PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The sexual abuse and endangerment charges against three priests, a monsignor, and a lay teacher in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia are proceeding toward trial as the defendants reject potential plea deals.
At a hearing today on pretrial motions, the prosecutor disclosed that defendants were offered deals — up to 7½ to 15 years in prison in exchange for a guilty plea — but the offers were rejected.
The defense is arguing several motions, including that defendants be tried separately and some charges be dismissed. The next hearing in the case is scheduled for July 29th.
Priests Charles Englehardt, Edward Avery, and James Brennan, and lay teacher Bernard Shero are charged with raping young boys, while Monsignor William Lynn is charged endangering the welfare of a child in connection with the alleged assaults.
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All the defendants have pleaded not guilty.
Judge Lillian Ransom has also heard a bail motion for Father Engelhardt, whose travel is currently limited to Pennsylvania. His attorney, Michael MoGovern, wanted Engelhardt to be allowed to visit family at the Jersey shore.
The prosecutor objected, telling the court, in part, that it doesn’t know what schoolyards or children are near the shore house. The judge ruled Father Engelhardt will be allowed to go to the shore, once, for the Fourth of July weekend.
There is a gag order in the case so the attorneys could not comment after the hearing.
Reported by Tony Romeo, KYW Newsradio 1060