Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Jury Wants A Read Back On Alleged Victim's Testimony

By Ralph Cipriano
for Bigtrial.net

The jury in the Father Andrew McCormick sex abuse case asked for a read back on the alleged victim's direct testimony, as well as his cross-examination.

On their third day of deliberations, the jury also asked the judge to repeat her instructions on how to deal with the alleged victim's testimony against "Father Andy."

The testimony amounted to some 100 pages from the alleged victim's hour on the witness stand. Assistant District Attorney Kristen Kemp volunteered to read the testimony to the jury, but defense attorney William J. Brennan didn't think that was such a great idea.

"I think we would have an objection on that," Brennan told Judge Gwendolyn N. Bright.

After a visit to the judge's chambers, the lawyers agreed to have the court stenographer do the reading beginning tomorrow at 9:30 a.m.

After the court stenographer gets through reading the alleged victim's testimony, the judge will read the charges against Father Andy. The 57-year-old priest has five charges against him: involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault, endangering the welfare of a child, indecent assault of a child, and corrupting the morals of a minor.

Obviously the jury is deadlocked on some issues, and maybe the read back on the testimony and the read back on the charge will settle some back room arguments.

The alleged victim was in the courtroom when the judge addressed the jury. He was accompanied by his parents and grandfather, a retired detective. Father McCormick was accompanied by three priests and a group of parishioners from St. John Cantius. The Polish ethnic church in the Bridesburg section of the city is where the crimes against the victim allegedly took place 17 years ago, when the victim was a 10-year-old altar boy.

The jury got a late start today on their third day of deliberations. They had to wait for the tardy arrival of one juror who according to the courthouse rumor mill apparently overslept.

On a warm Spring-like day, jurors were observed taking two long smoking breaks in front of the Marriott Hotel, which sits across the street from the Criminal Justice Center.

When the judge dismissed the jurors for the evening, she cautioned them to ignore any media reports on the trial, and to avoid going on the internet to do any investigating of their own.

"Enjoy your evening," the judge said.


  1. I'll repeat myself, but, again, this looks like a replay of the Engelhardt-Shero jury.

    This sure looks like a jury looking to justify guilty verdicts, which is exactly the *opposite* of the way juries are supposed to deliberate.

    Again, all assumptions about criminal trials are thrown out the window when a Catholic priest is the defendant.

    And as I said in my previous comment in the previous post, this case underscores how *nearly impossible* it is for one to defend oneself against charges alleging events from so long ago.

    Again, watching this from a distance ... The odds are not in the favor of Father Andy.
    But I hope I'm wrong.

    - DPierre

    1. Dave, I'm afraid you're right.

      The publication of the last (flawed) Grand Jury Report, Sarmina's self-serving and outrageous interpretation of the EWOC statute and the baseless convictions of Father Engelhardt and Bernie Shero have set the stage - I fear - for the unjust convictions of other priests. Talk about a slippery slope.

      In the interest of fairness, if the court stenographer is going to read back the alleged victim's entire, tearful testimony, should not the defense have the option to have the testimony of Father Andy's witnesses also 'read in'?

      For that matter, who not review ALL the testimony? Should not the jurors have been paying attention during the trial??

      'When the judge dismissed the jurors for the evening, she cautioned them to ignore any media reports on the trial, and to avoid going on the internet to do any investigating of their own. "Enjoy your evening," the judge said.

      Does the N in her middle name stand for Notso?

  2. Odds could be in favor of Father Andy, Fact they want a read over of the victim's testimony is to reconcile among themselves differences in interpretation of the testimony. All that is on the most serious charge against Father Andy in which the judge refused to drop.

    Hopefully they will see the futility of the words uttered by the victim as he was the only one alone with Father Andy when the alleged incidents happened. Why didn't he scream and run away as there were others in the house who would have heard the commotion.

    Still the State Legislature is to be held responsible for what happened to Father Andy as they extended the statute of limitations to allow the victim to file criminal charges against the priest. How can the State Legislature fix a mess of a justice that is happening right now in court/

    DPierre said it well about how impossible it is for a Catholic priest to get some justice in court if tried by a jury of people biased in thought against the priest because of what others did decades ago.

    Better is expected from this jury tomorrow. If they cannot get to a verdict then it will be a hung jury and the DA has the option of retrying the priest. Given this person masquerading as a DA, how can we expect him to be fair and impartial?

    If I were a Common Pleas judge, I wuold sidetrack the trial by dismissing the most serious charge against Father Andy and let the chips fall on the remaining charges which do not merit prison time.

    This charade of a trial has to end. And the DA needs to assume responsibility for hosting this farce of a trial in a city where the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights were born.

  3. What an absolute farce. The jury have no idea what this priest is supposed to have done. No doubt there are a couple of hold-out bigots who want to find this guy guilty - to pay for all those terrible crimes committed by all those terrible priests by that terrible Church. The Big Bad Wolf is still being hunted in the judicial backwater that is Philadelphia.
    Crocodile tears and kangaroo courts. Fairy tales and brown paper envelopes. The members of the justice system in corrupt ole Philly are beneath contempt. Jury members, scum will always rise. We're watching you. Remember, you can run but you can't hide.

    1. Gotta love the complete hypocracy...make sure when others not wearing a white collar are accused...you are as quick to throw legal standards around like " innocent until proven guilty"...common sense tells me that when you read a news article about someone accused of something as dispicable and heinous as abusing a child on down to petty crimes....your reaction is "whew...I'm glad they got that guy".....something tells me your reaction may be reserved for a select few..not all

  4. Interesting that Philly.com has got a black-out on this. Why? Remember when an alternate juror almost blew the whole charade open with his online comments at the last kangaroo court in Philadelphia - when Billy Doe's lies were embraced by a jury of cretins.

  5. Get a life!!! What kind of people are you? That court room was filled with the pain of the victim! This man was suspended after failing two lie detector tests when asked if he ever touched childrens genitals...I know, I know! Not held up in the court of law..It's to most peoples understanding that you can beat a lie detector! It's almost impossible to FAIL TWICE when you are telling the truth! Anyone who sat there and listened the entire time knows the truth! He did it! Thats why this is so hard for them!! They know he did it! And the fact that the victim told 2 other young friends as he grew?? I guess he was just this child prodigy planning this conspiracy from the age of 10... Even Brennan said it! His witnesses were completely truthful!

    1. I hope everybody reads this comment.

      It is a classic "guilty-until-proven-guiltier" view of clergy abuse.

    2. Polygraphs were not "failed" they were resulted inconclusive for the record.

  6. For all of you self-proclaimed Catholics, shame on you for attacking this young man. Even if you do not believe that this happened (which is your right) weren't you taught to love those who have sinned against us? Nuns and priests and fellow Catholics dirty looking a family and victim...clearly in PAIN. Disgusting!! No one is verbally attacking the Father Andy who abused little boys, namely this young man, in fact I am praying for Father Andy and all of his victims, because you can be sure there are many not brave enough to withstand what you so-called Catholics are commenting and I hope that Father Andy will be found guily so that he never has the opportunity to hurt anyone else. Shame on you and may Justice prevail.

    1. "No one is verbally attacking the Father Andy who abused little boys."

      You're kidding, right?

    2. so I must assume by your tirade above you were there in the rectory that day, or you have a videotape of the act that is the subject of this prosecution. I didn't see you testify for the accuser/prosecution nor present your video as concrete evidence in that courtroom last week. I didn't see any mention of any physical evidence or even any mention of one of those"drug counselors" who might in same way attempt to corroborate this so called victim's story of attempted abuse at the hands of this priest.

      So we are to simply believe the word of another drug addict, because drug addicts never lie or steal, no, rather we should all accept without question the theory that they are trustworthy members of our society to be totally believed no matter what the storyline is.

      Unfortunately for Engelhardt and Shero in their trial, Ceisler refused to allow specific testimony to be given to the jurors during their deliberations and instead directed they use the powers of "total recall" of the more than 2 weeks of testimony that had been presented during a much longer trial.

      Finally, I am not sure this re-reading of the 100 pages of testimony will prove beneficial to McCormick but at least it gives us a glance at an impartial judge, which was sorely lacking in the Lynn and Engelhardt/Shero trials.

    3. The young man has been clean for over a year. He has continuously been drug tested but I'm glad your ignorance is prevailing through not knowing your facts.

    4. I am truly glad that the young man has been clean and sober for over a year. What this means, however, is that at the time he made the accusation against Fr. Andy this young man was still under the influence of drugs. Therefore, is it not possible that this accusation is the product of a delusional drug addicted mind? I certainly think so.

      There simply is no evidence against this priest. Quite to the contrary, we've heard the testimony of several young men who spoke glowingly of this priest. It appears that such positive testimony amounts to nothing in the minds of those who simply wish to believe every accusation which is made against any priest.

    5. To ANONYMOUS 3:58PM the alleged victim admitted to being at the "peak" of his drug and alcohol abuse when these allegations were brought to the media, i mean court. He also said it was his "sober time". This was his testmony!!! Which one was it? Same question as were his clothes on or off? We should ask his grandfather who "summarized" key details.

    6. When he went to court he was sober, that night of his first trial was when he started using drugs again which makes sense when someone has the inability of coping with stressful situations they tend to return to familiar habits.

    7. So Sally doe is back on drugs? See the good support he stated to have is working

    8. Not back on drugs, he's sober now. Has been for nearly a year.

  7. Yes, we can agree on that: may justice, not bigotry, prevail.
    "..abused little boys"?? There is only ONE from the hundreds of altar boys with whom Father Andy had daily contact who has taken it upon himself to present a false accusation against the priest. Not one other allegation. You think a child abuser limits himself to ONE victim?? Open your eyes. We know from child abuse which is rampant in families (including in Philadelphia) that one victim is never enough; as we know it from public schools, Jewish religious communities, Protestant churches and the Scouts.
    Anon 9:10am - you're comical. Talk about desperate to find "evidence." It's not there. It's just not there.

    1. That's what that person said..Yea ONE that we know of ... Open your Polish eyes..Funny how one of the boys FORCED by the court to testify for Andrew can remember nothing about his trip to Poland but that he was given alcohol...And you know damn well had he passed any lie detector tests that would have slipped in there.. That wasnt the case though...Brennan even had to lie about the suspension in the closing..Scratched from the record though.. Caught!

    2. Funny how he could remember being given alcohol and beer but not any other specifics like sleeping arrangements? His family is very pro Father Andy. It's a shame that if he is a victim, he obviously isn't in a situation to express it. Ralph, you were in the courtroom the day Phil testified. What was is body language like? Did he seem to be hesitant about answering questions?

    3. I guess only one victim doesn't count then, you get a judicial Freebe? You're disgusting

    4. Anon at 4:02: What a foolish statement you've made. Of course, any victim is one too many. The point that you've missed is that pedophiles are predators who are continually on the prowl to harm the young. Despite Seth Williams statement at the time of Fr. Andy's arrest which commended the alleged victim and called for the other "victims" of Fr. Andy to come forward, NO ONE has done so despite the fact that this priest's name and face has been plastered all over the city.

      For 14 years he served in the same parish, supervised 700 boys over that time period and NO ONE else has made a complaint. I simply cannot account for the hatred which so many exhibit toward the Catholic Church and her clergy except to attribute that hate to demonic influence. (Those who don't believe in the devil or who think that the Catholic Church is the devil need not respond. I am already familiar with your arguments.)

    5. You made the mistake to think I am against the Catholic Church which isn't true, you're bringing up an argument that doesn't exist there.

    6. Don't you dare suggest that Phil is a victim. You don't know him.

  8. We see anonymous at 7:42 give a new excuse blaming the State Legislature for the reason why fr. andy is sitting where he is now. Another excuse that can be sent to David Letterman's top 10 list of the foolish excuses that come out of the church.

    However, does anonymous fail to know he/she is the one who voted in changing those sol laws by either voting in or failing to vote out the person who he/she gave permission for them to speak on his/her behalf ? I WOULD LIKE TO SAY THANK YOU.

    So this person is not in the dark about what the future holds. I guess it will o.k. to tell him the actions of many are looking forward to see happening. The first being a event that will happen once a year on Halloween night known as "Raper Roundup". A event that would incarcerate all sexual offenders for the night who are still on parole. This is something that is in place in some police departments across the country.

    The removal of ALL sol's like it is in murder cases.

    .....and in the worst cases of sexual abuse such as an attack on a infant, repeat offender, will be the ultimate punishment of death. A petition that is already circling to begin its start.

  9. http://www.petition2congress.com/2259/death-penalty-child-molesters/view/5

  10. I think Dave Pierre of The Media Report has gotten it wrong like he has done so many other times on his own site.

    Dave reported twice he felt since the majority of the jury are women it would be an automatic guilty verdict for McCormick if they see the tears of the mother.

    Wrong again Dave. I see a jury made up of both men and women. They are asking questions and they want to hear testimony re-read. Something you see and hear in a lot of criminal cases.

    No one is out to get your church Dave.

    This jury deserves an apology from you.

    If not GRADE F

  11. It is outrageous and un-American that a claimant, from a dysfunctional family life and with 15 years of drug abuse and lying defining his very existence to date, is able to risk the freedom of a man with no history of claim-related problems (admissible in court) simply on this troubled claimants word. When did the integrity of the claimant, whose felony accusation relies solely on his word (character!), cease to matter in our justice system? Replace this priest with any politically-protected class and then test how far this case would get had it not involved a Catholic priest.

    The monster that the pitchfork and torch crowd create today in their irrational zeal to persecute Catholics will certainly come knocking on their own (or their descendants) doors, soon, one day - you may bank on that as a fact. Another fine example of your astoundingly ignorant short-sightedness is the unconstitutional law-breaking by the current US Administration. Are you all so naïve as to think that the next resident of that office will not conduct business similarly- this time against your own secular social and political interests?

    You make your own beds today in which you and/or your offspring will suffer tomorrow. We will hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth that day as your wrongs of today are righted.

    God will have it no other way.

    1. Lying? And how would you know this? You only see what the media reports about the victim also. In result, your bias presumes unqualified assumptions and illogical rebuttals. God will have it no other way if the priest did in fact molest the boy, his family is still very much religious and a common thread between these online commenters is that this family is against the Catholic Church. Maybe the family is just trying to right a wrong that occurred in the past considering they still in fact go to church.



Thoughtful commentary welcome. Trolling, harassing, and defaming not welcome. Consistent with 47 U.S.C. 230, we have the right to delete without warning any comments we believe are obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.