Philadelphia Criminal Law News

Yet Another Priest Arrested in Philadelphia: Fr. Andrew McCormick

With the Lynn verdict and sentencing completed and Brennan headed back to trial, you probably thought the news of sexual abuse in Philadelphia would begin to die down. That just doesn't seem to be the case anytime soon, as victims now know that justice can and will be served against those who abused them.

Father Andrew McCormick is the latest priest to be arrested after accusations of the 1997 sexual abuse of a minor at St. John Cantius Church in Bridesburg came to light, according to NBC10. The victim said that he wanted to come forward after seeing the coverage surrounding the Sandusky case. McCormick was already in hot water after being put on leave from Sacred Heart in Swedesburg following a 2011 grand jury report.

Why was he not arrested after the original grand jury report?

Generally, grand juries are assembled to investigate and decide whether or not to formally press charges against a person. The 2011 grand jury report is what led to the arrests of Lynn and Brennan. It is likely that there was suspicion of McCormick’s action, but not enough evidence in the report to formally charge him.

In order to arrest a person, there must be probable cause. Probable cause exists when there is enough evidence to convince a reasonable person that the suspect had committed the crime. This evidence must be tangible evidence and not just the suspicion of the arresting officer. Tangible evidence includes victim testimony, fingerprints, DNA, and similar evidence.

Here, it is likely that there were no victims that came forward about McCormick and no witnesses to the abuse that occurred in 1997. Now that there is a victim that will testify, there is enough evidence to have probable cause to arrest McCormick and potentially enough evidence to convict him of the crime.

Please, if you have been the victim of a crime, especially child abuse, tell the police or other authorities. Otherwise, those who prey on children will continue to do so without any repercussions. We will see if Father Andrew McCormick will become another priest convict after being the latest priest to be arrested in Philadelphia.

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