Priest, teacher guilty of molesting boy

Jan. 31, 2013 at 1:01 AM
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PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- A Catholic priest and a former parochial school teacher Wednesday were convicted in Philadelphia of molesting an altar boy in the late 1990s.

The Rev. Charles Engelhardt, 66, and Bernard Shero, 49, were jailed immediately after the verdict, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Sentencing was scheduled for April 18, and both face decades in prison.

Jurors began deliberations Friday. After about 20 hours, they convicted Shero of rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, child endangerment, corruption of a minor and indecent assault, and Engelhardt of child endangerment, corruption of a minor, indecent assault and conspiracy.

District Attorney Seth Williams said the defense "tried to victimize and demonize the victim," who is now 24.

Shero and Engelhardt were indicted in 2011 with two other priests, Edward Avery and James J. Brennan, and Monsignor William Lynn, who was charged with covering for abusive priests while he was secretary of clergy in the Philadelphia archdiocese. Lynn, now in prison, is the first Catholic official to be found guilty of trying to hide abuse, Avery pleaded guilty and testified against Engelhardt and Shero, while a jury was unable to reach a verdict on Brennan, who is scheduled to be retried.

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