Sex assault charges re-instated against suspended priest Andrew McCormick

A Common Pleas Court judge today reinstated felony sex assault charges against a priest accused of assaulting a 10-year-old altar boy in a church rectory more than a month after another judge dismissed them.

Common Pleas Court Judge Paula Patrick ruled that prosecutors met the necessary burden to charge Andrew McCormick with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, statutory sexual assault and sexual assault. McCormick is accused of assaulting the boy while he was the pastor at Saint John Cantius in Port Richmond.

In August, Municipal Court Judge Karen Simmons dismissed the most serious charges after defense attorney William Brennan argued that the victim’s testimony of the single incident did not constitute sex assault.

Prosecutors re-filed the charges, which Patrick re-instated. McCormick, who is free on bail, is scheduled for a formal arraignment Oct. 23. He is also charged with endangering the welfare of a child, corrupting the morals of a minor, indecent assault, and indecent exposure, which Simmons had upheld.

McCormick was among 24 priests suspended by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia last year after a grand jury report said priests accused of abuse were still in the ministry. The Archdiocese said McCormick’s suspension was related to a different accusation in 2004.

Of the 24 suspended priests, seven were permanently removed from the ministry, and six were restored. Decisions are pending against the remaining priests.

The Archdiocese said it would turn information about founded accusations against priests over to the District Attorney’s office for possible criminal charges.

Eight civil suits were filed against the Archdiocese last month by alleged victims of priest sex abuse, accusing seven priests. Attorneys for the plaintiffs claim the Archdiocese is engaged in a coverup of sex abuse claims.