Jury in Philadelphia Clergy Sex Abuse Trial Is Told of Defendant’s Suicide Attempt
By Tony Hanson January 17, 2013 1:17 PM
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There was dramatic testimony today in the trial of a priest and former lay teacher charged with sexually assaulting the same grade-school altar boy in 1999 and 2000.
There was testimony today that defendant Bernard Shero tried to commit suicide in 2011, on the morning he was supposed to surrender to face charges he sexually assaulted the boy, then 11 years old, in 2000. In a note, Shero had apologized to his parents and told them he didn’t think he had “much of a choice here” and he thinks they know why.
But he went on to say he’d be dragged though the mud whether he is innocent or guilty.
In other testimony, a detective has testified that the alleged victim gave to him a significantly different version of the alleged abuse by Father Charles Engelhardt than the alleged victim later gave to the grand jury and the jury in this case.
Admitted Pedophile Recants in Philadelphia Priest Sex Abuse Case
By Tony Hanson January 17, 2013 4:24 PM
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A former priest who admitted sexually assaulting a 5th-grade boy in the Philadelphia clergy sexual abuse scandal today recanted during the trial of another priest and a former lay teacher charged with sexually assaulting the same boy.
But Avery, called to the witness stand from prison where he is serving a 2½-5 year sentence, told the jury today that he never assaulted the boy, didn’t even know him, and only took the plea deal to avoid the possibility of a conviction and a sentence that might have kept him in prison for life.
Avery, called by the prosecution, quickly became a so-called “hostile” witness, and during questioning that was at times heated, he conceded that he had admitted to the crimes in court — swore he committed them.
Prosecutors had been depending on Avery’s testimony to cement their case against Engelhardt and Shero.
Prosecution Expected To Rest Today In Priest Sex Abuse Case
By Tony Hanson January 22, 2013 6:41 AM
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The prosecution is expected to rest today and the defense will begin in the trial of a priest and former lay teacher charged with sexually assaulting the same boy back in 1999 and 2000. Both men have pleaded not guilty, but it’s not known whether either or both the defendants will testify.
The prosecution is expected to present medical testimony about physical maladies suffered by a then young boy after he was allegedly sexually assaulted by Father Charles Engelhardt and former lay teacher Bernard Shero in 1999 and 2000.
Then the defense will begin. There will be character and fact witnesses, even the alleged victim’s own brother could be called to testify and the defendants could testify.
Witness: After rape by teacher ‘I had to go’ to school
Joseph A. Slobodzian, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Posted: Wednesday, January 16, 2013, 3:42 PM
The defense lawyer for former parochial schoolteacher Bernard Shero today began trying to chip away at the credibility of a 24-year-old Northeast man who says he was sexually assaulted by Shero and two priests when he was a 10-year-old altar boy.
The witness – The Inquirer does not identify alleged victims of sexual assault – testified Tuesday in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court that the serial sexual assaults by Shero and two priests destroyed his childhood and led to his life as a drug addict.
But defense attorney Burton A. Rose, showing the jury blow-ups of the man’s report cards from 5th through 8th grades at St. Jerome’s, noted that his grades and attendance barely changed during the time of the alleged assaults in 1998 and 1999.
“So you went to school the next day after this man [Shero] anally raped you in the back of his car?” Rose asked.
“It was school, I had to go,” replied the witness, who was identified as “Billy Doe” in the 2011 county grand jury report.
Rose has argued that Shero never assaulted the witness – or caused his later problems with drugs and the law.
The witness maintained that he was afraid to tell anyone about the assaults by the two priests in the sacristy of St. Jerome’s church, or the assault by Shero, who was his homeroom and English teacher.
Shero, 49, and the Rev. Charles Engelhardt, 66, are on trial for the alleged assaults on Billy when he was in fifth and sixth grades at St. Jerome’s.
The other priest, Edward Avery, now 70, pleaded guilty last year shortly before he was to go on trial with two other priests in the investigation of clergy sex abuse of children in the Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
Avery, now defrocked and serving a 2-1/2 to five years in prison and may be called by prosecutors to testify in the trial of Shero and Engelhardt.
The pair are the last two of five people charged as a result of the 2011 county grand jury report.
Last year’s landmark three-month trial ended June 22 when the jury found Msgr. William J. Lynn guilty of child endangerment, the first church administrator convicted for a priest’s sexual abuse of a child.
Lynn, 62, who as secretary for clergy from 1992 to 2004 was responsible for investigating allegations against priests, was sentenced to 3 to 6 years. He is in a state prison and appealing his conviction.
2nd Philly priest-abuse trial set for Oct. 22
By MARYCLAIRE DALE
The Associated Press
The rape trial of a Roman Catholic priest and a former Catholic school teacher has been rescheduled for next month before a new judge.
The Rev. Charles Engelhardt and ex-teacher Bernard Shero are charged with raping the same boy in the late 1990s at a northeast Philadelphia parish.
Defrocked priest Edward Avery is in prison after admitting he sexually assaulted the boy. Prosecutors disclosed Friday they’ve subpoenaed Avery to testify at the upcoming trial.
The 65-year-old Engelhardt and 49-year-old Shero have pleaded not guilty. Engelhardt’s lawyer says his trial defense will take more than a week.
The trial, delayed this week, is now set for Oct. 22 before Common Pleas Judge Ellen Ceisler.
The trial is expected to hinge on the credibility of the accuser, a troubled 24-year-old policeman’s son.