An explosive grand jury report released by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro has thrown the Catholic Church once again into crisis. Covering over 70 years of Church activity, the sweeping report provides documentation on over 300 priests who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing and molesting young boys and girls.
In all, the grand jury was able to identify more than 1,000 victims of clergy sexual abuse. It is widely-believed to be the largest investigation ever attempted into the Church's extensive efforts to conceal sexual abuse and molestation from law enforcement agencies and the public.
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While the grand jury report lists hundreds of accused clergy members, the name of Father Andrew D. McCormick does not appear, though he could be among the few priests whose names were redacted due to pending legal proceedings.
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia settled a civil lawsuit involving McCormick's alleged abuse of a minor in early 2018, shortly before the priest was barred from the ministry.
Ordained in 1982, Father Andrew McCormick served in four parishes throughout his 29 years of active ministry:
The public sexual abuse allegations against McCormick arose during his time at Saint John Cantius, in Northeast Philadelphia.
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McCormick has been tried in criminal courts twice over allegations of child molestation. Now 62-years-old, McCormick was arrested in July 2012 on charges of sexually abusing an altar boy in 1997.
The priest was suspended from the ministry in March 2011, when he was serving as pastor of Swedesburg's Sacred Heart Parish, due to allegations of inappropriate conduct with children.
McCormick was tried over the allegations twice, in 2014 and 2015, but both cases ended with a hung jury. At trial, McCormick denied that he had ever abused the alleged victim, but acknowledged that he had been sanctioned by the Church in the past over having children "in his private living quarters," ABC6 reports.
The priest's accuser, then 26-years-old, testified before jurors that McCormick had molested him in his bedroom at St. John Cantius, a Polish church in Northeast Philadelphia.
Father McCormick went free after the two Philadelphia juries failed to reach a verdict. Three months after the second mistrial became public, the District Attorney's Office announced that it would not pursue McCormick in a third trial. The charges against the priest were dropped.
His public accuser, however, was not done. On July 10, 2015, the former altar boy filed suit against McCormick and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. He was represented in the case by Brian D. Kent, Esq., an experienced sexual abuse attorney who serves as the lead sponsor of AbuseGuardian.com.
In an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer, Kent said, "the reality of the situation is that Father McCormick abused at least one child and two criminal juries could not reach a verdict. In terms of holding McCormick responsible, [the civil plaintiff's] only recourse is a civil lawsuit. He hasn't had that justice yet."
The civil suit ended in an out-of-court settlement in early 2018. Per the settlement agreement's terms, the details of the settlement cannot be released to the public.
Once the civil suit was concluded, officials for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia reopened their investigation into McCormick's alleged misconduct. On August 19, 2018, the results of the Archdiocese's investigation were announced: Father Andrew McCormick had been found "unsuitable" for the ministry.
A board of 12 men and women, the Archdiocesan Professional Responsibilities Review Board, found sufficient evidence to substantiate the allegations of sexual abuse against Father McCormick. As a result of the determination, "Father McCormick will either be laicized or entered into a supervised life of prayer and penance," the Archdiocese wrote in a press release.
While the allegations of abuse against Father Andrew McCormick have now been substantiated, the recent Pennsylvania grand jury report raises fresh questions about the manner in which Archdiocese officials handle sexual abuse complaints.
Through the grueling and often-horrific documentation of individual abuse cases, the new report uncovers and explains the numerous strategies leaders within Pennsylvania's Catholic Church utilized to hide rampant sexual abuse from the authorities.
It quickly becomes apparent that the Church's goal has never been to protect young children from abuse. Instead, the Church's primary goal throughout the decades has been to minimize "scandal." In pursuit of this all-consuming goal, Church officials actively protected dangerous pedophile priests, placing thousands of young children in immediate danger.
Were you or a loved one sexually abused by Father Andrew McCormick? Our deepest sympathies and condolences go out to you. We understand the difficult storm of emotions that sexual abuse can cause. Many survivors struggle to deal with feelings of anger and grief, shame and embarrassment. You are not alone. Our experienced PA sexual abuse attorneys are here to help.
This was not your fault. Some survivors fear stepping forward, out of a misplaced sense that they did something to deserve the abuse. Nothing could be further from the truth. You did nothing wrong. There is no excuse for sexual abuse. It is always and everywhere a horrific crime.
Some sexual abuse survivors may be eligible to pursue legal action against the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. If you or a loved one were abused, learn more about your legal options in a free consultation today. You can find more information at no cost and no obligation. Just contact our attorneys now. We're here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.