Northeast Times

Judge sentences priest and former school teacher to prison terms

      A judge today ordered lengthy pris­on terms for a priest and a former Cath­ol­ic school teach­er who were con­victed of mo­lest­ing a 10-year-old boy at St. Jerome's par­ish in the 1990s.

A Phil­adelphia judge today ordered lengthy pris­on terms for a priest and a former Cath­ol­ic school teach­er who were con­victed of mo­lest­ing a 10-year-old boy.

Com­mon Pleas Court Judge El­len Ceisler sen­tenced the Rev. Charles En­gel­hardt to a min­im­um of six years in pris­on. He was sen­tenced to 3 ½ years to sev­en years for en­dan­ger­ing the wel­fare of a child and 2 ½ years to sev­en years for in­de­cent as­sault on a child. Ceisler ordered the sen­tences to be served con­sec­ut­ively.

Former pa­ro­chi­al school teach­er Bern­ard Shero was sen­tenced to eight to 16 years for rape and giv­en the same sen­tence for his con­vic­tion on in­de­cent as­sault charges. The judge ordered the sen­tences to be served con­cur­rently.

In ad­di­tion, he was ordered to serve a sen­tence of 3 ½ years to sev­en years in pris­on for en­dan­ger­ing the wel­fare of a child, to be served con­sec­ut­ive to the first sen­tences.

Both men were ordered to serve five years on pro­ba­tion after re­lease from pris­on.

Be­fore the sen­ten­cing in the packed courtroom, each of them pleaded with the judge for le­ni­ency. They fought back tears as they told of cir­cum­stances in their own lives.

On Jan. 30, both men were con­victed of sexu­ally ab­us­ing the boy at St. Jerome’s par­ish in Holme Circle in the late 1990s.

En­gel­hardt, an Ob­late of St. Fran­cis De­Sales, was ac­cused of as­sault­ing the 10-year-old boy after he caught him sip­ping leftover sac­ra­ment­al wine after a Mass at St. Jerome’s Church.

Pro­sec­utors said Shero, a teach­er at the par­ish school, offered the boy a ride home in his car, and in­stead stopped at Pennypack Park and raped him in a park­ing lot. He then told the boy to walk home, ac­cord­ing to a grand jury re­port.

Shero had faced five counts, and jur­ors found him guilty of all. En­gel­hardt was found guilty on all counts ex­cept one. The jury was un­able to reach a ver­dict on the charge of in­vol­un­tary de­vi­ate sexu­al in­ter­course of a child.

En­gel­hardt was con­victed of en­dan­ger­ing wel­fare of chil­dren, cor­rup­tion of minors, in­de­cent as­sault of a per­son less than 13 years of age and con­spir­acy. But today, the judge va­cated the jury’s de­cision on the con­spir­acy charge, say­ing there was not enough evid­ence to con­vict him of that charge.

Shero was con­victed of rape of a child, in­vol­un­tary de­vi­ate sexu­al in­ter­course with a child, en­dan­ger­ing wel­fare of chil­dren, cor­rup­tion of minors and in­de­cent as­sault of a per­son less than 13 years of age.

Both men had been in jail since the jury an­nounced its ver­dicts. ••

You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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