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NEWS
May 1, 2015 | By Matt Gelb, Inquirer Staff Writer
For years, the man identified in court documents as John Doe 187 said he harbored thoughts of suicide - crippled by a "dark anger that was suffocating my soul. " The depression eased, he said, after he approached lawyers with allegations that a Philadelphia priest had abused him when he was a child, and he said he was prepared to testify against the priest at trial. That never happened. The man's lawsuit, filed in 2011 against the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, was settled last month - less than two months after the church settled a suit filed by another man who alleged that he, too, had been sexually abused as a boy by a priest.
NEWS
May 1, 2015 | BY MORGAN ZALOT, Daily News Staff Writer zalotm@phillynews.com, 215-854-5928
IN WHAT THEIR attorney called a "significant step" in the healing process of two survivors of child sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic priests, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has settled the first civil suits filed in 2011 after a damning grand-jury report on sex abuse by area priests. The settlements with survivors - identified in court documents as John Doe 10 and John Doe 187 - were made earlier this year, the second coming in February the day before jury selection was to begin for the trials in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, said attorney Dan Monahan, who represented both men. Monahan and attorney Jeff Anderson announced the settlements yesterday.
NEWS
April 24, 2015 | BY STEPHANIE FARR, Daily News Staff Writer farrs@phillynews.com, 215-854-4225
WHEN MONSIGNOR Joseph Trinh got in trouble as a child growing up in Ho Chi Minh City, the former capital of South Vietnam once known as Saigon, the priest from the Catholic church across the street would pay his family a visit. "I used to get into trouble a lot and every time I was in trouble, the priest would come to visit my family and I would get out of the trouble," he said. "So my parents really paid a special respect to that vocation. " Although his family were devout Catholics who attended Mass every morning, Trinh never planned to become a priest at age 18, when he moved to Philadelphia in 1981.
NEWS
April 15, 2015 | By Kristin E. Holmes, Inquirer Staff Writer
When Msgr. James Mortimer reached 75, the mandatory retirement age for Archdiocese of Philadelphia priests, he wanted to keep his pastorate. Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua said no. "He made no exceptions," said Mortimer. "But at that time, we had oodles of priests. " So Mortimer went elsewhere to continue his ministry. He taught in Rome, and lived for a bit in South Dakota, where he filled in for priests on sabbatical. These days, he's back in Philadelphia, and even at age 88 he routinely gets called to replace parish priests who go on vacation or fall ill. "When I came back ... the diocese was begging for help," said Mortimer.
NEWS
April 13, 2015 | BY JULIE SHAW, Daily News Staff Writer shawj@phillynews.com, 215-854-2592
A CATHOLIC PRIEST who was accused of sexually abusing a 10-year-old altar boy in 1997 in the rectory at St. John Cantius Parish in Bridesburg will not have to face a third trial on child sex-abuse charges. The District Attorney's Office yesterday dropped all charges against the Rev. Andrew McCormick after two separate juries failed to reach verdicts. On March 11, a jury declared itself deadlocked after a little more than three days of deliberations in McCormick's second trial. On March 12, 2014, a different jury deadlocked after 4 1/2 days of deliberations in his first trial.
NEWS
April 12, 2015 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer
After two Philadelphia juries failed to reach a verdict in 12 months, the District Attorney's Office announced Friday it would not retry the Rev. Andrew McCormick, a Roman Catholic priest accused of sexually assaulting a 10-year-old altar boy almost 18 years ago in a Bridesburg parish. Assistant District Attorney Kristen Kemp, backed by key members of her office's sex-crimes unit, announced the decision in a brief hearing before Common Pleas Court Judge Gwendolyn N. Bright. Though she approved the dismissal, Bright told Kemp and defense attorney Trevan Borum she wanted her gag order obeyed until April 13. It bars the lawyers and all involved parties, including McCormick, from commenting on the case.
NEWS
March 28, 2015 | By Matt Gelb, Inquirer Staff Writer
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.
NEWS
March 16, 2015 | By Mike Newall, Inquirer Columnist
Ask Father Doug McKay to explain what's at the heart of his ministry in Grays Ferry, and he may tell you a story about two brothers. It's an afternoon 10 years ago, and he's sitting on the porch of his ministry house across from St. Gabe's Church. These two brothers from the neighborhood come running down the street, one chasing the other with a butcher knife. When they pass St. Gabe's, the brother with the knife doesn't miss a beat: He switches the knife into his left hand, makes the sign of the cross with his right, and keeps on running after his brother.
NEWS
March 13, 2015 | BY JULIE SHAW, Daily News Staff Writer shawj@phillynews.com, 215-854-2592
AFTER A JURY reported that it was hopelessly deadlocked, a judge declared a mistrial yesterday in the retrial of a Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing a 10-year-old altar boy in 1997 in the rectory at St. John Cantius Parish in Bridesburg. It marks the second time that Common Pleas Judge Gwendolyn Bright has declared a mistrial in the case of the Rev. Andrew McCormick. Exactly a year ago, on March 12, 2014, a different jury was deadlocked after 4 1/2 days of deliberations.
NEWS
March 13, 2015 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer
For the second time in 12 months, a Philadelphia jury was unable to reach a verdict in the trial of a Catholic priest accused of sexually assaulting a 10-year-old altar boy almost 18 years ago in a Bridesburg parish. The Common Pleas Court jury of 10 women and two men hearing the trial of the Rev. Andrew McCormick, 58, announced Wednesday that it was hung. The mistrial came one day shy of a year since the last mistrial. McCormick's face reddened as he heard the foreman respond "no verdict" to each of the five counts against him: involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault, child endangerment, corruption of a minor, and indecent assault of a minor under 13. But afterward, the priest of 33 years seemed upbeat, wishing court staff a happy Easter as he signed a subpoena to appear at an April 10 hearing.
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