Defense Rests In Philadelphia Clergy-Abuse Case - Philadelphia News, Weather and Sports from WTXF FOX 29

Defense Rests In Philadelphia Clergy-Abuse Case

Posted: Updated: May 30, 2012
PHILADELPHIA -

The defense teams rested on Tuesday for two priests on trial in a clergy sex abuse case involving the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

After three days of testimony, Monsignor William Lynn stepped off the stand. During his third day of testimony on Tuesday, Lynn apologized for the abuse to one of defrocked Edward Avery's main victims. The victim testified in April, detailing the abuse he suffered at the hands of Avery.

Avery, whom was scheduled to stand on trial with Lynn and Rev. James Brennan, pleaded guilty right before the trial began in March. He was sentenced to 2 ½ to five years in prison.

The cross-examination of Lynn by Assistant District Attorney Patrick Blessington was contentious. At times, Lynn was visibly annoyed at the prosecutor's questions, swiveling in his chair and giving quick quips for answers.

Lynn continually reiterated that he did everything he could for the sexual abuse victims. Although, he said his power to remove priests from their parishes was limited by the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua.

Lynn even declared to the court, "I was not the Archbishop of Philadelphia."

The cross-examination ended with Lynn maintaining he did the best he could with the authority he had.

"I thought I was trying to do the right thing," Lynn said. "I've had many victims who told me I've helped them."

Lynn's defense team closed their examination with a slew of character witnesses, all whom testified that Lynn had a "stellar" reputation. Over 24 character witnesses came to court on his behalf.

Brennan's defense followed suit and also brought in several character witnesses. They testified that Brennan has a "very good" reputation amongst family, friends and parishioners.

Both defenses resting marks a major milestone in the case. Closing arguments from the prosecution and both defenses is expected on Thursday, followed by the reading of the charges to the jury on Friday.

Lynn is the highest-ranking cleric in the Roman Catholic Church to be charged with endangering children and conspiracy regarding sexual misconduct with minors. Lynn is on trial with Brennan, who is charged with the attempted rape of a 14-year-old boy in 1996. Both men have pleaded not guilty to the allegations brought against them.

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