As I have mentioned before, John Doe 10 had difficulties with coming forth with his story of abuse. It was difficult to tell his family, it was difficult to tell me, his attorney, and it was difficult to report the abuses to the police and District Attorney’s office. Perhaps it got easier with each telling; I’m not really sure. But when he was finally ready to bring his lawsuit and “get his life back” as he told me so many times, I assured him he was doing the right thing not only for himself, but also for the countless other survivors out there, known and unknown, and some yet to be. That proved to be correct. Since the lawsuit was filed on February 14, 2011, dozens of other survivors have come forward and from all over the United States. In addition, we discovered some survivors had been abused by the same priest. Others, contrary to the recent John Jay Report conclusions that this crisis is “just another example of the wayward 60’s counter culture, were abused in the early 1950’s. That same priest who abused children from the 1950’s until as late as 1993 based on survivors who came forward, only stopping his abuse when he finally died in 2007. [Read more…]
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court reinstated the conviction on child endangerment charges of a priest in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
Monsignor William Lynn, the first U.S. church official ever prosecuted over his handling of sex abuse complaints, had been freed of those charges by a 2013 appeals court ruling that overturned an earlier conviction. Lynn had served half of a three- to six- year sentence, and remained under house arrest in a Philadelphia rectory.
The Supreme Court, voting 4 to 1, on Monday upheld the 2012 felony conviction for endangerment of an altar boy. The child had been abused in 1998 by a priest transferred to a parish by Lynn despite earlier complaints against the priest who is now serving prison time. Lynn’s lawyers argued that Lynn, who was secretary for the clergy in the diocese under two cardinals, including Anthony Bevilacqua from 1992 to 2004, was not responsible for the boy’s welfare under existing state law that they said applied to parents and caregivers. [Read more…]
The Use of Pseudonyms in Civil Suits Over Sexual Abuse by Dan Monahan
After litigating numerous cases involving the sexual abuse of children by clergy within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, I encountered a procedural matter that was of great concern to many of my client, and one that had no real way of dealing with it within the Pennsylvania or Philadelphia Rules of Civil Procedure.
Therefore, I decided to write an article which was published by The Legal Intelligencer, the oldest legal publication in the United States and the primary source of legal news within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In the article I outline the difficulties and hurdles that lawyers face when dealing the the sensitive nature of these matters and the plaintiffs’ desire for privacy.
The article calls upon the Court to consider codifying the Rules of Civil Procedure to bring clarity to an important aspect of filing these cases. [Read more…]
A state Superior Court panel upheld this week the prison sentences of a Catholic priest and former parochial-school teacher convicted of sexually abusing a 10-year-old altar boy from Northeast Philadelphia.
The Rev. Charles Engelhardt and Bernard Shero, a former St. Jerome teacher, were sentenced by a Common Pleas Court judge in June 2013 for abuse that occurred in the late 1990s.
Their lawyers appealed, contending prosecutorial misconduct and citing new evidence.
Engelhardt died Nov. 15, 2014, just weeks after his appeal was heard. He was sentenced to six to 12 years in prison for child endangerment, corruption of a minor, and indecent assault. Prosecutors said Engelhardt offered Communion wine to the boy, forced him to disrobe, and assaulted him at the church’s sacristy.
Shero was convicted of rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, child endangerment, corruption of a minor, and indecent assault. He was sentenced to eight to 16 years in prison.
He provided the same victim a ride home after school, prosecutors said, but instead took him to a secluded parking lot and raped him in 2000.
If you or someone you know or loved has been sexually abused by clergy, you should contact us immediately. There are time limits to file your claim. Dan Monahan has consulted with hundreds of victims and invites you to call for a FREE, CONFIDENTIAL CONSULTATION. 610-363-3888
In a continuing update of the numerous clergy sexual abuse cases filed against the Philadelphia Archdiocese, attorney Daniel F. Monahan reported the level of activity in the pending litigation before the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia. [Read more…]