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Philly priest, teacher get prison time for boy's sexual assault

By CNN Staff
updated 3:12 PM EDT, Wed June 12, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Priest, teacher were convicted of assaulting boy in separate incidents more than decade ago
  • District attorney to sex assault victims: Case shows you'll be heard if you come forward
  • Victim, now in his 20s, was abused while attending Catholic school in Philadelphia

(CNN) -- A Philadelphia Catholic priest was sentenced Wednesday to six to 12 years in prison, and a teacher at the same parish was sentenced to eight to 16 years in prison in a case involving the sexual assault of an elementary school student.

The Rev. Charles Engelhardt, who was a priest at St. Jerome Parish in northeast Philadelphia, was convicted in January for the indecent assault of a 10-year-old boy in the late 1990s.

The parochial teacher, Bernard Shero, who authorities said raped the same boy in 2000, was convicted of rape, attempted rape, involuntary deviant sexual intercourse, indecent sexual assault and other charges.

Philadelphia archdiocese finds 2 priests unsuitable for ministry

Both men also must serve five years of probation after prison, the judge ordered at Wednesday's sentencing.

"This prison sentence sends a clear message to sexual assault victims in Philadelphia. If you come forward, you will be heard," Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said. "I would also like to compliment the jury for its hard work in carefully sifting through the evidence and coming up with a just verdict."

The victim, now in his 20s, reported to authorities in 2009 that he was sexually abused while he was in Catholic grade school by Engelhardt, Shero and another priest, Edward Avery. A grand jury determined his allegations had merit, and the priests were subsequently charged and arrested. They were among dozens of Philadelphia priests accused of sex abuse in the grand jury report.

Avery pleaded guilty after admitting he sexually assaulted the boy and was sentenced to 2½ to five years in prison.

Besides indecent assault, Engelhardt also was convicted of endangering the welfare of a child, corruption of a minor and conspiracy.

Shero's other convictions were for endangering the welfare of a child and corruption of a minor.

CNN's Sarah Hoye contributed to this report.

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