Prosecution Rests in Philadelphia Archdiocese Child Sex Abuse Trial
The prosecution rested its case on Thursday against Philadelphia Archdiocese Monsignor William Lynn, the most senior U.S. clergyman to go to trial in the Roman Catholic Church’s pedophilia scandal.
During nearly eight weeks of startling testimony about the lurid lives of predatory priests, Lynn, a former secretary of the clergy, has sat stoically in his clerical garb as the case unfolded in an often-packed courtroom.
Lynn, 61, is charged with child endangerment and conspiracy over accusations he covered up child sex abuse allegations against priests, many of whom were simply transferred to unsuspecting parishes.
He faces the possibility of 28 years in prison if convicted.
The trial that started on March 26 has drawn a spotlight on the Philadelphia Archdiocese, the nation’s sixth largest with 1.5 million members, in a case experts say is likely being watched by the Vatican.
Defense lawyers promised to begin their case on Tuesday to bolster Lynn’s argument that he acted responsibly, reporting allegations to higher officials, but was overruled.
Lynn served in essence as the personnel director of the archdiocese under the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, the long-time archbishop of Philadelphia.
Bevilacqua, who died at age 88 just two months before the trial began, nonetheless became a key figure as defense lawyers repeatedly portrayed Lynn as merely carrying out the directions of his boss, the archbishop.