By Tony Hanson
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Philadelphia Common Pleas Court judge today heard more disturbing evidence — including some admissions — of priests in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia who sexually assaulted boys and physically hurt children but still were allowed to continue their service, and their abuse.
The prosecution alleges these “prior bad acts” show a pattern of conduct by the church that contributed to the criminal conduct of defendant Msgr. William Lynn.
Some of the cases cited in court — about 30 in all — date back to the 1960s, but in many of those cases the priests continued to serve for decades. Among the allegations is that predator priests in some cases preyed on numerous children, in unspeakable ways.
Several boys were allegedly abused by one priest after being chosen to play Jesus in a play. Another wrote of torturing boys, but even that was not enough to have him removed from ministry, according to testimony now being considered by Judge Teresa Sarmina. That priest was actually placed in charge of a parish CYO — a Catholic youth organization.
Msgr. Lynn, who is charged with endangering the welfare of children, has pleaded not guilty. The defense contends he did what he could in his position as Secretary for Clergy, but final decisions on discipline were made by the cardinal.
Judge Sarmina will decide later if the testimony about “prior bad acts” is admissible in Lynn’s trial.