of sexually assaulting an altar boy began Monday with the prosecutor calling the defendants "predators" who subjected the boy to "the most vile acts. " Conversely, defense attorneys painted the now-adult accuser as a drug-addicted liar angling for a payout. As their attorneys spoke of them, defendants Rev. Charles Engelhardt, 66, and Bernard Shero, 49, sat stone-faced and spoke only when they stood to plead not guilty.
NEWS
January 16, 2013 | By Allison Steele, Inquirer Staff Writer
The trial of a priest and a former teacher charged with sexually assaulting a 10-year-old altar boy at a Northeast Philadelphia parish opened Monday with prosecutors portraying the men as predators who turned a happy-go-lucky honors student into a despondent teenager who was expelled from school, attempted suicide, and turned to drugs. Defense attorneys questioned the credibility of the accuser, saying he had told many different versions of the abuse since reporting it in 2009. They described him as a "damaged" man whose personality shift was the result of drug addiction.
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