Jury Selection for Engelhardt/Shero Trial Begins Monday

The Philadelphia rape trial of a Rev. Charles Engelhardt and Bernard Shero, a former Catholic school teacher, is finally set to begin next week. According the Philadelphia District Attorney’s site, it opens Monday, Jan. 7 – most likely with jury selection.

Last year, their case was severed from that of  Msgr. Lynn, who is now appealing his child-endangerment conviction. He begins a three- to six-year prison term.

Engelhardt, who was a priest at St. Jerome Parish in northeast Philadelphia, and Shero, a teacher at the parish school, were charged with rape, indecent sexual assault and other criminal charges. They have both pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting a former altar boy in the 1990s.

If you have time, please attend the trial to support their accuser when he testifies. “Billy” is a 24-year-old son of a policeman and was in sixth grade when the alleged abuse took place. More details will follow.

28 thoughts on “Jury Selection for Engelhardt/Shero Trial Begins Monday

  1. Thank you Susan and Kathy for this information about the upcoming trial.
    I did not know that “Billy” was also a police officer’s son. How tragic. These first responders who do so much for the community and have been so helpful many times for the Church have to carry the burden of this pain throughout their lives with their children.
    As we seek true justice in this case, let us also remember another police officer whose son had been abused and then, later, under the stress of this horrendous crime, committed suicide. His father and mother carried his picture to Harrisburg this past Fall and stood at the State House doors greeting the politicians,seeking to change the SOL to a more reasonable act of justice for victims. Art and his wife are our heroes. Let us keep them also in our prayers as they suffer this trial, remembering the tragedy of their own son and the pain it has afflicted on this wonderful family.

    1. Rev. Jack , Art is my hero too. When I read his son’t story a few years ago, I promised myself I would get involved in this issue. Of course it took me another Grand Jury report to make good on that promise. So many parents who have suffered along with their children,a tragedy on so many levels.

  2. What does being a policeman’s son have to do with anything? Would he be less deserving of support if he was a chef’s son, or a gas station attendant’s son? I’m not sure why this was even included.

    1. Delaware Catholic,
      That information was intended to illustrate that no one’s child is immune from the crime of child sexual abuse – not even those of law enforcement. Clearly, one life is not worth more than another.

      1. I think being a Catholic, in positions of power within the community, the church expects there will be inhouse concessions on a spiritul basis and being easier targets for repurcussions.
        That has historically been played out here in Australia with more than one law enforement officer having to pay the price for going against the status quo.
        A pity this story doesn’t make the headlines downunder.

    1. Please let the 400+ Catholic clerics in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia know when “Billy” will be testifying. Let’s pray that one has the courage and conscience to support him.

      1. Don’t hold your breath on any of them showing up, Kate.
        The courage of brave Catholics like Billy and Art, and the conviction of Lynn, are however adding to the escalating pressure for change in Vatican policy.

        For more, please see my ” A Taboo, a New Pope & a Fairer Church”, at


      2. Kate I plan on being there from the 12th on…..as much as I can and I know you will be there in spirit if not in body.

  3. Thankyou Billy you are helping to stop the cycle from continuing you are doing a very difficult and brave thing……you are in my thoughts and prayers…….this does not undo the damage caused by this man but puts some good energy back into the world and if everyone did their share in whatever way they can this would be a much better place. Thankyou I understand what you are doing comes at a personal cost and probably lack of alot of sleep on some days……but I for one am cheering you on…..because you are not alone

    1. Hi Beth,

      Hope things are better.

      Has anyone on this blog spoken with Billy to offer their encouragement or – for that matter – is Billy even reading it??

      1. Hi Joe
        Many of us were present when “Billy” testified about the abuse from Avery during the Lynn trial. As you know Avery had already plead guilty to the abuse. We plan to attend this trial also but we do not have any contact with Billy.

  4. Does anyone have a sense of the impact that Avery’s confession might have on this trial? Can Avery be called to testify? And who is the Lynn counterpart for these two accused abusers? Thanks.

  5. Susan, Thanks for reminding everyone about the Engelhardt/Shero trial that opens Monday. I plan to be in Philly attending the trial when possible. I’ll be attending a funeral in suburban Philly on Monday but I expect Monday will be a business/procedures kind of a day although I may be wrong about that.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some Oblates of St. Francis de Sales (Engelhardt’s religious community) in attendance supporting him. I seriously doubt that any archdiocesan priests from Philly will be supporting “Billy.”

    I am sure Art appreciates the kind words. Art was in Philly yesterday for the January’s First Friday Vigil outside 222 as he was in December. Last month was raw and rainy while yesterday was very cold and windy. We were a small band of five but “they” knew we were there.

    Interestingly enough, there were two additional, uniformed, inside “guards?” present beside the one – sometimes two – outside at the top of the steps. The two newbies were women. I’m happy if WE were the cause of their employment.

    Blessings to all for the New Year 2013.

    Sister Maureen Paul Turlish, SNDdeN

  6. Can someone clarify for me…

    Who or what is paying the legal bills for Engelhardt and Shero?

    Thank you.

  7. It is my understanding that Engelhardt’s religious community, the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, is paying for his defense.

  8. Speaking of the Oblates, we should never forget that they are represented by Mark Chopko, Stradley and Ronon, who was long-time General Counsel to the USCCB in Washington, DC. Wonder whether Mark Chopko will be in attendance at Engelhardt’s trial? When pigs fly !

    .The below citation indicates just how far this Jesuit trained and educated Catholic attorney will go to protect the leadership and the organization at the expense of the innocence and vulnerability of young child victims of sexual abuse and predation.

    “……Mark Chopko, an profession for a Oblates who also has served as principal authorised officer for a U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, argued that a General Assembly had no inherent management to change a government of limitations. He argued among other things that a Oblate sequence had a “vested right” not to be theme to lawsuits that differently would have been barred by time, though instead was forced to urge itself opposite an “ancient claim.”

    “Where a vested right is impaired, a legislature might not tread,” he said…”.

    1. Right you are Michael.

      And the article is yesterday’s Inquirer, FORMER WIDENER DEAN HAD ABUSE SETTLEMENT IN THE PAST, shows just how serious most of the religious communities are. In reality Transparency and Accountability do not exist, period.

  9. Sister MP Turlish……

    here’s another very important point re Neumann University. If I were Dr. Mirenda, President of Neumann, I would be very concerned, if, in fact, I was not informed of the allegations re Father Leroux prior to his assignment there. On the other hand, if Neumann University administrative personnel were informed of the allegations prior to Fr. Leroux’s assignment at the college, then this outcome is indeed troubling.

    In either case, how does anyone know (or as yet, undisclosed or reported) whether or not there are potential or alleged victims yet to come forward who were students at Neumann University during Fr. Leroux’s tenure there? What are the responsibilities of a university president in situations like these? prior to the alleged perpetrator’s assignment? during the assignment? when the allegations are revealed and the alleged perpetrator is no longer employed by the university?

  10. I just read the Sept. article mentioned by Kathy a few comments above on whether Fr. Avery would be testifying at the trial. How could he NOT be subpoenaed to testify in a trial when he was also involved at the same parish, at the same time and with the very same victim?. If he isn’t testifying (one way or another), something is extremely wrong here. God Bless Billy and all the victims (of which I know a few) for what they have been through and will continue to go through. Life is hard enough as it is without being raped by a “Man of God” , don’t you think? On my knees praying for justice. One outraged Catholic here…

  11. But wait there’ more! Here comes Lynn again

    “Msgr. Lynn fires back”

    Saturday, April 27, 2013, 2:19 PM

    “If the court filings are any indication, Msgr. William J. Lynn’s appeal of conviction on a child endangerment count will be as hard-fought as last year’s 11-week-long trial where a Philadelphia jury found him guilty for his supervisory role in the child sex-abuse scandal involving the Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia.”


    Dig deep this Sunday fill that basket; appeals aren’t cheep.

    1. From drwho’s article above,
      “.. Bergstrom said Lynn is faring well, working in the prison library and acting as an informal chaplain and counselor to other inmates…..He is a man who has always enjoyed solitude”…

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