By The Associated Press
March 22, 2012
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A defrocked priest pleaded guilty on Thursday to sexually abusing an altar boy, days before he was to go on trial with two other priests in a landmark child sex-abuse case.
Edward Avery, 69, pleaded guilty to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and conspiracy to endanger the welfare of a child. He was sentenced to two and a half to five years in prison.
The charges stem from Mr. Avery's abuse of an altar boy at St. Jerome Parish in Northeast Philadelphia in 1999, when Mr. Avery was 57 and the boy 10.
Two other priests were to go on trial Monday. One is Monsignor William Lynn, the first American church official to be charged with endangering children for failing to oust accused predators from the priesthood or report them to police. The other, the Rev. James Brennan, 48, is accused of assaulting a boy in 1996, while on leave from the church after telling the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua he needed to deal with his sexual abuse as a child.