Two former altar boys on Wednesday described being sexually assaulted decades apart by the Rev. Edward Avery, a priest who remained in ministry for years after the Archdiocese of Philadelphia logged its first complaint about him.
The first witness, a 49-year-old physician, told a Common Pleas Court jury that he was 15 when Avery let him get drunk in a University City bar in the late 1970s, took him home to his nearby rectory and fondled him as he slept. More than a dozen years passed before he confronted Avery in a 1992 letter and sent copies to church officials.
After undergoing treatment at church-owned hospital, Avery was reassigned and allowed to live and celebrate Mass at St. Jerome Church in Northeast Philadelphia. That’s where the second alleged victim said Avery sexually assaulted him twice in the church in 1999, when he was 10.
“This is what God wants,” the priest told him, man testified.
The abuse by Avery and another priest plunged him into years of drug abuse and at least one suicide attem...