Friday, June 1, 2012

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.

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