Yesterday stands as another great moment in the child protection movement and the search for justice for survivors of clergy sexual abuse. A Philadelphia jury convicted Rev. Charles Engelhardt, a priest, and Bernard Shero, a teacher, on several counts arising from the childhood sexual abuse of a 24-year old man. Both men now face more than a decade in prison.
This important moment comes on the heels of the June conviction of Monsignor William Lynn, former Secretary for Clergy in the Archdiocese, for felony child endangerment, stemming from his role in moving predator priests and failing to address reports of child sexual abuse from 1992 to 2004. For his crimes, Lynn was sentenced to 3-6 years in prison.
These phenomenal achievements are due to the leadership and dedication of Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, former District Attorney Lynne M. Abraham, and the entire Office of the Philadelphia District Attorney. These champions for children have pursued accountability in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for over a decade. Their tireless efforts have fostered hope for accountability and justice for survivors across the country. We applaud their commitment and their courage and are eternally grateful.
Jeff Anderson is an attorney and advocate working with survivors of clergy sexual abuse at Jeff Anderson & Associates.