Monday, March 9, 2015

The Rosary Outside Courtroom 1102

By Ralph Cipriano

In the hallway outside Courtroom 1102 at the Criminal Justice Center, a couple of nuns in full habit and some devout Catholics were praying the rosary with "Father Andy."

While a jury deliberates the priest's fate, Father Andrew McCormick and his loyal supporters maintained a prayer vigil, sending up plenty of Hail Marys.

Early today, it looked like Father Andy would need a miracle to stay out jail.

The jury came back with a question for the judge that sent panic through Father Andy's supporters. The jury asked Judge Gwendolyn N. Bright if the testimony of the alleged victim alone would be sufficient to convict Father Andy of sex abuse charges. The judge responded that if the jury believed the alleged victim's testimony beyond a reasonable doubt it would be sufficient to convict the defendant.

Defense lawyer Trevan Borum looked shaken as he left the courthouse but hovered at a hotel across the street in case the jury had any more bombshells to drop.

Rumors swept the 11th floor; on the first full day of deliberations had the jury already reached a verdict? If so, it was probably curtains for Father Andy.

A defense lawyer not involved in the case who heard about the contents of the note said he understood the panic, but cautioned that it was nearly impossible to read jurors' minds.

"I've been on that roller coaster," he said.

The jury kept deliberating behind closed doors as a delivery boy wheeled in lunch. The priest and his supporters kept praying.

Shortly before 4 p.m. the jury passed another note to the judge. But instead of saying they had reached a verdict, the jurors merely wanted to go home for the day. The judge announced that the jury had reached a "breakpoint" in deliberations and had asked to be dismissed early. Normally, court adjourns at 4:30 p.m.

The judge granted the jury's wish, and asked them to resume deliberations tomorrow at 9:30 a.m.

That sparked another wave of speculation; was the jury already at loggerheads on their way to another deadlock?

That's what happened on March 12, 2014 during Father Andy's first trial, when a jury deadlocked on the charges against Father Andy after four and a half fruitless days of deliberations.

Father Andy is charged 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. The charges all stem from a 1997 incident involving a former 10-year-old altar boy who claims that Father Andy lured him up to his room at the rectory and then tried to jam his penis in the boy's mouth.

The alleged victim, now 27, is a gay business manager for a New York cosmetics firm. He wasn't in  court today but his parents were, conducting their own vigil, as was the alleged victim's grandfather. "Pop" is a retired Philadelphia detective who coaxed a statement out of his grandson and then told his family, "We're going to the police."

The jury previously had asked to see a defense exhibit, a black priest's cassock.

The alleged victim testified that while Father Andy was unbuttoning all the buttons on his cassock, the priest was attempting to fondle the boy and force him to have oral sex. During the attack, the alleged victim testified that he "zoned in" on the buttons, and counted as the priest unbuttoned all 32 of them.

A cassock, however, has 33 buttons to commemorate the life of Jesus. It's been the source of some debate on this blog, how to remove a cassock, especially when you're in a hurry. Men who have worn cassocks say that you only need to unbutton the top buttons to pull off a cassock, and that nobody would bother to unbutton all 33 buttons.

Maybe that's what the jury's really been up to behind closed doors, trying on cassocks to figure out how to unbutton one.

The jury also asked the judge to read the law behind the deviate sexual intercourse charge, which involves oral or anal sex.

While the jury spent the afternoon deliberating, Father Andy's supporters kept praying. One of the nuns who participated in the prayer vigil explained that they weren't praying for a specific outcome. They're prepared if the verdict goes either way, she said.

If you're really going to follow Jesus, the nun said, it's all about abandoning yourself to the will of God. Even if that means winding up in a jail cell.


  1. Thank you Ralph for the go to place behind the scene.Excellent.

  2. I believe in the power of prayer but I just don't know on this one. I find it odd though this jury has asked the same question a jury a year ago asked. If the victims testimony alone can convict Fr. Andy.

    1. Hopefully, the result will be the same - hung jury. From what I've read, it looks like this kid and his mother (as well as the prosecutor) can turn on the 'water works' almost at will - crying on queue for the benefit of the ladies on the jury - despicable method acting!

      I'm hoping and praying that reason, awareness of reasonable doubt and common sense will prevail during their deliberations.

      At this point, no noose is good noose (sorry, but couldn't resist)!

    2. it's exactly what the jury in the Engelhardt/Shero trial did, they convicted solely on danny Gallagher's watered down version of events that ultimately led to their physical evidence, no witnesses, nothing but one person's word 15+ years later destroying another priest's's amazing this jury would ignore the testimony of that state trooper friend/fellow altar boy of this alleged victim who certainly contradicted the testimony of the victim that this priest was on the prowl...
      all the reasonable doubt in the previous trial and certainly in this trial doesn't stand a chance in today's priest hating society........

  3. The sad part here no matter what happens there.s a problem with the church and law enforcement trying to get it right across America and the World. Then the real Victims who were ruined for life are hurt by false victims looking for a payday and aren.t believed and how and the hell do u attempt to fix that. The Church and Law enforcement
    have to find a better way to get the facts and the truth. And that starts by cleaning the corruption in both organizations the Catholic Church and Law Enforcement and i am catholic. So before a solution is possible they need to look in the mirror and not there pockets and promotions and ask have we done all we can do for the Victim or victims here.

  4. Even if it means winding up in a jail cell? That is very telling as Jesus was subjected to a mob ranting outside while being judged and the judge chose to let the crowd have its way by saying I wipe off my hands and will send Jesus off to be crucified. That is Seth Williams modus operandi - wipe off my hands and let an ADA try the case, win or lose.

    Anybody can stage a crying show on the witness stand. The law pays no heed to it as it has little bearing toward the outcome of one's case. To tug at the emotions of a jury is hitting way below the bell as far as the prosecutor's taking advantage of this to push her cards.

    No accident Lynn's verdict is being held in abeyance until this trial is resolved. Even if it turns out to be a hung jury, we will know in the coming weeks what the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court had to say about the misapplication of the child endangerment law crafted in 1972 as it does not apply to Lynn in the newly amended form of such as the incidents mentioned happened BEFORE the legislature amended the child endangerment law to include prosecuting people in charge of managing schools.

    Let's hope for the best and let's hope for a caring soul who will resist the call of the mob to convict Father Andy.

    1. Get off your high horse James. I think Catholic priests who abused and tortured children and used their collar to gain the trust of those children and their families is hitting below the belt. I say let Lynn go free. Lets see how well he gets accepted back into normal society. The finger pointers, the people talking about him saying that's the one who did not protect children. You don't need cells to punish someone.

    2. Another anti Catholic 'high horse' analogy-you wascally bigot!

      ANYONE who abuses minors (do note the distinction between 'children' and 'minors') should be prosecuted in accordance with fair laws- an not simply persecuted because of the cultures disdain for the accused.

      What is your definition of 'normal' society?

    3. Amen to what you say, Jae. What gets me is these folks who are anti-Catholic think that somehow faithful Catholics believe that priests DIDN'T abuse anyone when we know that there were real victims. What I find insulting is that the anti-catholic crowd thinks that somehow good Catholics make excuses for errant clergy when that is not the case at all. As you say: ANYONE who abuses minors should be prosecuted. However, faithful catholics also know that many priests have been falsely accused. In acknowledging that fact we DON'T deny that abuse has happened nor does it mean that we are unsympathetic to the sufferings of legitimate victims. That these bigots can't wrap their heads around this point goes to show how blinded they have become because of their rage. Hey, I've known some errant priests but most of the priests I have met are great men. I'm tired of them of all priests being tarred and feathered because of the crimes of the few from decades ago.

    4. Anon@3:06; scratch the surface of any of these professional priest-hunters and you will find a leftist ideologue beneath the 'perennially outraged' veneer.

      If one were truly concerned about the welfare of children, according to FBI statistics (and similarly vetted stats worldwide) the last place you would focus your limited resources is on the Catholic Church. It is the safest place on earth for children- including, sadly, their own homes.

      This latest persecution is every bit as politically-motivated and state-sanctioned as was the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

    5. Priest hunters. What a great name for a new reality show. Although Jae has no idea what the word reality means. A hung jury solves no answers. It does not clear the name of McCormick, and nothing is stopping the DA office retrying this case again, again and again. Most likely this victim will return to his six figure job until a new trial date is set and McCormick will climb back underneath his rock. One thing Jae has to let sink in is if this jury is deadlocked it not only means some members of the jury feel he is innocent but others only if one believe he is guilty.

  5. Great article Ralph as always! So I must say I find it disturbing that the "victim" hasn't been in court for now 2 days. He must have better things to do then find out if the "Pain" will be taken away and Krazy Kemps justice will be served. I call Bullshit!!! I would be here every minute of every day. Atleast the water works mom...wierdo aunts and uncle "shades" showed up in his place. <- Another member of the sobbing clan who is a cop oh and has a son who is a lawyer....They have EVERYONE needed to set up this case and waste you the tax payers money!

  6. More important then this trial. Can anyone believe the Eagles traded Nick Foles. Now that's a crime.

    1. For Sam Bradford and all his injury problems and fat contract. Let's hope Chip is just parking him for somebody else's first round draft choice.

  7. I too was abused by a priest who always wore a cassock and I can tell you he ALWAYS unbuttoned the entire cassock, top to bottom. He was definitely a neat freak.
    So to those of you who believe this priest didn't do it because he couldn't have or wouldn't have unbuttoned his entire cassock....that's just nuts. There are many things a child being abused may or may not remember...but certainly one doesn't forget being sexually abused in such a manner, that memory is seared into your mind as you think about it over and over, the other "memories of that moment" are certainly never as significant and not often reflected upon.

    1. And anonymous you shall remain, I believe what you are saying anon.

    2. You're assuming every alleged victim is telling the truth straight from heaven. What if he's a lying sleaze ball drug-dealing slime ball like Billy Doe? How does that factor in your cult of victimology?


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