Philadelphia’s Catholic Church Sex Abuse Scandal March 2013 Update


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It’s a sex abuse case involving one monsignor, three priests and one school teacher, literally, the first of its kind. It began with a Grand Jury report several years ago after a Philadelphia District Attorney’s office investigation into allegations of sex abuse by priests. It ended in guilty verdicts for the Monsignor, two priests and the teacher. One priest is scheduled to be retried following a hung jury that resulted in a mistrial last year.

The defendants:

1. Monsignor William J. Lynn
Last year, this priest was found guilty of Endangering the Welfare of Children and sentenced to 3 – 6 years of prison. Evidence presented at trial showed that Lynn was involved in moving suspected priests from church to church.

2. Father James J. Brennan
This priest was tried with Monsignor Lynn. The jury deadlocked on the two charges against him – Endangering the Welfare of Children and Attempted Rape. At the Pre-Trial Conference on March 4, 2013, Judge Robert Coleman granted the defense request and ordered the trial continued until October 21, 2013.

3. Father Edward V. Avery
Before the trial involving his co-defendants, Lynn and Brennan, this priest accepted a plea. On March 22, 2012, Father Avery pled guilty to two felonies: Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse and Conspiracy to Endanger the Welfare of Children. He was sentenced to 2.5 to 5 years.

4. Father Charles Engelhardt
Earlier this year in January, a Philadelphia jury found this priest guilty of 7 charges:

  • Endangering the Welfare of Children
  • Corruption Of Minors
  • Indecent Assault Person Less than 13 Years of Age
  • Conspiracy – Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse
  • Conspiracy – Endangering Welfare of Children
  • Conspiracy – Corruption Of Minors
  • Conspiracy – Indecent Assault Person Less than 13 Years of Age

Sentencing for Charles Engelhardt is scheduled for 4/18/13. Read about his co-defendant, Bernard Shero, a Philadelphia Catholic school teacher.

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