PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Philadelphia judge says Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua will testify in the Catholic sex abuse scandal involving priests and leaders within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia — but he may or not end up on the witness stand.
Judge Teresa Sarmina says she is anticipating that she will find Cardinal Bevilacqua mentally competent to answer questions in the priest abuse case (see related story). She says she will examine the cardinal herself on November 28th, at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, where the cardinal lives, off City Avenue.
It will be a closed hearing, essentially a private deposition and a chance for defense lawyers and prosecutors to question the 88-year-old cardinal on videotape to preserve his testimony in case he is unable to appear at trial, anticipated now for next March or April.
His lawyer, Brian McMonagle contends the cardinal suffers from dementia and cancer and is unfit to testify at trial, but he was amenable to a private deposition.
Lawyer Thomas Bergstrom — representing Monsignor William Lynn, one of four current and former priests in this clergy abuse case (see related story) — wanted to ensure that doing the videotaped deposition on November 28th will not preclude calling the retired cardinal live at trial if he was fit to testify.
Cardinal Bevilacqua was not charged in this case, but Monsignor Lynn is. He was the secretary for clergy, directly under the Bevilacqua, and is accused of routinely transferring predator priests to new assignments, maintaining their good standing and access to children even after child abuse allegations were known (see another related story).
Reported by Steve Tawa, KYW Newsradio 1060