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.
May 1, 2012 Comments Off on Accuser unleashes fury at Catholic Church, priest admitted to sleepover
Pa. accuser unleashes fury at Catholic Church
By MARYCLAIRE DALE, Associated Press – 4/30/12
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A 47-year-old man unleashed his fury Monday at the Roman Catholic Church, staring down a church official in a Philadelphia courtroom as he described being forced as a child to engage in sex acts with a priest.
The man glared Monday at Monsignor William Lynn at the defense table and complained that only one church representative, a priest friend, had ever apologized.
“It always felt wrong. A man should not touch a child,” said the man, the ninth of 10 children in his Levittown family.
Testifying in the sixth week of a clergy abuse trial focusing on the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the man broke down when he recalled telling his mother in 1998 about being abused by defrocked priest David Sicoli in the late 1970s….
The 61-year-old Lynn is charged with endangering children by keeping accused priests in ministry after reviewing abuse complaints kept in secret archives when he served as secretary for clergy from 1992 to 2004. His lawyers argue that he took orders from the cardinal.
Lynn is on trial with the Rev. James Brennan, who is charged with the attempted rape of a 14-year-old in 1996, when Brennan was on voluntary leave and the boy slept over at his West Chester apartment.http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iXSVeSETzVINRai6wU34yvHjy9Ww?docId=97b8c0852a9944e3a5c89dba3a673266
Testimony: In 2008, priest admitted to sleepover, letting teen look at porn
By Sarah Hoye, CNN Mon April 30, 2012
Philadelphia (CNN) — One of the two Philadelphia priests on trial in a landmark child sexual abuse and conspiracy case admitted in 2008 that he allowed a 14-year-old to view pornography and sleep in the same bed with him during an overnight visit in 1996, according to testimony given to church investigators.
Monsignor Kevin Quirk, the presiding priest over the 2008 canonical trial of Rev. James Brennan, read Brennan’s testimony into the court record on Monday. Brennan is accused of attempted rape in the 1996 incident and is currently standing trial in criminal court.
“Did I allow it happen? Yes. I take full responsibility for it,” Brennan testified in 2008, adding that the behavior was “borderline” inappropriate. Brennan denied touching the 14-year-old or exposing himself, according to the 2008 testimony that Quirk recounted for the court on Monday….
Also on trial is Monsignor William Lynn, the first high-ranking church figure charged with child endangerment. He’s accused of knowingly transferring priests from parish to parish despite allegations of sexual abuse of minors, including Brennan.
Both have pleaded not guilty….
Two grand jury reports accused the archdiocese of failing to investigate claims of sexual abuse of children by priests.
The 2011 report led to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office criminally charging four Philadelphia priests and a parochial school teacher with raping and assaulting boys in their care, while Lynn was accused of allowing the abusive priests to have access to children.
Days before the trial began March 26, defrocked priest Edward Avery of the Philadelphia Archdiocese pleaded guilty to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and conspiracy to endanger the welfare of child after admitting that he sexually assaulted a 10-year-old altar boy during the 1998-1999 school year.
February 12, 2011 Comments Off on Philadelphia Priests Accused by Grand Jury of Sexual Abuse and Cover-Up
Philadelphia Priests Accused by Grand Jury of Sexual Abuse and Cover-Up By JON HURDLE February 10, 2011 PHILADELPHIA
A grand jury on Thursday accused the Archdiocese of Philadelphia of failing to stop the sexual abuse of children more than five years after a grand jury report documented abuse by more than 50 priests. The new report said a senior church official charged with investigating allegations of sexual abuse by priests had in fact allowed some of those accused to remain in posts that gave them continued access to children. It charged him with endangering the welfare of minors and accused three priests and a teacher of raping two boys between 1996 and 1999.
“By no means do we believe that these were the only two parishioners who were abused during this period,” the report said.
At least 37 priests who are subject to “substantial evidence of abuse” are still in roles that bring them into contact with children, the new report said, and 10 of those have been in place since before 2005, when the last grand jury made its allegations….
The report also charged Msgr. William Lynn, secretary of clergy in the archdiocese under former Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua, with endangering the welfare of children by allowing “dangerous” priests to remain in place. Monsignor Lynn was responsible for investigating abuse allegations from 1992 to 2004.
“The rapist priests we accuse were well known to the Secretary of Clergy, but he cloaked their conduct and put them in place to do it again,” the grand jury said….
In a statement issued late on Thursday, Cardinal Justin Rigali, the archbishop of Philadelphia, rejected the report’s assertion that there were active priests who had been credibly accused of abuse….
The report accused the archdiocese of lacking urgency in its efforts to eradicate sexual abuse by its priests….
“These are simply not the actions of an institution that is serious about ending sexual abuse of children,” the report said.
The 124-page report, which contains graphic descriptions of abuse of the 9- and 10-year-old boys, said the grand jury decided “reluctantly” not to press charges against Cardinal Bevilacqua, who stepped down in 2003 after 15 years as archbishop, even though he worked closely with Monsignor Lynn, because it did not have enough evidence.
In 2005, a grand jury report accused the church of an “immoral cover-up” that had exposed hundreds of children to sexual assault. That report recommended no criminal charges.