A Philadelphia jury convicted a priest and a parochial teacher in a sexual-abuse case that rattled the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and forged the way for felony convictions of church leaders accused of suppressing abuse allegations.
The verdict was the culmination of a case that hinged on the testimony of a 24-year-old man, called "Billy Doe" in a 2011 grand jury report. He came forward after years of silence to report the sexual abuse he suffered as an altar boy in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Billy’s account – that he was abused by two priests and a teacher – helped form the case against Msgr. William J. Lynn, the first Roman Catholic church official convicted of a felony for covering up sex-abuse allegations. Edward Avery, one of the priests, already was serving 2½ to 5 years in prison for sexually assaulting the victim.
After three days of deliberations, a jury Wednesday convicted the other priest, the Rev. Charles Engelhardt, and teacher Bernard Shero, said Frank Keel, a spokesman for Philadelphia's court system.