January 31, 2013 Comments Off on Priest, teacher convicted in Philadelphia sex abuse case
Priest, teacher convicted in Philadelphia sex abuse case
Associated Press January 30, 2013
PHILADELPHIA — A jury convicted a priest and teacher today in a pivotal church-abuse case that rocked the Philadelphia archdiocese and sent a church official to prison for child endangerment.
The verdict upholds the stunning account from a troubled 24-year-old policeman’s son that he was sexually abused as a boy by two priests and his sixth-grade teacher. One priest took a plea deal before trial, while the jury convicted the Rev. Charles Engelhardt and former teacher Bernard Shero of all but one count.
The 2009 complaint describing the abuse led to the landmark conviction last year of Monsignor William Lynn, the longtime secretary for clergy in Philadelphia. Lynn is serving three to six years in prison for his role transferring an admitted pedophile priest to the accuser’s northeast Philadelphia parish. A string of priest victims testified in Lynn’s case, but none said they had been passed around like the policeman’s son….
The jury convicted Shero, 49, of Levittown, of rape, indecent sexual assault and other charges. They convicted Engelhardt, 66, of Wyndmoor, of charges including indecent assault of a child under 13, corruption of a minor and conspiracy with Avery. The jury deadlocked on one count, an indecent sexual assault count against Engelhardt, after deliberating since late Friday.
Jury finds Jerry Sandusky guilty on dozens of child sex abuse charges, Philadelphia Priest Trial: Jury Reaches Split Verdict In Case Of Monsignor William Lynn
June 23, 2012 Comments Off on Jury finds Jerry Sandusky guilty on dozens of child sex abuse charges, Philadelphia Priest Trial: Jury Reaches Split Verdict In Case Of Monsignor William Lynn
Jury finds Jerry Sandusky guilty on dozens of child sex abuse charges
By the CNN Wire Staff June 22, 2012
Bellefonte, Pennsylvania (CNN) — Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was found guilty Friday on 45 of 48 counts related to sexual abuse of boys over a 15-year period.
Jurors delivered the verdict around 10 p.m. after deliberating for about 21 hours. There were convictions related to all 10 sexual abuse victims, with the three not-guilty verdicts applying to three different individuals….
During closing arguments, prosecutors described the ex-Nittany Lions defensive coordinator as a pedophile who preyed on victims using a charity he founded for troubled children, repeatedly abusing young boys in his care.
Sandusky, 68, had pleaded not guilty to the 48 charges of child sex abuse that spanned a 15-year period….
After a week of testimony, during which time witnesses graphically described sexual encounters with Sandusky that they said occurred durijng their boyhoods, jurors made their decision without ever having heard from Sandusky on the witness stand….
Eight young men testified, often in disturbingly graphic detail, of how Sandusky forced them to engage in sexual acts in various places, including showers in the Penn State coaches’ locker room, hotel rooms and the basement of his home.
One told jurors that Sandusky — whom he met, like many of the accusers, through The Second Mile foundation that the ex-coach founded — had threatened him if he told others about the abuse. Another said Sandusky warned him that he might send him home from a trip to Texas, where they’d gone to watch a Penn State bowl game.
The defense challenged the accusers’ timetable, questioned the various allegations and called multiple character witness to defend Sandusky’s stellar reputation in the community. http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/22/justice/pennsylvania-sandusky-trial/index.html
Philadelphia Priest Trial: Jury Reaches Split Verdict In Case Of Monsignor William Lynn
By MARYCLAIRE DALE 06/22/12
PHILADELPHIA — A Roman Catholic church official was convicted of child endangerment but acquitted of conspiracy Friday in a landmark clergy-abuse trial, making him the first U.S. church official branded a felon for covering up abuse claims.
Monsignor William Lynn helped the archdiocese keep predators in ministry, and the public in the dark, by telling parishes their priests were being removed for health reasons and then sending the men to unsuspecting churches, prosecutors said.
Lynn, 61, served as secretary for clergy from 1992 to 2004, mostly under Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua….
Lynn had faced about 10 to 20 years in prison if convicted of all three counts he faced – conspiracy and two counts of child endangerment. He was convicted of only a single endangerment count, which carries a possible 3 1/2- to seven-year prison term.
The jury could not reach a verdict for Lynn’s co-defendant, the Rev. James Brennan, who was accused of sexually abusing a 14-year-old boy in 1999.
Despite Lynn’s acquittal on the conspiracy charge, the trial exposed how deeply involved the late cardinal was in dealing with accused priests.
Bevilacqua had the final say on what to do with priests accused of abuse, transferred many of them to new parishes and dressed down anyone who complained, according to testimony. He also ordered the shredding of a 1994 list that Lynn prepared, warning that the archdiocese had three diagnosed pedophiles, a dozen confirmed predators and another 20 possible abusers in its midst.
Church lawyers turned over a surviving copy of the list days after Bevilacqua died….
With the verdict, after 13 days of deliberations, jurors concluded that prosecutors failed to show that Lynn was part of a conspiracy to move predator priests around.
The jury, however, did find that Lynn endangered the victim of defrocked priest Edward Avery, who pleaded guilty before trial to a 1999 sexual assault. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/22/philadelphia-priest-trial_n_1619355.html
Soap opera comparison in Sandusky trial and coaches showering with kids just isn’t normal, Jurors Report Split Over Church Abuse Charges
June 21, 2012 Comments Off on Soap opera comparison in Sandusky trial and coaches showering with kids just isn’t normal, Jurors Report Split Over Church Abuse Charges
Soap opera comparison in Sandusky trial adds insult to tragedy
Alleged abuse victims weren’t characters on daytime drama — and coaches showering with kids just isn’t normal
John Kass June 20, 2012
….If you don’t think something’s wrong with an adult naked in a shower with kids, then you’re not a parent. But this week, Amendola put witnesses on the stand to say that it’s not unusual for grown men to take showers with children at Penn State. The witnesses said it was normal.
So we asked some experienced coaches if it was normal here, in Illinois.
“That type of thing is not part of any culture or system I’ve been in in high school or college or as a coach,” said Brett Detering, 1st vice president of the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association. “There are separate facilities for coaches and students.”
Detering is the head coach at Anna-Jonesboro High School in southern Illinois. He played football in high school and in college, and he’s been coaching for 17 years. And he doesn’t take showers with his players. He’s never taken showers with his players.
“I would say that’s just common sense,” Coach Detering said of not showering with his players. “How anyone could be confused about that is beyond me.”
John Elder, executive director of the Illinois Coaches Association, spent 40 years as a football coach at Alexis High School in western Illinois, and retired from coaching eight years ago. He played at Alexis as a boy.
“But it was not normal, even then, for coaches to shower with the team,” Elder said. “It wouldn’t have been done back in the day, and it definitely wouldn’t be done today.” http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/ct-met-kass-0620-20120620,0,4414967.column
Jurors Report Split Over Church Abuse Charges
By JON HURDLE and ERIK ECKHOLM June 20, 2012
PHILADELPHIA — In its 12th day of deliberations, the jury in the landmark trial of a Roman Catholic Church official accused of covering up sexual abuses by other priests said Wednesday that it was deadlocked on four of the five charges in the trial.
“We, the jury, are at a hung jury status on all charges except for one,” jurors said in a note that was read aloud by Judge M. Teresa Sarmina of the Court of Common Pleas.
The judge instructed the jury to keep trying to reach unanimous agreement on all five charges. The church official, Msgr. William J. Lynn, is accused of two counts of endangering the welfare of children and one of conspiracy. A priest, the Rev. James J. Brennan, faces charges of endangerment and attempted rape. Deliberations will resume on Friday.
Monsignor Lynn, 61, served as secretary for clergy for the 1.5 million-member Archdiocese of Philadelphia from 1992 to 2004, in charge of recommending jobs for priests and investigating charges of sexual abuse. He is the first church official in the United States to be tried on accusations of enabling the depredations of priests, rather than committing abuses himself. Prosecutors said he had repeatedly played down credible accusations of abuse, lied to inquiring parents and parish officials about predatory priests and reassigned them to unwary parishes. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/21/us/monsignor-lynn-jury-says-it-is-deadlocked.html
June 8, 2012 Comments Off on A Troubled Silence, Jury breaks without verdict in Philadelphia church abuse case
Op-Ed Contributor – A Troubled Silence
By RICHARD B. GARTNER June 7, 2012
THE revelation this week of alleged widespread child abuse at the elite Horace Mann School in New York City, most of it occurring during the 1970s and ’80s, is only the most recent instance of men coming forward, many years after the fact, with horrific stories of sexual molesting from their childhood.
Most of those accused of the abuse in the Horace Mann case are dead, but under New York State law, if alive they would most likely be safe from justice. The state’s statute of limitations on child abuse is five years from the victim’s 18th birthday. After age 23, the victim has no recourse.
Yet young adults, particularly men, who suffer the aftereffects of abuse are rarely in an emotional state to bring charges. Given what we now know about why it takes victims so long to come forward, the law needs to be changed.
Many people cast a skeptical eye on those who wait so long to reveal instances of child abuse, particularly when it happened to them as teenagers. They assume that accusers are making it up, blaming what were at most minor incidents for their troubles.
But in my decades of experience working with abuse victims, I have found that men spend years putting their emotions in a deep freeze or masking post-traumatic reactions with self-defeating behaviors like compulsive gambling and substance abuse. Eventually, they are forced by internal or external events to find treatment….
Finally, since boyhood abuse was not part of the public conversation until recently, many boys and men assumed their experiences were repulsive and aberrant. And a man who has not talked about it might feel it would be humiliating to first disclose it in middle age or later. Needless to say, the decades spent trying to bury the memories rarely work….
Things may be changing, thanks, in part, to the recent spate of abuse revelations. Many older victims have gained the courage to come forward. In my own practice, I received almost as many calls from sexually abused men in December and January, soon after allegations surfaced about abuse by the former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, as I usually get in a year. With Mr. Sandusky’s trial set to begin next week, I expect to get even more calls.
But more needs to be done. Every year since 2005, Margaret M. Markey, a New York State assemblywoman, has introduced a bill to extend the statute of limitations for five more years, a modest increase; it would also create a one-year window for adults up to age 53 to bring charges against alleged abusers. The bill has passed the Assembly four times but has consistently been blocked from coming to the floor of the Senate, largely thanks to fierce lobbying by the Roman Catholic Church….
Richard B. Gartner is a psychologist and psychoanalyst and the author of “Beyond Betrayal: Taking Charge of Your Life After Boyhood Sexual Abuse.”
Jury breaks without verdict in Philadelphia church abuse case
June 7, 2012 PHILADELPHIA (Reuters)
A Philadelphia jury ended its fifth day of deliberations on Thursday without reaching a verdict in the child sex abuse trial of a Roman Catholic monsignor, the highest-ranking U.S. clergyman to stand trial in the church’s wide-ranging pedophilia scandal. Monsignor William Lynn, who supervised hundreds of priests in the Philadelphia Archdiocese for 12 years as secretary of the clergy, is accused of conspiracy and child endangerment. If convicted on all charges, he faces the possibility of 21 years in prison….
Prosecutors say Lynn, 61, covered up child sex abuse allegations, often by transferring priests to unsuspecting parishes.
Lynn’s motive was to avoid scandal and any potential loss of money for the church, they argued. His job was to supervise 800 priests, which included investigating sex abuse claims, from 1992 to 2004.
The defense said Lynn tried to handle documented cases of pedophile priests, making a list in 1994 of 35 accused predators and writing memos to suggest treatment and suspensions. He was hampered because he could only make recommendations to the head of the archdiocese, Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, who died in January at age 88, the defense said….
The Philadelphia jury also is deliberating the fate of the Reverend James Brennan, 48, who is charged with child endangerment and the attempted rape of a 14-year-old child in 1996.
June 3, 2012 Comments Off on Jury begins deliberations in landmark Philadelphia priest sex-abuse trial
Jury begins deliberations in landmark Philadelphia priest sex-abuse trial
By Joseph A. Slobodzian and John P. Martin INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS Sat, Jun. 2, 2012
Jurors on Friday began deliberating charges in the landmark conspiracy and sex-abuse trial involving Archdiocese of Philadelphia priests.
The seven men and five women got the case around noon, after more than an hour of instructions from Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina. She excused six alternate jurors but cautioned two that they could be recalled during deliberations.
With the courtroom doors locked, Sarmina explained for the panel the law and the charges against Msgr. William J. Lynn and the Rev. James J. Brennan. Jurors will be asked to sift through almost 11 weeks of evidence, including nearly 2,000 records, many of which documented decades of abuse by priests….
Prosecutors have argued that Lynn moved accused priests around to different parishes, enabling them to prey upon other children. Lynn, who testified in his own defense, denied the allegations and said his actions were limited by his official role; he said only Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua had the power to remove or transfer priests.
June 2, 2012 Comments Off on Closing arguments made in Philadelphia clergy sex abuse case
Closing arguments made in Philadelphia clergy sex abuse case
May 31, 2012
PHILADELPHIA — As the official in charge of investigating clergy sex abuse for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Monsignor William J. Lynn bravely “put a spotlight” on the shame of the Catholic Church, one of his lawyers told jurors Thursday.
A prosecutor called Lynn’s actions something else: just shameful.
“He and everyone else who protected pedophile priests were murdering the souls of children,” Assistant District Attorney Patrick Blessington said.
The conflicting portraits emerged during a day of closing arguments in the landmark prosecution of Lynn and the Rev. James J. Brennan. The jury of six men and six women is scheduled to begin deliberations today.
The summations capped an 11-week trial in which more than 60 witnesses, including Lynn and almost two dozen alleged abuse victims, testified. Jurors also saw nearly 2,000 documents, most from secret church archives, that showed accused clerics being shuffled among parishes. Many were records Lynn drafted or reviewed during a 12-year tenure as the late Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua’s adviser on clergy sex abuse….
Lynn, 61, is accused of one count of conspiracy and two of endangering children for allegedly recommending that his codefendant, Brennan, 48, and another priest, Edward Avery, be allowed to live or work in parishes despite suspecting they would abuse children.
Now defrocked, Avery pleaded guilty before trial to sexually assaulting a 10-year-old altar boy in 1999, seven years after Lynn first fielded an abuse allegation about him.