Felony sex charges were reinstated last week against a Catholic priest accused of sexually assaulting a 10-year-old altar boy at St. John Cantius Parish in Bridesburg in 1997.
The Rev. Andrew McCormick, known as “Father Andy,” is once again charged with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, statutory sexual assault and sexual assault.
At an August hearing, McCormick’s alleged victim, who is now 24, testified that he was led by McCormick to his bedroom where McCormick attempted to initiate oral sex.
Judge Karen Simmons then ruled that there was no evidence of penetration, which the law requires for charges of felony sexual assault and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse. She did not overturn misdemeanor charges of child endangerment and indecent assault.
However, the office of District Attorney Seth Williams appealed and got the felony charges reinstated by the Court of Common Pleas.
McCormick, 56, will be formally arraigned on the felony charges on Oct. 23.
McCormick left Bridesburg in 2000, and was most recently serving as a priest in Montgomery County. In 2011, he and two dozen other Catholic clergy were suspended from services while the Archdiocese of Philadelphia investigated past abuse claims against them.
Of that group, McCormick is the only one charged with a crime; however, it is reportedly unrelated to the Archdiocese’s investigation of a 2004 incident involving McCormick about which no information has been made public.
The current charges arose after McCormick’s accuser contacted authorities in 2011, in part due to publicity related to the Jerry Sandusky case. Sandusky, a former assistant football coach at Penn State, was convicted of 45 counts of child sex abuse involving youngsters he lured from a charity called Second Mile.
Supporters of “Father Andy” have said the charges are baseless. In an earlier Star story, one woman commented that Father Andy was a wonderful influence on her and her three brothers.
The accuser was an altar boy when McCormick allegedly invited him to the rectory after a Sunday evening Mass in 1997.
McCormick is free on $150,000 bail and residing at his parents’ home in Pottstown. He voluntarily turned himself over to police in July after charges were filed.
Reporter Sam Newhouse can be reached at 215-354-3124 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.