Northeast Times

New trial date for priest

Start­Frag­ment

Two men sched­uled to go on tri­al last week in the arch­dioces­an sex scan­dal in­stead got a new court date and a new judge.

Deaths in the fam­ily of Mi­chael McGov­ern, who rep­res­ents the Rev. Charles En­gel­hardt, forced post­pone­ment of the tri­al to Oct. 22, said Tasha Jamer­son, spokes­wo­man for the dis­trict at­tor­ney’s of­fice.

En­gel­hardt, an Ob­late of St. Fran­cis De­Sales, had been sched­uled to go on tri­al Sept. 4 with Bern­ard Shero, who had been a lay teach­er at St. Jerome’s par­ish school in the North­east. Both men are charged with mo­lest­ing the same St. Jerome par­ish al­tar boy in the late 1990s.

Shero and En­gel­hardt were ar­res­ted in Feb­ru­ary 2011 along with Monsignor Wil­li­am Lynn, the Rev. James Bren­nan and former priest Ed­ward Avery. All five had been sched­uled to be tried to­geth­er be­fore Com­mon Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina in late March of this year, but Shero’s and En­gel­hardt’s cases were sep­ar­ated and their tri­als were set to start right after the Labor Day week­end.

Be­fore the March 26 tri­al began for Avery, Lynn and Bren­nan, Avery pleaded guilty to mo­lest­ing the same boy who al­legedly was En­gel­hardt’s and Shero’s vic­tim.

Avery was sen­tenced to two and a half to five years in pris­on and might be a wit­ness in Shero and En­gel­hardt’s up­com­ing tri­al, Jamer­son said Monday.

Lynn, who was nev­er ac­cused of touch­ing a child, was found guilty of child en­dan­ger­ment June 22 for al­low­ing Avery to con­tin­ue in his min­istry and have con­tact with minors even though Lynn had known the man was a mo­lester. He was found in­no­cent of the same charge in re­gard to Bren­nan and also ac­quit­ted of con­spir­acy.

Jur­ors couldn’t reach a de­cision on at­temp­ted rape and child en­dan­ger­ment charges against Bren­nan. He will be re­tried in March.

Sarmina, who usu­ally presides over murder tri­als, has too much on her sched­ule to con­tin­ue on the bench in the Shero and En­gel­hardt case. Com­mon Pleas Court Judge El­len Ceisler will take over when the tri­al be­gins next month. ••End­Frag­ment 

You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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