No question but that Catholic priest Andrew McCormick had one of the region's most respected criminal defense lawyers for his trial in March for allegedly sexually assaulting a 10-year-old altar boy in 1997 at St. John Cantius church in Bridesburg.
Now, more than a month after the Philadelphia Common Pleas Court jury deadlocked in its deliberations, it seems lawyer William J. Brennan Jr. may be irreplaceable.
On Monday, McCormick, 57, was supposed to tell Judge Gwendolyn N. Bright the name of the lawyer who will represent him in the retrial. Instead, McCormick told the judge he was still lawyer-less although the reasons why were not explained.
Bright gave McCormick until May 29.
Brennan, appearing exhausted, withdrew as McCormick's lawyer after the March 12 mistrial. Earlier, the veteran lawyer said he felt uncomfortable after discovering shortly before trial that he knew the extended family of the alleged victim.
Bright has imposed a gag order on all parties to try to limit publicity about the case.
McCormick, ordained in 1982, was pastor of Sacred Heart parish near Bridgeport, Montgomery County, when he and 26 Roman Catholic priests were suspended in March 2011 by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for possible inappropriate conduct with children. The suspension did not involve the alleged victim in the trial in March.