Contrary to popular belief, Father Andrew McCormick was never suspended by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for sexual misconduct. The priest also passed a lie detector test.
So wrote Trevan Borum, the priest's defense lawyer, in a motion for mistrial filed during Father Andy's second criminal trial that ended March 11th with a hung jury. At the time the motion for a mistrial was filed, the case was under a gag order.
The defense lawyer's claim about the priest's suspension contradicts what was said about Father Andy at trial by a key prosecution witness as well as the prosecutor. It also contradicts a Philadelphia Daily News story.
The defense lawyer's claim about Father Andy passing a lie detector test contradicts a civil lawsuit filed July 10th against the priest by the alleged victim in the criminal case.
When asked for comment, Borum would only say, "I was disappointed that the rules of fair play meant nothing when trying to convict a priest by any means necessary."
A spokesperson for the district attorney's office did not respond to a request for comment.
On Feb. 27, at Father Andy's second criminal trial, the alleged victim's father testified he saw on a TV news report in 2011 that Father Andy was one of 21 priests suspended by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
Later that same year, the son, a former altar boy, sent a text to his father at 3 a.m. explaining that "Father Andy molested me . . . That is the root of my problems."
"I was in shock," the father told the jury.
After the jury left the courtroom for the day, defense attorney Borum said he wanted to put something on the record.
Borum began shouting at Assistant District Attorney Kristen Kemp. The defense lawyer accused the prosecutor of implying while she was questioning the alleged victim's father that Father Andy had been suspended by the archdiocese for sex abuse.
His 2011 suspension had "absolutely nothing" to do with molestation, Borum protested loudly.
Oh yes it did, the assistant district attorney responded, her voice rising.
Judge Gwendolyn N. Bright dressed down both lawyers.
"I'm not going to have any of this," she said. The judge stated that she wouldn't allow her courtroom to be turned into a circus. Then she agreed to take the dispute to the privacy of the judge's chambers where we never heard what happened after that.
According to the motion for mistrial filed during trial, "It is established beyond question that Defendant was not placed on leave based as the result of allegations of sexual misconduct," Borum wrote.
In a footnote, Borum wrote, "Counsel for the Government knows full well that there exists no prior complaints of sexual contact with minors against Father McCormick. At the first trial, and in open Court outside the presence of the jury, Counsel for the government falsely claimed Defendant had failed a polygraph test concerning sexual abuse of minors," Borum wrote.
"In fact, a cautionary instruction was read to the jury based on this misrepresentation," Borum wrote. "At the time that statement was made, Counsel for the government knew, or should have known, that statement was false."
"Despite the fact that there was a gag order in place, the press heard this false allegation, which may have led to the false report in the Daily News article," Borum wrote.
The Feb. 27th Daily News story stated that "the Archdiocese of Philadelphia placed McCormick on administrative leave in March 2011 in response to allegations of sexual misconduct with minors."
The motion does not state what the priest was suspended for. In an email, Borum said the priest wasn't suspended, he was placed on administrative leave. He did not say why.
"Both the assigned investigator and the individual administering the polygraph test were retired FBI agents with over 30 years of experience," Borum wrote. "Defendant is unaware if counsel for the government has any experience in interpreting polygraph results."
"These bad faith claims in both the first trial and in the instant trial cannot be considered harmless," Borum wrote. "They were intentional and designed to insure that Defendant does not receive a fair trial."
The district attorney had charged Father Andy with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault, endangering the welfare of a child, indecent assault of a child, and corrupting the morals of a minor.
But the priest turned down that deal as well, saying I can't plead guilty because that would be a lie; I'm innocent.
The jury came and said they were hopelessly deadlocked. It was the second time a criminal trial of Father Andy had ended in a deadlock. The D.A. then announced they would not try Father Andy a second time.
On July 10th, the alleged victim filed a civil suit against Father Andy.