National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Philly abuse trial: Prosecution rests its case

 |  NCR Today

After eight weeks, the prosecution in the trial against two Philadelphia priests has rested its case.

From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

After calling nearly 50 witnesses and presenting close to 1,900 documents over eight weeks, prosecutors on Thursday rested their case in the landmark trial involving child sex abuse by Archdiocese of Philadelphia priests.

The team of district attorneys ended by letting jurors handle what they contend is the closest thing to a smoking gun in the case: a tattered gray folder that had been hidden in a locked safe at archdiocesan offices for more than a decade.

Inside were handwritten and typed records, including a list that Msgr. William J. Lynn drafted in 1994 naming about three dozen priests who had admitted or were accused of sexual misconduct with minors, and other documents suggesting the church was girding against a possible wave of lawsuits.

Help keep NCR going!
We rely on donations to bring you the latest news.
Donate today.

The trial against Lynn is the first charging a U.S. church official not for sexual abuse, but for the cover-up of such abuse.

Though Lynn and co-defendant the Rev. James J. Brennan were initially charged with conspiracy, the Inquirer reported that Judge M. Teresa Sarmina dismissed those charges Thursday, saying the prosecution failed to prove a conspiracy between the two. Lynn still faces one charge of conspiracy with former co-defendant defrocked priest Edward Avery.

Brennan stands accused of attempted rape of a 14-year-old boy in 1996, and Lynn faces charges of child endangerment, for allowing Brennan and Avery to remain in ministry despite abuse allegations against them. Before the trial began, Avery pleaded guilty to a 1999 sexual assault of an altar boy.

The defense will begin its case Tuesday, still uncertain if Lynn will take the stand.

NCR Comment code: (Comments can be found below)

Before you can post a comment, you must verify your email address at Disqus.com/verify.
Comments from unverified email addresses will be deleted.

  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the original idea will be deleted. NCR reserves the right to close comment threads when discussions are no longer productive.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report abuse" button. Once a comment has been flagged, an NCR staff member will investigate.

For more detailed guidelines, visit our User Guidelines page.

For help on how to post a comment, visit our reference page.

 

Feature-flag_GSR_start-reading.jpg

NCR Email Alerts

 

In This Issue

August 15-28, 2014

08-15-2014.jpg

Not all of our content is online. Subscribe to receive all the news and features you won't find anywhere else.