ST. CLAIR COUNTY, MI -- A 27-year-old man faces multiple charges after authorities claim he sexually abused young children and made por...
mercoledì 16 agosto 2017
Paedo catholic teacher who raped 10-year-old altar boy to be released
A former parochial-school teacher, whose conviction of sexually abusing a 10-year-old altar boy from Northeast Philadelphia years was thrown out amid questions about his accuser’s truthfulness, has pleaded no contest to a lesser crime, a decision that allowed him to be released from prison.
Rather than face a new trial, Bernard Shero, 54, a former teacher at St. Jerome school,pleaded no contest Monday to less serious child rape and assault charges and was sentenced to the roughly four years in prison he has already served.
In 2013, Shero was convicted in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court of rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, child endangerment, corruption of a minor, and indecent assault, and sentenced to eight to 16 years in prison. He was released Wednesday.
George Bochetto, one of Shero’s lawyers, said he was “deeply, deeply concerned with the way the prosecution took place in this matter.”
Prosecutors declined to comment on the ruling or the plea, citing ongoing litigation in related cases.
Attempts to reach the accuser, who is referred to by prosecutors as Billy Doe, and his family were unsuccessful. A representative for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia was not immediately available for comment.
Another one of Shero’s lawyers, Jeffrey Ogren, said prosecutors agreed to seek a sentence of time served in exchange for Shero pleading no contest.
“The option was staying in jail for 11 1/2 years or pleading no contest and getting out today,” he said.
The accuser said he was sexually assaulted by Shero and two priests when he was an altar boy in the late 1990s.
One of the priests, the Rev. Edward V. Avery, pleaded guilty in 2012 but has since recanted his confession. The other, the Rev. Charles Engelhard, died in prison while appealing his conviction.
The accuser’s testimony also helped convict Msgr. William Lynn, the first church official charged over the mishandling of abuse records. Lynn’s conviction has since been overturned. Lynn’s lawyer declined to comment, citing ongoing court proceedings.
The accuser has settled his claims against the church in an undisclosed agreement.
Retired Philadelphia Police Detective Joseph Walsh, who had worked on the case for the District Attorney’s Office, told prosecutors several times that he could not corroborate the accuser’s story. But the detective said they dismissed him, with one assistant district attorney going so far as to tell him “you’re killing my case,” according to a court filing.
Shero’s plea was first reported by the Philadelphia legal blog BigTrial.net.