September 6, 2015 |
The parents of a disabled 3-year-old girl who was starved to death while living in a garbage-filled, vermin-infested West Oak Lane house each were sentenced Friday to 30 to 60 years in prison. Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Sandy L.V. Byrd told Carlos Rivera and Carmen Ramirez that he could not let passion influence his sentence, and credited both for pleading guilty in the face of what would have effectively been life sentences. But the veteran homicide judge could not filter the passion and outrage from his voice when addressing the condition in which the dead girl and her four siblings lived.
May 27, 2015 |
A 2014 federal audit of 20 government-subsidized child-care facilities in Pennsylvania found 17 of them had serious health and safety hazards, administrative violations, or performed incomplete background checks. Only three sites were in compliance with Child Care and Development Block Grant standards; the others logged as many as 16 violations apiece. Among the violations were broken glass in play areas, an unfenced pool, moldy toilets and leaking ceilings, and the concealing of criminal charges, including child endangerment, against one of the operators.
April 29, 2015 |
The landmark child-endangerment conviction of Msgr. William J. Lynn - the first Catholic Church official found guilty for his role supervising priests in the clergy sex-abuse scandal - was reinstated Monday by Pennsylvania's Supreme Court. Writing for the 4-1 majority of the state's high court, Justice Max Baer said Superior Court erred when it reversed Lynn's conviction because he did not directly supervise children. At issue was whether a 2007 amendment to the child-endangerment statute, which specifically included supervisory personnel as open to criminal culpability, expanded the original 1995 law or simply clarified it. If the amendments just expanded the law, Lynn would have been unconstitutionally convicted for acts that predated the amendments.
March 28, 2015 |
A state Superior Court panel upheld this week the prison sentences of a Catholic priest and former parochial-school teacher convicted of sexually abusing a 10-year-old altar boy from Northeast Philadelphia. The Rev. Charles Engelhardt and Bernard Shero, a former St. Jerome teacher, were sentenced by a Common Pleas Court judge in June 2013 for abuse that occurred in the late 1990s. Their lawyers appealed, contending prosecutorial misconduct and citing new evidence. Engelhardt died Nov. 15, 2014, just weeks after his appeal was heard.
February 6, 2015
WHEN Hillary Clinton repeated the old adage that it takes a village to raise a child, a lot of people criticized her for promoting a vaguely socialist philosophy. Many were disturbed by the idea that children could be viewed as communal property, and blamed Clinton for undermining the rights of parents to raise their own progeny as they - and not the village elders - saw fit. At the time, I found the whole controversy a bit comical. Having spent a good part of my own childhood with my maternal grandparents, I was used to being thwacked on the rear by Mike and Mamie's Italian neighbors when I got mouthy, or being escorted back to their front door and ratted out by the nosy Spillane sisters.
January 28, 2015 |
A Delaware County couple were charged with child endangerment after their 1-month-old daughter's face was partially eaten by the family's pet ferrets last week. Burnie J. Fraim, 42, and Jessica L. Benales, 24, were each charged Saturday with five counts of endangering the welfare of children - a count apiece for the five children who lived in their Darby Borough home, court records show. The couple could not post their $100,000 bail and were being held Monday night at the Delaware County prison, court records show.
January 18, 2015 |
A West Philadelphia man who told police he accidentally beat his infant son to death while trying to punch the family dog was sentenced to 20 to 40 years in prison Friday. Samuel N. Cabrera, 29, dropped his head to the defense table and cried as his punishment was announced. He said nothing when given his chance to address the court. Judge Sandy L.V. Byrd also had harsh words for the child's mother, Jennifer Wycoff, who was sitting in the courtroom, and the prosecutors who decided not to charge her with a crime.
January 15, 2015 |
Four preteen boys gave graphic testimony Tuesday about their football coach repeatedly sexually assaulting them in his North Philadelphia home. The youths echoed testimony earlier in the week against Leon Watson, 25, who coached the Little Vicks and Rhawnhurst Raiders. One of the boys, an 11-year-old wide receiver for the Vicks, told the Common Pleas Court jury about when he was assaulted last year in Watson's home in the 2400 block of West Diamond Street. The boy said he had been suspended from school for fighting and had gone to Watson's home because his mother could not take care of him during the day. While he watched television with Watson, the coach began fondling him, the youth said.
November 20, 2014 |
HARRISBURG - A Philadelphia prosecutor asked the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Tuesday to reinstate the historic child-endangerment conviction against Msgr. William J. Lynn, former secretary for clergy for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. "He had a duty to protect children from priests, and he protected priests," said Hugh Burns, chief of the District Attorney's Office appellate unit. But Lynn's attorney, Thomas Bergstrom, said the monsignor could not be held responsible for a priest's sexual abuse of a child because the law at the time did not recognize him as a supervisor.
October 30, 2014 |
Citing newly discovered evidence and errors made at trial, lawyers for a Catholic priest and a former parochial-school teacher jailed for sexually abusing a 10-year-old altar boy made their case to an appellate panel Tuesday for overturning the men's convictions. Attorneys Burton A. Rose, representing former St. Jerome teacher Bernard Shero, and Michael McGovern, representing the Rev. Charles Engelhardt, alleged prosecutorial misconduct and "abuse of discretion on the part of the trial judge" who sentenced the men to prison terms in June 2013 for abuse that occurred in the late 1990s.