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Lay Teacher Charged In Priest Sex Abuse Case To Stand Trial Separately

By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – One of the defendants in the priest abuse case will not stand trial with the others.

At this point, a trial is scheduled in March for a high-ranking monsignor and three current or former priests. But Judge Lillian Ransom has ruled former Catholic school teacher Bernard Shero (pictured, bottom left) should get a separate trial, after the proceeding for his former co-defendants.

Shero is charged with raping a boy in 1999. Two of his former co-defendants, the Reverend Charles Englehardt and a defrocked priest, Edward Avery, are accused of raping the same altar boy.

A gag order prevents lawyers involved in the case from commenting.

Nor would lawyers talk about another pending matter: a memo sent out to archdiocesan employees, reminding them to check with church lawyers, if inquiries are made about the priest abuse case.

The Philadelphia DA’s office complains to Judge Teresa Sarmina that could ‘muffle and intimidate’ potential witnesses.

A private law firm, representing the Archdiocese, acknowledges it represents four priests who have been contacted by authorities, but its lawyers dispute any suggestion that the archdiocese wanted to ‘muzzle’ them.

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