A hung jury resulted last spring in the mistrial of the Rev. Andrew McCormick on child sex-assault charges. Lawyers in the retrial that started this week spent parts of four days to select a jury before opening arguments could be heard Thursday afternoon.
The Philadelphia Common Pleas Court jury of 10 women and two men heard accusations that McCormick, 58, abused a 10-year-old altar boy in 1997 at St. John Cantius Catholic Church in Bridesburg.
Assistant District Attorney Kristen Kemp, in her opening statement, showed the jury an old photo of the boy while describing a troubled child victimized by a man of authority.
Trevan Borum, McCormick's attorney, cautioned the jury about commiserating with the accuser, who will testify, and his family.
"It's going to be impossible not to sympathize with them," Borum said in his opener. "Do not personalize this case."
McCormick, Borum said, had been a well-respected priest for 30 years. Only one altar boy ever levied accusations of molestation, he added.
Borum agreed to represent McCormick after his previous defense attorney, William J. Brennan Jr., withdrew following the mistrial.
Kemp will present witnesses, including a cousin and a high school friend of the accuser, who will testify that the accuser confided details of the alleged assault with them years ago.
McCormick, Kemp said, lured the boy to his residence with promises of cookies and soda. He then undressed the boy and tried to force him to perform a sex act.
"The defendant lost control in an instant," Kemp said. "He was not the Father Andy that was trusted."
Kemp said that after the attack, the young man had to overcome suicide attempts and substance-abuse problems to forge a successful life.
The jury in McCormick's first trial deliberated for 29 hours before ending deadlocked last March 12. Retrials are supposed to occur within 120 days, but this case was delayed because of Borum's trial schedule.
Judge Gwendolyn Bright issued a gag order for all parties involved in the retrial.