TribLIVE

| USWorld


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Ex-Philly priest denies raping son of officer

About The Tribune-Review
The Tribune-Review can be reached via e-mail or at 412-321-6460.
Contact Us | Video | Photo Reprints

Daily Photo Galleries


By The Associated Press

Published: Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013, 10:08 p.m.

PHILADELPHIA — An imprisoned ex-priest at the center of a landmark Roman Catholic priest-abuse case testified on Thursday that he pleaded guilty to a sexual assault he didn't commit.

Edward Avery, 70, admitted to an earlier abuse complaint, but he said he never had any contact with the accuser in an ongoing criminal trial. He said he took a plea deal in which he admitted assaulting the man because he didn't want to risk a longer sentence if convicted at trial.

Asked if he raped the 24-year-old policeman's son, Avery said: “I did not. So help me God.”

The same man claims he was raped by Avery, the Rev. Charles Engelhardt and ex-teacher Bernard Shero, starting when he was a 10-year-old altar boy in 1999.

Engelhardt and Shero are fighting the charges at trial, which is expected to last into next week. Avery's testimony could bolster their defense if jurors believe him over the accuser, a longtime heroin addict who testified Wednesday.

But in questioning by prosecutors, Avery conceded that an admission would hurt him in the accuser's civil lawsuit and perhaps subject him to harassment in prison as an admitted child molester.

A jury last year convicted Monsignor William Lynn, 62, of child endangerment for placing Avery in a parish despite the earlier sex-abuse complaint. Lynn, who served as secretary for clergy at the Philadelphia archdiocese from 1992 to 2004, called it an oversight and apologized to the policeman's son on the witness stand.

Avery's surprise plea on the eve of Lynn's trial changed the dynamics of the case. Lynn's lawyers had hoped to challenge the accuser's credibility, given his drug use and criminal history, and the varying accounts he has given about the abuse.

But Lynn's attorneys decided not to cross-examine him. If they had, jurors would have learned about Avery's guilty plea.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Nation

  1. Authorities say they have trove of evidence against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in Boston Marathon bombing
  2. Subsitute for Pap smear scorned; overtreatment cited
  3. Court upholds EPA emissions restrictions
  4. Bankrupt Detroit, retired cops, fire crews agree to deal that saves pensions
  5. New York Police Department disbands controversial unit that tracked Muslims
  6. T. rex gets the red-carpet treatment at Smithsonian
  7. Public employees union fights outside IRS collectors
  8. Additional sanctions possible against Russia
  9. Study says regular pot use affects the brain
  10. Somber Boston marks first anniversary of marathon bombing
  11. Storms rips up Mississippi RV park
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.