Landmark Priest-Abuse Case Wraps Up Fifth Week of Testimony - Philadelphia News, Weather and Sports from WTXF FOX 29

Landmark Priest-Abuse Case Wraps Up Fifth Week of Testimony

Posted: Updated: April 27, 2012
PHILADELPHIA -

The prosecution in the priest-sex-abuse trial involving the Philadelphia Archdiocese wrapped up its fifth week of brutal testimony and documents concerning the deviant acts of priests under Monsignor William Lynn.

Prosecutors allege that Lynn, who was secretary for clergy from 1992 to 2004, chose primarily to protect the church from scandal. However, the defense paints a different picture of Lynn; a man who followed the orders of his superior, the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua.

Two victims of defrocked priest Edward Avery told the jury about the sexual abuse they both suffered. One man even spoke to Lynn directly but said he did not get the feeling Lynn saw his story as "credible".

Avery, who was set to be on trial with Lynn, pleaded guilty at the last minute to sexually abuse and conspiring to endanger children with Lynn.

Several different files on accused priests were also read to the jury throughout the week, showing that complaints came forward, but rarely followed up on by the church. Prosecutors are using past allegations and decisions to bolster their case that Lynn buried allegations of molestation by members in the priesthood, and shuffled accused priests to unwitting parishes.

"It shows how outrageous his activity and inactivity was," Assistant District Attorney Patrick Blessington said.

Next week the prosecution will bring more focus to Rev. James Brennan, who is on trial with Lynn. Monsignor Kevin Quirk is scheduled to take the stand; he was one of the judges in Brennan's 2008 canonical trial.

Quirk is now under the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese in West Virginia and is Bishop Michael Bransfield's assistant.

Last week, two victims of Rev. Stanley Gana mentioned Bransfield, a close friend of Gana's, in their testimonies. One victim alleged that Gana told him Bransfield was having sex with a male teenager.

Bransfield released a statement denying his involvement with minors. He is not on trial and has yet to be charged with these allegations.

Lynn has pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy in endangering the welfare of a child, and Brennan has pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy in 1996.

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