PHILADELPHIA, March 23 (UPI) -- A former priest admitted Thursday he sexually molested an altar boy at a Philadelphia church and was sentenced to as much as five years in prison.
Edward V. Avery, 69, was scheduled to go to trial Monday with two other priests, the Philadelphia Daily News reported. The case has attracted national attention because one of Avery's co-defendants, Monsignor William J. Lynn, who was formerly in charge of clergy deployment in the Philadelphia Archdiocese, is charged with covering up sexual abuse by other priests.
Avery's plea bargain included a sentence of 2 1/2 to 5 years. It was unclear Thursday whether he agreed to testify against Lynn and the Rev. James J. Brennan.
Avery was defrocked in 2006, 13 years after a medical student charged he had been molested in the 1970s at a parish in suburban Montgomery County. He admitted molesting an altar boy at St. Jerome's in Northeast Philadelphia when he was sent to live there in the 1990s after treatment at a hospital owned by the archdiocese.
Avery, a sometime amateur disc jockey using the name "the smiling padre," said very little during the hearing. He told Common Pleas Judge M. Teresa Sarmina his guilty plea was something he had "discussed and decided to do."