JUDAS PRIEST: Even More Nauseating Testimony


INQUIRER: In 1999, the altar boys there included the 10-year-old son of a Philadelphia police officer. In a photo shown to jurors, the boy wore a blue sweater vest, a light-colored crew-cut, and a smile. “Mom always said I was a cute kid,” he testified. Earlier that school year, the man said, he had been sexually abused by another priest at the parish. (That priest, the Rev. Charles Engelhardt faces a separate trial because he belongs to an independent religious order. So, too, does a former schoolteacher at St. Jerome’s also accused of raping the boy.) Avery, he said, told the altar boy he had heard about his “sessions” with Engelhardt and proposed his own. “I tried to act like I didn’t know what he was talking about, but when he mentioned that, my stomach turned,” he testified. Twice in the ensuing weeks, Avery forced him to strip and engage in oral sex in a room near the church sacristy after he served a Mass with the priest, according to his testimony. He told no one about the abuse. “I was scared,” he said. “I thought I did something wrong. And it was a priest.” Within a year, he said, he began drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana. By high school, he graduated to prescription medication and eventually heroin. He has since spent time in nearly two dozen drug treatment programs, he said. MORE

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