Blogger Kristen Byrne is in the courtroom at the Philadelphia Archdiocese priest-abuse trial.
The defense in a landmark priest-sex-abuse case involving the Philadelphia Archdiocese will have to tread softly as they question a former priest's victim tomorrow. Defrocked priest Edward Avery, whom pleaded guilty, is no longer on trial with Monsignor William Lynn and Rev. James Brennan.
Though Avery does not stand on trial he has become a prominent player this past week.
Defense attorneys and prosecutors argued over whether the jury should be informed of Avery's guilty plea in lieu of his victim's testimony. The defense argued that Avery's plea could incriminate Lynn, who is charged with conspiracy and endangering the welfare of a child.
Today, Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina did not give a definitive ruling on the defense's request to mum Avery's guilty plea. Sarmina said her ruling will depend on the defense's cross-examination, and whether or not they attack the credibility of the victim.
The judge even suggested the jury might hear a testimony from Avery.
Avery was originally set to be on trial with Lynn and Brennan, but pleaded guilty at the last minute to sexually molesting a 10-year-old altar boy and conspiring to endanger children with Lynn. He is set to spend 2 ½ to five years in prison. Avery's guilty plea did not require him to testify against Lynn.
The prosecution alleges that Lynn knew about Avery's past, but transferred him to different parishes to avoid laicization from the archdiocese. However, the defense holds that Lynn made an effort to remove Avery from children.
Lynn and Brennan have pleaded not guilty to the charges against them. Brennan is on trial for sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy in 1996 and conspiring with Lynn.