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Five Enter Not-Guilty Pleas In Philadelphia Archdiocese Child Sex Abuse Case

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Four current or former priests in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia — including a high-ranking monsignor — and a former Philadelphia parochial school teacher have formally entered their not-guilty pleas as they prepare to stand trial in a child sexual abuse case that has rocked the Philadelphia area (see previous story).

Defense lawyers remain upset that prosecutors have not handed over the discovery they promised: more evidence, including testimony from the grand jury report that named the five defendants (see related story).

But the majority of the hearing today was spent looking at appointment books and cell phone calendars to arrange a date agreeable for presentation of motions.

After the hearing, outside the Criminal Justice Center in Center City, victim advocates criticized the men and the church hierarchy. One group, Massachusetts-based Voice of the Faithful, held a briefing to speak about the consequences of the grand jury report.

Dan Bartley (below), President of the national organization, called the situation in Philadelphia “deeply disturbing.”

Story continues below photo…

bartley dan group Five Enter Not Guilty Pleas In Philadelphia Archdiocese Child Sex Abuse Case

(Dan Bartley, president of National Voice of the Faithful, and members of his group outside Philadelphias Criminal Justice Center on Friday.)

“And it’s further proof that the bishops are incapable of protecting our children and policing themselves,” Bartley told reporters. “Catholics throughout the country and throughout the world should stop giving their time, talent and treasure to this organization until it gets its act together.”

Bartley wants the US Conference of Catholic Bishops to amend its charter to make audits, diocesan review boards and victim advocacy programs more independent.

The Archdiocese, for its part, released the first in a series of bulletins about what the church is doing to prevent sexual abuse from happening again.

The bulletin lists efforts to report allegations of abuse to law enforcement and investigate the accusations in the grand jury report, but it also tries to explain the silence of the Archdiocese. It reads, “As an active investigation, it would be inappropriate and unfair to those parties to share further information as no judgment or determination has been reached.”

Matt Coyne (right), a parishioner at Monsignor William Lynn’s church in Downingtown, distributed a letter from a fellow parishioner calling Lynn “a good and holy man.”
coyne side1 Five Enter Not Guilty Pleas In Philadelphia Archdiocese Child Sex Abuse Case

“This is going through a process of justice, and when we get to the other side, I hope justice will be served,” said Coyne.

Lynn is on administrative leave, charged with endangering the welfare of a child in connection with the alleged assaults.

Victim advocates say they expected the defendants to plead not guilty, but they say the evidence and the trial will prove otherwise. The men will be in court again June 6th for a pre-trial hearing.

Watch the video…

To read the full bulletin from the Archdiocese, click here.

Reported by Steve Tawa, KYW Newsradio 1060; Oren Liebermann, CBS 3

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  • Judy Block-Jones

    No plea deals..

    This is good, victims and concerned parents wish to see them all go to trial. This is the only sure way to expose the full truth, get this abuse and cover up of sex crimes stopped so that kids can be protected.

    We hope that others who saw, suspected and suffered from sex abuse or cover ups will come forward to prosecutors.

    Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, 636-433-2511
    “Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests” and all clergy

  • Rich

    Please support victims of clergy abuse and create productive discussion about how we as a society can prevent future children from abuse, inside and outside the walls of the Catholic Church.

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