Prosecutors in the Philadelphia Archdiocese clergy-abuse trial charged that Monsignor William Lynn lied to police about numerous accusations involving a priest.
Countless documents detailing passionate kissing and inappropriate touching by former priest Nicholas Cudemo were read to the jury on Thursday. Between the 1960s and 1970s, Cudemo allegedly sexually assaulted at least eleven young girls, including three of his cousins.
Cudemo's molestations occurred before Lynn's tenure as secretary of clergy, from 1992 to 2004. The first allegation of abuse took place in 1966, when Cudemo was an assistant pastor at St. Stanislaus parish in Lansdale. Cudemo was laicized in 2005.
The archdiocese first learned of the abuse in 1991. Lynn and his then-supervisor, Monsignor James Molloy, documented the complaints in various memorandums. Various women, including Cudemo's three cousins, came and told their horrifying stories of "mind control", fondling and oral sex.
The records read aloud to the courtroom indicated that Molloy and Lynn met with Cudemo multiple times. Cudemo continually denied and deflected the allegations. According to a memo, he said "a lot of people are out to get me in my life," and that people were "crucifying" him.
Cudemo was assigned a set of recommendations which included hospitalization. He told Lynn that he could not comply with these directives.
In 2001, Philadelphia Police Officer Denise Holmes asked to meet with Lynn regarding a report of sexual abuse she had received against Cudemo. Holmes said the woman claimed to be abused about 20 years ago while she was attending school at St. Irenaeus in Philadelphia.
According to a memo Lynn filed, Holmes asked Lynn if any of Cudemo's accusers went to St. Irenaeus, in which Lynn said no. However, he did know of another victim of Cudemo's that attended St. Irenaeus. He also said that all complaints of Cudemo came from family members.
Upon cross-examination, defender Jeff Lindy pointed out that Molloy was the primary investigator of these matters in 1991, when allegations first arose. He painted Lynn as the mere note taker in the various meetings.
Although Cudemo is not on trial with Monsignor William Lynn and Rev. James Brennan, prosecutors are using past allegations and decisions to bolster their case that Lynn buried allegations of molestation by members in the priesthood, and moved accused priests to unwitting parishes.
Lynn is the first Roman Catholic Church official to be criminally charged for endangering the welfare of a child. Lynn stands on trial with Brennan, who is accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy in 1996. Both men have pleaded not guilty.