January 30, 2013: A jury today convicted Bernard Shero of Rape, Attempted Rape, Involuntary Deviant Sexual Intercourse, Indecent Sexual Assault, Endangering the Welfare of a Child (EWOC), and Corruption of a Minor charges for the sexual assault of a student at St. Jerome Parish. Charles Engelhardt was convicted of Indecent Assault, EWOC, Corruption of a Minor and Conspiracy charges for the sexual assault of the same student. Engelhardt, who was a priest at the parish, assaulted the 10- year-old boy between 1998 and 1999. Shero, who was a parochial teacher at the parish’s school, assaulted the same boy in 2000. Edward Avery, a priest at the parish, pleaded guilty last year to assaulting the same boy between 1998 and 1999. Avery is currently serving a 2 ½ to 5 year prison sentence for his crimes.
“The victim is this case has shown exceptional courage,” said District Attorney Seth Williams. “Not only did he have the strength to report his abuse, he had the tenacity to look his abusers in the eye and testify in front of complete strangers about the horrific details of his attacks. I hope this verdict will help him to continue with the long journey of healing that comes after such trauma. This is an important day for all institutional abuse victims. It is not an easy thing to overcome decades of cover-up and a culture of silence. This verdict will help put an end to the blind eye and the deaf ear with which so many victims of abuse have been received.”
“I would like to thank the jurors for their hard work; this has been a long two and a half week trial and you never wavered in the pursuit of justice,” continued the District Attorney. “I would also like to give my heartfelt respect and gratitude to Mark Cipolletti, Evangelia Manos, Mariana Sorensen, Detective Joseph Walsh, Detective James Dougherty, Detective David Fisher, Detective Drew Snyder, Lauren Oleckna and Martin Howley who all worked tirelessly on this case. I said this in July when a jury convicted Monsignor William Lynn of Endangering the Welfare of a Child, and it still rings true today. All of you are the true champions of not only the victim in this case, but for all of the sexual abuse victims across the world who maybe able to feel a small sense of justice with these verdicts.”
Both defendants are scheduled to be sentenced on March 18, 2013 in front of Judge Ellen Ceisler. Engelhardt faces a maximum sentence of 37 years in prison and Shero faces a maximum of 57 years.