Philadelphia priest charged with 1997 sex assault

PHILADELPHIA - July 27, 2012

In the 1990's Father Andrew McCormick, was Pastor at St John Cantius Parish in Bridesburg. He was popular even taking children on trips to Poland.

However Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams says McCormick sexually assaulted a 10-year-old he recruited as an altar boy in 1997.

"He started having him come serve mass and have sodas and cookies after serving mass which then led to a trip upstairs in the rectory," said Williams.

The altar boy who is now a young man, contacted police last December.

When asked why the allegedly victim waited so long, authorities suggested that memories were dredged up by coverage of the Philadelphia Catholic church's sex abuse scandal and the Jerry Sandusky case at Penn State.

"It brings it all out again. It certainly brings the nightmare and horror of all this back to the individual and the family. It also prompts them to come forward," said Captain John Darby.

Father McCormick is being represented by William Brennan - the same lawyer representing Father James Brennan, who is facing retrial for molesting a young boy in 1996.

"This is a case involving a lone accuser from the 1990s so we are anxious to see what, if any, evidence the DA has to support this allegation," said Attorney Brennan.

On Friday, the District Attorney's office commended McCormick's accuser for coming forward to police.

"Originally this victim's family, when he came forward to them personally, their initial thought was to go the church but another family member said 'No we are going to police," said Williams.

McCormick is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on August 17, 2012.

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