After two Philadelphia juries failed to reach a verdict in 12 months, the District Attorney's Office announced Friday it would not retry Rev. Andrew McCormick, a Roman Catholic priest accused of sexually assaulting a 10-year-old altar boy almost 18 years ago in a Bridesburg parish.
Assistant District Attorney Kristen Kemp, backed by key members of her office's sex-crimes unit, announced the decision in a brief hearing before Common Pleas Court Judge Gwendolyn N. Bright.
While approving the dismissal, Bright told Kemp and defense attorney Trevan Borum that she wanted her gag order barring them or the parties, including McCormick, from commenting obeyed until April 16.
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Both Kemp and Borum said they would speak after the order is lifted.
The dismissal of charges means an end to the threat of prison for the 58-year-old McCormick, a priest since 1982.
But it is also unlikely McCormick will return to a parish any time soon.
Before he was criminally charged in July 2012, McCormick had been suspended in March 2011 from the Sacred Heart parish near Bridgeport. He and 26 other Catholic priests were suspended by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for possible inappropriate conduct with children.
McCormick now lives near Pottstown in Montgomery County.
At his first trial last year, in which McCormick testified in his defense, it was revealed that he had been twice reprimanded for allowing boys in his private rooms.
McCormick also admitted in the first trial that he was among priests investigated in 2004 by a Philadelphia County grand jury for questionable conduct with minors.
Though the judge instructed both juries they could legally return a guilty verdict based solely on the testimony of the alleged victim, now 27, neither jury seemed able to overcome the lack of evidence corroborating his allegations.
McCormick's was charged with five counts: involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault, child endangerment, corruption of a minor, and indecent assault of a minor under 13.
The alleged victim told about a 1997 incident in McCormick's bedroom in the rectory of the St. John Cantius church in Bridesburg in which the priest tried to force him commit a sex act.