The sex abuse case against Father Charles Engelhardt and former Catholic lay teacher Bernard Shero is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Monday with jury selection on the third floor of the Criminal Justice Center.
Shero and Engelhardt were originally charged along with three other defendants who went on trial last year -- Msgr. William J. Lynn, Father James J. Brennan and Father Edward V. Avery. Avery pleaded guilty on the eve of trial, March 22, 2011, to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a minor and was sentenced to 2 1/2 to 5 years in prison.
Lynn was convicted on June 22 of endangering the welfare of a child for failing to protect a 10-year-old altar boy from Avery; he was sentenced to three to six years in prison.
Shero and Engelhardt are both charged with abusing the same former 10-year-old altar boy who was the victim in the previous trial. The case against Shero and Engelhardt was postponed since last September.
The same jury that convicted Msgr. Lynn deadlocked on two charges against Father James J. Brennan, so that case is scheduled to be retried in March.
The judge in the Lynn case, M. Teresa Sarmina, has gone back to homicide court. "You won't have me to kick around any more," she told this reporter. Judge Ellen Ceisler will preside over the Shero-Engelhardt case.
Although Judge Sarmina won't be back, this reporter will be around to blog the Engelhardt-Shero trial starting Monday. Look for the stories, however, at a different place: Philadelphia Priest Abuse Trial Blog, also sponsored by The Beasley Firm. Please feel free check out the site.