A PHILADELPHIA Catholic priest took advantage of a quiet kid when he allegedly molested a 10-year-old altar boy in 1997, a prosecutor told a Common Pleas jury yesterday.

The Rev. Andrew McCormick, 58, is being retried a year after a jury remained deadlocked after more than four days of deliberations.

McCormick is accused of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, endangering the welfare of a child and indecent assault of a child under 13 years of age, among other charges.

In her opening statement yesterday, Assistant District Attorney Kristen Kemp said that McCormick had "picked and targeted [the victim] because he wouldn't tell."

The alleged victim, whose name the Daily News is withholding due to the graphic nature of the allegations, is now 28.

The man does not remember the exact date of the alleged incident, but recalls that it was cold outside and that "it was a holy day of obligation," Kemp said in her opening argument.

McCormick allegedly asked the boy, " 'Hey, do you want to see my room upstairs?' " at St. John Cantius Church in Bridesburg, Kemp said.

Once there, the prosecution alleges, McCormick assaulted the boy.

"In an instant, he was not the Father Andy that [the boy] trusted and loved," Kemp told the jury. "He was on him, kissing him and grabbing his genitals."

Kemp further described the priest trying to push his penis into the boy's mouth. When the boy resisted, McCormick allegedly order him to leave.

Kemp said that the alleged victim did not report the incident at that time, but told his cousin a year later and a group on a high-school religious retreat seven years later. Eventually, she said, he told his dad in a middle-of-the-night text message in 2011.

Kemp read the text to the jury: "Hey Dad, I don't want to wake you, but I woke up out of my sleep. And things have been bothering me. And I'm just going to come out and say it. Father Andy molested me."

The defense contends that the alleged victim was a troubled person who "has battled substance abuse for most of his life," McCormick's lawyer, Trevan Borum, said in his opening statement.

"He's been a priest for 30 years," Borum said. "He's served in four different parishes. During that 30 years, he's come into contact with hundreds, if not thousands, of altar boys. [The alleged victim] is the only person in that 30 years that has ever accused Father McCormick of child molestation."

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia placed McCormick on administrative leave in March 2011 in response to allegations of sexual misconduct with minors.

Borum said that when the alleged victim told people at the high-school retreat about the alleged incident "he doesn't say who molested him, he doesn't say when it happened."

The trial continues at 9:30 a.m. today.

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