By Mark Abrams

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Felony sex assault charges have been reinstated against a suspended Roman Catholic priest who is alleged to have molested an altar boy at a Bridesburg parish in 1997.

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Acting on a plea for review from the district attorney’s office, Philadelphia Common Pleas Court judge Paula Patrick today overturned a lower magistrate’s decision to throw out three felony sex assault charges against Andrew McCormick, 56.

Municipal Court judge Karen Simmons had dismissed those charges in August after McCormick’s attorney, William Brennan, argued during a preliminary hearing that the alleged facts didn’t justify the charges (see related story).

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But prosecutor Sean O’Neill says the charges for the alleged incident inside McCormick’s bedroom in St. John Cantius Church rectory with the boy did meet the legal standard for felonies.

“The defendant forced the child, when he was approximately nine years old, to engage in a sexual activity, obviously without his consent,” O’Neill says.

The alleged victim came forward with the allegations last December.

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McCormick, who was named in a 2011 Philadelphia grand jury report on clerical sex abuse, was suspended from priestly ministry by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia (see related story).  He remains free on bail pending an October 23rd court arraignment hearing.