By Walt Hunter and Todd Quinones
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A priest accused of sexually assaulting a minor inside a Philadelphia church 15 years ago surrendered to authorities Thursday night.
Father Andrew McCormick, 56, turned himself into police at the Special Victims Unit Thursday night.
According to investigators, Fr. McCormick is charged with seven counts of sexual assault from an alleged incident in 1997 that involved a 10-year-old alter boy.
At the time, Fr. McCormick was a priest and in charge of the altar boy program at St. John Cantius Church in Bridesburg. He then went to St. Bede the Venerable Parish in Holland (Bucks County).
Police say McCormick befriended his alleged victim in order to attack him.
“He started having him come serve Mass and have sodas and cookies…after several of those events, it led to a trip upstairs,” said Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams.
Authorities say the alleged victim came forward in late 2011, motivated in part by the Sandusky investigation at Penn State and the Philadelphia Archdiocese sex scandal.
“I applaud the courage of this young man. He was able to do what sadly so many other victims of sexual abuse have not been able to do,” said Williams.
Since 2004, Fr. McCormick has been the pastor at Sacred Heart Church in Swedesburg, Pennsylvania.
Fr. McCormick was named in a 2011 Grand Jury report and was one of 26 priests that was placed on leave by then Archbishop of Philadelphia Cardinal Justin Rigali.
DA Williams believes there may be more alleged victims because of his involvement with altar boys, and he reportedly took trips to Poland with them.
Defense Attorney William Brennan says, “We’re going to review the evidence, or lack there of, and see where we are headed with Father McCormick.
McCormick has been charged with Indecent Sexual Assault, Statutory Sexual Assault, Sexual Assault, Indecent Assault, Indecent Exposure, Endangering the Welfare of a Child and Corruption of a Minor. He was released on bail late Friday night.