Philadelphia priests and Catholic teacher arrested for sexual abuse

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10 February 2011

By Tom MacDonald    

Click here to view Real Player video clip of press conference

Three priests, a Monsignor and a Catholic school teacher are all facing criminal charges after a Philadelphia grand jury found a pattern of child sexual abuse.  

Edward Avery, Charles Engelhardt and Bernard Shero, in addition to parochial school teacher James Brennan are facing rape, indecent sexual assault and other charges in connection with the sexual abuse of boys between 1996 and 2000.

District Attorney Seth Williams says the information given to the grand jury came from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s investigation into abuse by priests.  Williams spoke of one allegation made by the grand jury after hearing testimony.

“What makes this even more disgusting for me…is that it appears that this priest at the time then shared his accomplishment…with another priest that was also assigned at the parish at that same time.   And within weeks he did the same exact same thing to this poor young boy who was 10 years of age,” said Williams.

Monsignor William Lynn, Secretary for Clergy of the Archdiocese under former Archbishop Anthony Bevilacqua was also charged with endangering the welfare of a child.  The investigation also found about 30 active priests with allegations of sexual abuse in the past but no further charges have been issued.

Cardinal Justin Rigali says the diocese has not been able to review the charges and so won’t comment.  Cardinal Rigali is pledging full cooperation with the investigation.  He also expressed sympathy to victims of sexual abuse.

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