A Roman Catholic priest and a former Catholic school teacher are set to go on trial on charges they raped a former altar boy.
Jury selection is set to begin Monday in the case of the Rev. Charles Engelhardt and Bernard Shero. It had been spun off from last year's high-profile trial of a church official accused of helping the Philadelphia archdiocese cover up abuse complaints.
SNAP, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests released a statement regarding the trial:
"We strongly suspect that there are current and former Catholic employees who know about or suspect child sex crimes by Fr. Charles Engelhardt and Bernard Shero. Though pedophiles are very secretive, often others who live or work with or near them have some evidence that can help prosecutors.
So we urge anyone with knowledge of these men and their wrongdoing to speak up now. It’s irresponsible to stay silent and risk that one or both of these defendants may get off on a technicality."
The 65-year-old Engelhardt and the 49-year-old Shero have pleaded not guilty. They are accused of assaulting an altar boy from northeast Philadelphia in the late 1990s.
Their lawyers wanted them tried separately from the defendants in last year's case. The 61-year-old Rev. William Lynn is appealing his landmark conviction in that case, while serving a three- to six-year prison term.
Click here for full statement from SNAP