Northeast Times

Here's a who's who at the defense table …

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Charles En­gel­hardt, 65, an Ob­late of St. Fran­cis De­Sales, taught at Fath­er Judge and North Cath­ol­ic high schools. He also had been pas­tor of Ma­ter Dol­orosa par­ish in Frank­ford. He is ac­cused of mo­lest­ing a 10-year-old St. Jerome’s al­tar boy in the 1990s. He pleaded not guilty. He was to be tried with the four oth­er de­fend­ants, but his case was sep­ar­ated. He is rep­res­en­ted by Mi­chael McGov­ern and is sched­uled to go on tri­al on Sept. 4.

Ed­ward Avery, 69, a de­frocked priest, pleaded guilty to mo­lest­ing the same St. Jerome’s al­tar boy who ac­cused En­gel­hardt. He entered the plea on March 22, just days be­fore he was sched­uled to go on tri­al with Monsignor Wil­li­am Lynn and James Bren­nan on March 26. He was sen­tenced to two and a half to five years im­pris­on­ment. He is rep­res­en­ted by Mi­chael Wal­lace. Al­though Avery was not tried, his activ­it­ies as a priest and part-time disc jockey were ex­amined at length dur­ing Lynn’s and Bren­nan’s tri­al. Lynn’s in­vest­ig­a­tion of Avery and his re­com­mend­a­tions for his as­sign­ment were a large part of the pro­sec­u­tion’s case. Avery’s vic­tim test­i­fied dur­ing the tri­al. The arch­diocese it­self re­por­ted Avery and En­gel­hardt to au­thor­it­ies, an ac­tion that pre­cip­it­ated a grand jury in­vest­ig­a­tion that led to the ar­rests.

James Bren­nan, 49, was ac­cused of at­temp­ted rape of a sub­urb­an teen­age boy in  1996 and con­spir­acy. He pleaded not guilty, and tri­al jur­ors were dead­locked on the charges against him. Al­though Bren­nan was not the ori­gin­al fo­cus of their in­vest­ig­a­tion, grand jur­ors be­came aware of him and looked in­to his activ­it­ies as well as how he was in­vest­ig­ated by Lynn. Bren­nan is de­fen­ded by Wil­li­am Bren­nan, but had oth­er at­tor­neys be­fore the law­yer, who is no re­la­tion, took his case. James Bren­nan did not wear cler­ic­al cloth­ing dur­ing the tri­al, a point that was al­luded to by pro­sec­utors dur­ing the last day of the de­fense’s case. That ref­er­ence spurred an out­burst from  Wil­li­am Bren­nan, who was then cited for con­tempt. The priest also is rep­res­en­ted by Richard J. Fuschino Jr.

James Bren­nan did not testi­fy. His ac­cuser, now an adult, did.

Wil­li­am Lynn, 61, at his ar­rest in Feb­ru­ary 2011, was the highest-rank­ing Amer­ic­an Ro­man Cath­ol­ic ad­min­is­trat­or to face charges in a cler­ic­al sex ab­use case. Some­times re­ferred to as the arch­diocese of Phil­adelphia’s per­son­nel, or HR, dir­ect­or, he had served 12 years as Car­din­al An­thony Bevilac­qua’s sec­ret­ary for clergy and, as part of that job, in­vest­ig­ated al­leg­a­tions against priests ac­cused of sexu­ally ab­us­ing minors. He had test­i­fied at least 10 times be­fore the first grand jury that in­vest­ig­ated the city’s priests. He pleaded not guilty to con­spir­acy and en­dan­ger­ing chil­dren. Lynn spent al­most three days on the stand. The monsignor and his at­tor­neys re­peatedly said that he did not have the au­thor­ity to as­sign priests and, there­fore, can’t be held re­spons­ible for the crimes com­mit­ted by arch­dioces­an priests. After ver­dicts were an­nounced June 22, one of Lynn’s at­tor­neys said the monsignor was a fall guy for oth­ers in the Cath­ol­ic Church. Lynn is rep­res­en­ted by Thomas Bergstrom, Jeff Lindy, Alan Tauber and Al­lis­on Khaskel­is.

Bern­ard Shero, 49, a former lay teach­er at St. Jerome’s par­ish school in Winchester Park, was ac­cused of rap­ing the same al­tar boy al­legedly mo­les­ted by both En­gel­hardt and Avery. A con­spir­acy charge against him was thrown out in the spring, and his at­tor­ney, Bur­ton Rose, im­me­di­ately sought to have his case sep­ar­ated from that of the oth­er de­fend­ants. Even­tu­ally, Rose suc­ceeded. Shero will be tried Sept. 4 with En­gel­hardt. ••

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You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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