Priest, teacher convicted in abuse case
by Jen Colletta
Jan 31, 2013 | 619 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A jury this week delivered guilty verdicts in the sex-abuse cases against an Archdiocesan priest and a former teacher.

After four days of deliberating, a jury late Wednesday found the Rev. Charles Engelhardt guilty of indecent assault, corruption of a minor and conspiracy and Bernard Shero guilty of indecent assault, rape, attempted rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, endangering the welfare of a child and corruption of a minor.

The two men sexually abused the same boy, a student and altar boy at St. Jerome’s in the Northeast, between 1998-2000.

The jury deadlocked on a charge of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse against Engelhardt.

The two men will be sentenced April 18. Engelhardt faces up to 37 years in prison and Shero up to 57.

Attorneys for both men said they plan to appeal.

Judge Ellen Ceisler revoked bail for both upon the announcement of the verdict and they were taken into custody.

The two were part of a wider grand-jury indictment handed down in February 2011. Also included in that indictment were the Rev. James Brennan and defrocked priest Edward Avery, both accused of sexual abuse, and Monsignor William Lynn, accused of covering up instances of abuse.

This past summer, Lynn, who was responsible for investigating sex-abuse claims under the late Archbishop Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, became the first high-ranking Catholic official convicted in connection with covering up priest sex abuse. A jury deadlocked on the charges against Brennan, who will be retried this year.

Avery was accused of abusing the same boy as Shero and Engelhardt and pleaded guilty shortly before the trial. He is serving up to five years in prison.

Avery testified during Engelhardt and Shero’s trial that he did not actually commit the abuse he was accused of, but rather took the plea deal to avoid a longer sentence.

Lynn’s attorneys said Avery’s assertion will provide the basis for a renewed attempt for bail for Lynn, who is serving up to six years.

The man who says he was abused by Avery, Engelhardt and Shero, now 24, testified during the nine-day trial that the incidents, that occurred when he was 10 and 11, led him to years of drug abuse, which defense attorneys argued made him an unreliable witness.

In a statement Wednesday, District Attorney Seth Williams commented the victim, saying he “has shown exception courage.”

“Not only did he have the strength to report his abuse, he had the tenacity to look his abusers in the eye and testify in front of complete strangers about the horrific details of his attacks,” Williams continued. “I hope this verdict will help him to continue with the long journey of healing that comes after such trauma.”

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