A 23-year old man testified in court Wednesday that as a 10-year old altar boy he was forced by an unnamed Catholic priest to perform a strip tease in a church storage room, Reuters reports:
Wednesday’s witness testified that in 1998 when he was 10 years old and serving as an altar boy, he was abused by Rev. Charles Engelhardt and Edward Avery, who is no longer a priest, at St. Jerome’s in northeast Philadelphia. Reuters does not identify victims of sexual assault unless they come forward to identify themselves.
Avery ordered him to do a strip tease in a church storage room, he testified.
“I was swaying back and forth and took off my clothes,” he said before detailing sex acts that he said Avery demanded.
He said that before the abuse incidents: “I was happy. I was outgoing, a people person.” In the years that followed, he said he battled drug abuse and as a teenager attempted suicide.
“He told me God loves me, this is what God wants, and it was time for me to become a man,” the witness told jurors,” according to a CNN report:
The boy, now in his 20s, was in the fifth grade when Avery undressed with him in a small storage room, told him that God loved him, had him engage in oral intercourse and then ejaculated on him.
When asked why he didn’t tell anyone about the incident, he said he was “too scared.”
“I thought that I would get into trouble and that no one would believe me,” he said. “I thought I did something wrong, and, he’s a priest.”
The testimony took place during the trial of William Lynn (image: top, left), the highest ranking U.S. member of the Catholic Church to date to stand trial.
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