Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Father Andy's Big Gamble Pays Off

By Ralph Cipriano

Before he went to trial a second time, Father Andrew McCormick had a big decision to make.

The D.A., according to sources, was offering a pretty sweet deal. If Father Andy pleaded guilty to all the charges, he would be put on probation for five years and not have to serve a day of jail time. He would, however, have to register as a sex offender under Megan's Law.

As a Roman Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing a 10-year-old altar boy, Father Andy's chances of beating the rap looked pretty grim. If convicted on five sex charges, the 59-year-old priest was facing a prison term of 25 to 50 years, meaning he was going to die in jail.

According to sources, Father Andy turned down the deal, saying he was innocent and that his fate was in God's hands. No wonder Father Andy and his supporters, which included a couple of nuns, were often seen in the hallway outside the courtroom praying the rosary.

Today, the second trial of Father Andy wound up just like the first, with a hung jury. Just as she did on March 12, 2014, Judge Gwendolyn N. Bright had to declare a mistrial after a jury announced it was hopelessly deadlocked. Last year, the jury deadlocked after 4 1/2 days of deliberations. This time, one day short of a full year later, the jury deadlocked after three full days of deliberations.

The judge also announced that she was keeping in place a suffocating gag order for another 30 days, to give the district attorney time to decide whether to retry Father Andy a third time.

Is anybody really up for that? There were a few early signs that the answer might be no.

On Tuesday, the jury sent the judge a note saying they were at an impasse. That prompted the D.A. to sweeten the offer to Father Andy. If the priest would plead guilty to a single charge of corrupting the morals of a minor, according to sources, he was looking at no jail time, four years probation, and he wouldn't even have to register as a sex offender under Megan's Law.

But, according to sources, the priest turned down that deal as well, saying I can't plead guilty because that would be a lie; I'm innocent.

Today after lunch, the jury that had been impasse asked the judge for a read back on the testimony of the alleged victim. Specifically, the jury wanted to know whether the alleged victim's "clothes came off during the incident," the judge said.

The judge had the court reporter read back the testimony.

Once again, the jury heard the details of the alleged crime. How, 18 years ago, in 1997, the priest allegedly lured the 10-year-old altar boy up to his room in the rectory at St. John Cantius Church. Then, after he locked the door, the priest allegedly attacked.

Father Andy allegedly groped the altar boy's genitals and buttocks while he "helped me undress and he undressed too," the alleged victim testified on direct.

"His stomach was right up against my face," the alleged victim said. He watched as the priest slowly unbuttoned 32 buttons on his black cassock. Then, according to the alleged victim, the priest exposed himself and twice tried to jam his penis past the altar boy's clenched teeth.

On cross-examination, the alleged victim had to admit that in 2011, when he gave his first statement about the alleged crime to his grandfather, a retired detective, he said the priest "took off my boxer shorts."

When the alleged victim gave a subsequent statement to a detective from the district attorney's office, however, he claimed that the priest took off all his clothes but left the boy's boxer shorts on.

On cross-examination, defense lawyer Trevan Borum reminded the alleged victim that before the priest supposedly attacked, the altar boy recalled eating two cookies, right?

"Correct," the alleged victim testified.

And you remembered what type of cookies they were, Borum said, namely, two vanilla-flavored, cream-filled cookies, right?

"Correct," the alleged victim testified.

And you also remembered drinking a Dr. Pepper, right?

"Correct," the alleged victim testified.

Well if you could remember those kind of details, Borum said, shouldn't you remember whether the priest took your boxer shorts off or not?

"I was nervous," the alleged victim testified. He said he didn't recall telling his grandfather that the priest took off his boxers shorts.

"It was my grandfather," the alleged victim testified on cross-examination. "I was a little boy."

At the defense table, Father Andy stared straight ahead. In the second row of the courtroom, the alleged victim, a tearful, 27-year-old gay man, was sitting next to his grandfather, watching the replay.

For a jury already at impasse was this conflict in the testimony proof of reasonable doubt? It sure looked it.

By 4 p.m., after hearing the read back on testimony, the jury was back in front of the judge saying they remained hopelessly deadlocked.

The judge asked if jurors were confused on any points of law that she could explain to them.

"No," the foreman said.

The judge asked if there was any chance that further deliberations would result in a unanimous verdict.

"No," the foreman said.

The judge declared a mistrial. She asked the jury foreman to stand and give the result of the jury's deliberations on each of the five charges.

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.

On each count, the jury foreman said, "No verdict."

The judge asked the prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Kristen Kemp, if the D.A.'s office had decided whether to retry the case.

A year ago when the judge asked that same question, Assistant District Attorney Kemp's immediate response was, "Yes, Your Honor."

This time around, Assistant District Attorney Kemp said her office would need 30 days to make that decision.

As the protagonists filed out of court, nobody looked happy with the results of a case where everybody lost.

Father Andy's career as a priest may be over, but he looked relieved that he wasn't going to jail.

Because of the gag order, he couldn't talk to reporters. Neither could his lawyer nor any of the members of Father Andy's loyal support group.

Before the accusation against Father Andy became public in 2011 the priest had been pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Swedesburg, Montgomery County, since 2004. Then, because of concerns raised in a 2011 grand jury report, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia placed the priest on administrative leave. At the time, D.A. Seth Williams said at a press conference that Father Andy had been suspended because of a boundary violation dating back to 2004.

The priest remains on administrative leave, meaning he can't administer the sacraments publicly or present himself as a priest in good standing. The archdiocese didn't contribute a dollar to Father Andy's defense, leaving the priest and his family to fend for themselves.

In the hallway outside the courtroom, after a private huddle with the prosecutor, the mother of the alleged victim hugged a relative. The big question out there was whether the family would be willing to endure the rigors of a third trial.

"Pop," the retired detective who took the first statement from his grandson, looked tired and disappointed. But because of the gag order, he too left the Criminal Justice Center without being able to say a word.

Ralph Cipriano can be reached at


  1. A+, Ralph.

    Great reporting.

    - DPierre

  2. Once again - excellent, high quality, impartial reporting!

    Joe Burch

    1. Mistrial does not even make the front page of the (inky) website

  3. "That prompted the D.A. to sweeten the offer. If Father Andy was willing to plead guilty today to a charge of corrupting the morals of a minor, according to sources, he was looking at no jail time, four years of probation, and he wouldn't even have to register as a sex offender under Megan's Law."

    And, there it all is in a nutshell- a numbers game for the prosecutors office that would have been thrilled to get their conviction, even if it meant permitting an evil 'child rapist' go free and unencumbered - to 'rape' again.

  4. Since the DA was desperately looking for something he could show to the taxpayers who funded these two trials, as a last resort, I wonder why he didn't offer plea bargains for either jaywalking or disturbing the peace.

    Wonder when he's going to go after Sorensen for her 'intellectually dishonest' Grand Jury Report which is still circulating through cyberspace.

  5. Finally, jurors with a just mind and good conscience.....

    1. Um, there were jurors who wanted to send McCormick away for life.

    2. Is this pops talking?

  6. Ralph - Did any of the jurors speak to the media after the mistrial? would be interested to see what they had to say of the trial.

    1. Yo dumbass read. Jurors are on a 30 day gag order.

    2. I don't think so. There's also a gag order to worry about. And whatever the judge may have privately told the jury.

  7. Here's hoping the D.A.'s office decides to retry this case. The amount of money of what it will cost to retry this case should never come before the safety of children knowing there maybe a possible time bomb out there that may explode at any time.

    1. So now we are going to jail people because of what MAY happen?! You must have paid no attention in your high school civics class. This is the United States of America and not a totalitarian state. Besides there is nothing in this priest's history to suggest that he is a danger to anyone. Your bigotry has been exposed!

    2. and maybe just maybe these priests are innocent of these allegations from these lifelong drug addicts such as this alleged victim as well as danny gallagher in the previous trial of Bernard Shero and Fr Engelhardt who create vivid stories of abuse that play to the sympathies of these juries..I applaud this jury and the one in McCormick's previous trial that saw thru the inconsistencies & actually concluded there was reasonable doubt....shame the jury in the Shero and Engelhardt trial left their conscience at home because there was even less credibility in the numerous stories that pathological liar Gallagher told but that jury ignored the truth and wrongfully convicted them......

      when is the grandstanging Philly DA going to stop prosecuting the present day innocent clergy of this archdiocese for the sins of guilty clergy from 3 or 4 decades ago....

  8. Interesting that the victim was not looking for money.

    1. To say otherwise would call his credibility into question. However, should there have been a guilty verdict there would have been nothing to stop him from filing a civil suit.

    2. "Interesting that the victim was not looking for money".....YET.

      Smart strategy- get your wrongful conviction first, then get your holy dough- and then off to Hollywood, where true pedophilia runs rampant, and where the 'model' citizen can have a movie made about his miserable life- all the while engaging in the despicable immoral and illegal behavior that defines a significant portion of his rainbow 'community'.

      At least some jurors weren't duped by his act.

    3. There is nothing stopping this victim from filing a civil law suit, I can file suit against you because you know nothing about the law. Will I win that's a different story. This victim has a good chance of winning suit and the archdiocese own decision to remove McCormick from ministry because of his behavior around children will be used against them. Will it ever reach a court room ? The archdiocese will settle out of court for a few hundred grand.

      Now I like when two people who have no idea what they are talking about post after each other. Jae we all know you are a coward who hides behind a keyboard. Because you would be the last person who would approach a gay individual and tell him or her your feelings. Maybe because you and your walker could not run away fast enough.

      But let me ask you this question, what the hell will you do when you are in church and standing next to you are two gay men and its the time when the priest says let us offer each other the sign of peace and those two men smack each other right on the lips then offer their hand out to you to shake ? I know what I would do if I was standing behind you and that is laugh uncontrollably not at the two gay men but at you because that protected world you live in is falling down around you.

      You have a pope who will most likely sooner then later allow that to happen.

    4. I like the "YET" JAE, your use of ADA Mark CIppoletti's powerful final comment to that jury in the Engelhardt/Shero trial insinuating there were more victims out there but they just haven't had the courage to come forward...nothing but silence from the other thousands and thousands of students, altar boys and parishioners of Fr Engelhardt thus far...
      ditto for Shero whose career as a teacher was a great deal shorter than Fr Engelhardt's. career as an educator, administrator, assistant pastor and pastor which spanned over 35 years.......

      Ceisler allowed that very deliberate and deceitful comment to stand despite objections by the defense attorney, which just shows that that trial wasn't in any way, shape or form, fair and impartial......this jury got it right, that's a plus for the clergy in this community........

      Now it's time for the Superior Court and the Supreme Court of this commonwealth to do the right thing in those earlier cases.....reverse those wrongful decisions....

      ps: when they say it's not about the money, it almost always is about the money.....

    5. That's it, Anon@10:02am, let it all come out-the anti Catholic ideology that has been feeding your hatred all along - it'll feel better soon.

      Exposing this little squirrels barely hidden nuts was almost too easy.

      Need bigger game here!

    6. Answer the question.

      Or are you just a homophobe who will allow priests grab your nuts.

      Oh wait, that won't happen because your not a child. Mind only.

    7. @anonymous10:18

      With regard to Ceisler, the way she conducted the trial, the draconian sentence she imposed, and the amount of time she took to deliver her 'opinion' to the Superior Court - all of these most definitely contributed to Father Engelhardt's untimely death.

      Let's hope that she gets her ears pinned back by the Superior Court and is reassigned to another judicial position - say, a tennis court judgeship.

    8. Sarmina requested to be transferred to civil court and her request was granted. We have not heard anything about Ceisler as the appeal on Englehardt and Shero has yet to be heard. What Sarmina got is scary as we expect the very best from all judges put on the bench.

    9. James - I think that Sarmina got the boot to civil court based upon her obdurate misinterpretation of the EWOC statute, repeatedly applying it incorrectly.

      She dragged her feet getting Monsignor Lynn's paperwork to the Superior Court so that his appeal could be started. She was nearly 6 months late and had to be 'compelled' (i.e. legally bludgeoned) to attend to this vital facet of her job.

      The problem with these judges is the immunity they enjoy. They can do just about anything they want in THEIR view of the administration of 'justice' without fearing any repercussions. Their hubris is almost boundless.

      They should all be put on the 'pay for performance' standard as are most folks who work for a living.

  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  10. Unreasonable doubt is shameful

  11. Interesting to see the DA Seth Williams reduced to an Iranian rug merchant offering offers that get discounted with each rejection. And that is telling, given the law degree he possesses and his willingness to get the priest to plead guilty in exchange for no jail sentence. Even more interesting is the shunting of the case to an ADA knowing full well the case may not succeed on its merits.

    Our DA has turned into an Iranian rug merchant on the courtroom and that is more telling given he has a hard earned law degree that has already depreciated in value and has rendered him valueless to any Philadelphia powerhouse law firm plus his political aspirations to become Governor or Mayor has already been besmirched by what has happened at the McCormick trial.

    Now the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will feel more comfortable releasing their verdict on the Lynn case which is also contingent on the fate of the Penn State trial of the three administrators. If the verdict supports the Superior Court decision, then it will enable charges to be dropped against the three administrators of PSU. It is also possible for the Supreme Court to delay releasing the verdict until 30 days have passed for the DA to decide whether he wants to retry the McCormick case or not.

  12. I must have gone to this site at the perfect time when I seen a post from someone asking if anyone who knew the address of McCormick to please post it . It seems now that particular comment has been removed by blog administrator. In all fairness I question why ? I can recall at the end of the Engelhardt, Shero trial the postings on this blog by those requesting the Florida address of Billy Doe, there was even comments requesting people to interfere with Billy Doe's family members landscape business, and those comments were permitted to remain. I ask is not what is good for the goose good for the gander ?

    1. Did danny get divorced?

    2. We're not going to be posting anybody's address on this blog whether it's Danny's or Father Andy's.

  13. There is something rather "Ecker-ish" about many of these Anonymous scoundrels, isn't there?

    Just saying...


    A typical sign that you may see inside a rectory or a catholic grade school.

    1. You're sense of humor is perverse and reveals the darkness of your own heart. Sweeping negative generalizations of any group or class of people is called bigotry. In this particular case I believe you have violated the rules for posting on this site. Therefore, I ask Ralph to remove the link from your post.

  15. Probably the same sewer-dwelling clown that posted the video of, presumably, a human being being beaten to death in a prison. I would not view either/any video or link from such a hateful Anon, and beg the rest of the normal, sane, thoughtful posters here to avoid such evil, also.

    These are the depths to which the opposition always descends - it's all they've got to try to win the argument/debate, because, God knows, they don't have the truth on their side.

    Alinsky's Rules for Radicals is in full play here, fellow travelers.

  16. Problem is Danny G and this Gentmen were peter puffers from the beginning its in there DNA and Society really has.nt excepted it and the guys struggled with this as children and there parents needed sombody to blame once they came out of the closet instead excepting it for what it is.Sometimes u need to look in the mirror and just face the facts.

  17. This case won.go to trial again just by the fact
    the prosecution was ready to give father Andy a deal without filing undet meagans law if thst is.nt admitting defeat i dom.t know what is. Time to move on.


    Do we know this person ?

  19. Ok another mistrial for lack of evidence they can try this case 20 more times and results will be the same. Its a shame because the victim and McCormick will never ever get piece of mind from these trials. McCormick will always be guilty in eyes of some and the victim accusations questioned. Only them 2 know the truth and thats were it will stay. The people who try these cases and the church have to find away to get clearer facts and the victims must come forth earlier but that's easier said than done. Problem is the Billy Does ruin it for the true victims out there and Jurors have problems when there statements keep changing which will lead to more mistrials b because of the victims waiting longer to come forward making it easier for defense lawyers to defend there clients.

  20. I have never seen one person writings change as much as JB. You compare the comment from yesterday at @ 5:42 when he reads like a rambling idiot to his comment this morning @7:17 when he actually posts a sane thought out statement. Bipolar? I don't know. But keep taking those pills the doctor gave you everyday they seem to work. God Bless.

    1. It is noteworthy that those that post under Anonymous either do so to undertake personal attacks on others that are willing to use, at least, a handle/identifier in order to separate themselves from the Anon 'pack' mentality, or to linkup the most offensive and/or bigoted material they can troll on the internet. And this is the very same 'pack' mentality that anonymously piles on the Catholic Church and anyone else opposed to their radical secular/leftist/progressive ideology.

      No doubt these brave offensives of the Anon 'pack' are launched from the security of their mothers basements.

      Such brave little souls.

    2. Truth is i still believe these guys are what i said earlier.There looking to blame someone for how they turned out. Billy doe the junkie is no good.As for father Andy and the Victim they.ll never have peace and remember both kids now are admitted homosexuals Billy and the victim in McCormick case. U don.t have to be biopolar to realize some thing is.nt rite there.
      For me taking pills not my thing
      Not biopolar either anonymous . Just call it how i see it and don.t worry about being Politically correct. If someone feelings get hurt by my opinion they should.nt be reading blogs then. As for all u anonymous posters have a wonderfull evening

    3. So true Jae 9.59 am. Little cowards in there cubbie holes. The only religion i don.t care for is muslims because there beliefs change everyday to suit the cause there fighting that day but that.s another story. But for some of these other haters believing we stick up for priest who have raped young boys is just luducris . done things to bullies for a lot less shit. Point im making if these priest did such things to me as these victims are accusing them of i know we would.nt be in court for the dog and pony show. Sometimes u have to take things into ur own hands let the chips fall were they may it.s always worked for me and i can run for mayor with clean conscious and record not that i would win though. But u cowards keep hiding behind ur computer and spew hate. Because u have nothing else. Get the facts first before passing Judge ment on others. Like i said before till the Church and philadelphia common wealth clean there own dirty houses the truth is gonna ne pretty hard to come by .Good morning Jae or who ever u are
      Keep putting these haters in there place take care . Lol JB

    4. And, from JB comes some truths: there was a time in society when a rapist didn't have to worry about defending himself in court- the only thing he needed to worry about was how to free himself from the concrete necklace he wore as he sunk to the bottom of the Hudson or Delaware Rivers, courtesy of the righteous male family and community members of the poor victim violated.

      Once society replaced real (swift and absolute) justice, whether practiced in the street or within the confines of the legal system, with the liberalized puke that coddles, and even promotes rapists, pedophiles and other sexual deviants (see Hollywood, music, sports industry and any liberal government entity for proof), the lines between good and evil were blurred.

      The truth is that rapists are never healed of their warped obsessions, so, to prevent any more injury, the death penalty (or natural life imprisonment- no parole), to preserve our freedom, is an absolutely appropriate social response to such a despicable act. Such justice can only be obtained with hard evidence, and swiftly. The current persecution of the Catholic Church meets neither the just or swift standards.

      The Catholic Church, to date, is the only institution to address the pederasty (not pedophilia) problem within its ranks, as it did with it's billions in settlements, and with the Dallas Charter. Yet, this institution has the lowest incidence of such immoral behavior out of all institutions and industry that intersect with minors.

      Let's hope the others, especially those in the public sector, soon catch up to the reparations offered by Catholic Church- for the sake of all the innocents.

  21. and Jae is any better then anonymous ?

    There is a very good reason why I won't leave a real name. People like you make me very concerned. I class you into the same group I class Isis, religious fanatics. We all seen the abortion clinic bombings of the past its only a matter of time before we see the beheadings.

  22. POPE FRANCIS WANTS OUT. States he misses his freedom.

  23. So much Anon disinformation, such little time. Suffice it to say that the 20th C saw the greatest amount of bloodshed in all human history - combined, with all of it initiated by the aggressions of pagans (NAZIs) and atheists (your Communist comrades?).

    In support of your theory about Christians soon to undertake beheadings, I propose that you join up with ISIL/Daesh so that you are strategically poised to beat back those bad old radicalized Christians for when they come to snip your pinhead (perhaps a small manicure scissor might do?)

    Use a pseudonym there, Braveheart - so that we may know you by your special gifts.

  24. Rant on, Rant on.

    Catholics are not true Christians or they would believe in the word of God. The bible. Christ has sanctified all Christians who believe in him (Heb.10:10-11) so all priests today are unnecessary and unscriptural. Furthermore, the practice of calling a priest "father" is forbidden by Jesus Christ in Matthew 23:9

    1. And, so there it is (eureka!)- the anti-Catholic bigotry- driven by your religiously-based hatred.

      Just for fun- please provide that scripture that supports your Sola Scriptura position? And, who compiled the books of the New Testament - Calvin, Luther?

      And, finally, so then- it will only be Catholics that perform these dastardly beheadings you fear- yes?

      Sheesh- these are shallow waters in which we tread-

  25. Now that we are learning today on national news the leader of the catholic church wants to jump ship for pizza and freedom like so many other catholic parishioners have already done not necessarily for the pizza but from freedom of the lies. I have to ask how does this make the devout Catholics feel ?

    A position such as Pope that held a lifetime of devotion for centuries will once again be vacated.

    Does anyone feel this departure has anything to do with the sexual abuse of innocent children and the ability not to climb out of the hole priests, bishops and cardinals have put the church into and how do you suggest the memories of the satanic acts of your clergy be forgotten ?

  26. For those interested in the truth- see Pope Francis' statements - in his own words (i.e. not filtered through the distorted and deceiving lens of an anti Catholic bigot).

    But, of course, omitted from the 'Bigots Bible' newsflash was Pope Francis' announcement of a rare Extraordinary Jubilee - Holy Year of Mercy.

    Go to confession, bigots, pray for mercy - and for your conversion from your bigoted hatreds to your love of the only Church founded by Jesus Christ.


    "MY TIME AS POPE IS RUNNING OUT" As church leaders prepare to replace Pope Francis.

    Only hiding the facts as your church did with clergy abuse.

    There will be a new Pope in place and you still will be saying "Pope Francis isn't going anywhere.

    I say "enjoy your pizza Frank you did your best to combat the sins of your church"

    Pray for those sinners now and at the hour of their death. AMEN

  28. Yes, I am sure an enclave of the College of Cardinals is being convened, presently, to replace Pope Francis.

    And, this is the very same mentality that exists only to convict innocent Catholic priests- with absolutely no evidence.

  29. Yeah, that was a shot in the dark. I just wanted to see how smart you are. Every other time you sound like a idiot.


  30. Oh well, have to go it has been a pleasure. I enjoyed the entertainment I have received. I am sure the next time a priest is on trial for abusing a child y'all will shout out he is innocent. I am sure your archbishop will receive an outpouring of catholic residents who will be willing to open their homes to papal visitors since the only criteria that is being asked by the homeowner is they have small children living in the home preferably males and a wifi hookup. cameras are needed but optional.

    I wish you and your church the best of luck because damn your going to need it.

    So long and enjoy those milkshakes

  31. 2000 years of "luck" and still counting, coward.

    Don't let the door hit ya' in ye arse.

    Typical bully.


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