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Judge Considers Allowing Evidence In Philadelphia Priest Child Sex Abuse Case

By Tony Hanson

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Much of the case against five men (three priests, a monsignor and a lay teacher) in the priest sex abuse is private, because of a gag order, but today KYW Newsradio got a remarkable look inside. The judge is considering whether to allow certain evidence that the prosecution wants to admit to present at trial.

The prosecution wants to present evidence of alleged prior bad acts by the defendants. In some cases, the acts go back decades and the allegations are stunning.

The prosecution has detailed evidence alleging defendant Edward Avery, who is charged with one count of rape, has sexually assaulted over a half dozen boys since the early 1970’s. And, prosecutors have presented evidence of countless inquiries, reports or notice to the archdiocese by victims, their family members, other parishioners, even clergy of alleged abuse or rumor of abuse.

The evidence also details what the prosecution calls “willful blindness by the Archdiocese” so as not to cause scandal and at the same time allowing suspects — who the authorities call “predator priests” — to remain in positions to abuse children. One prosecutor has called the archdiocese an unindicted co-conspirator.

READ: CBS Philly’s Complete Coverage Of The Philadelphia Priest Sex Abuse Scandal

Now, the defendants in this case are charged with assaulting two boys, but authorities say there were a series of incidents.

The defense argues that this evidence should not go before the jury, that it’s not specifically charged against the defendants, that the statute of limitations on these alleged acts has expired, that it’s impossible to get witnesses to these incidents that went back decades. And, in many cases, the defense says the allegations are not true.

There have been some heated exchanges today in court. At one point, the judge warned attorney William J. Brennan (who suggested that nuns who had implicated his clients were “rats, wimps and whiners,”) he would be removed from the courtroom if he spoke out of turn. And, at one point, she said he would have to raise his hand if he wanted to speak in court.

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More from Tony Hanson
  • Father Feelgood

    Keep using those Sunday envelopes so they can pay their lawyers, the pedophile priest fund as it is known! lol

  • Maureen Paul Turlish

    There is no question but that the priests’ past conduct (including that of Msgr. Lynn) should figure in the trials of all these individuals. All one has to do is read through the 2005 and 2011 Grand Jury Reports on the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

    When will the issues of the sexual exploitation of individuals be dealt with? When will there be any of the accountability and transparency promised by the USCCB?

  • Prosecutors, lawyers spar in priest sex-abuse case | Philadelphia Inquirer … – Philadelphia Inquirer | Daily Lawyers | Daily Law News Magazine

    […] CBS Local […]

  • DPierre

    “Hang them by their jewels”? How about a TRIAL first?

    This entire trial rests on the testimony of two guys: One is an admitted heroin addict, and the other has a lengthy record of theft, fraud, and forgery (and has been busted by police for making up stories).

    But CBS or the Inquirer won’t tell you any of this.

    This case could go down in history as the McMartin trial of the entire Catholic abuse narrative. (Never heard of McMartin? Look it up.)

  • Kay Goodnow

    These coverups by the church have been going on for far too long! The church has a lot of money (mild understatement) and has bought itself out of troule at the expense of young lives they were expected to cherish. Seems to me that the history providesa well known pattern of abuse, and should be used.

  • Neil Allen

    Every Catholic should read the first 6 pages of the Philadelphia Grand Jury report to see what these priests did.

    Then figure out what YOU should do. You will all have to face God someday, and God knows what you did or didn’t do, and what your excuses were. One thing is for sure – God was present in every single one of those victims, and was expecting you to help. If you didn’t help, you will have eternity to come up with a good excuse to outsmart God.

  • RJ

    Hang them by their jewels. NO MERCY.

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