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Judge Says Bevilacqua Can Be Called To Testify In Priest Child-Sex Case

By Tony Hanson

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The judge in an alleged clergy abuse case (see related story) has again rejected a defense motion to prohibit the testimony of retired Philadelphia cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua on competency grounds, even though the defense contends that Bevilacqua can’t accurately remember many of his own actions during the last two decades.

The judge ordered Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua’s testimony preserved — videotaped — in late November after finding the cardinal competent despite suffering from dementia and cancer (see previous story).

But after hearing his testimony, defense attorneys for defendant Msgr. William Lynn renewed the competency issue, arguing that Belivacqua couldn’t even identify Msgr. Lynn — his Secretary for Clergy for over a decade — or remember his own previous testimony.

The defense argues that it would have no hope of fully cross-examining the cardinal about his actions or his earlier grand jury testimony.

But the prosecution is arguing that it’s for the jury to evaluate — to accept or disregard the cardinal’s testimony now.  And the judge has ruled that Bevilacqua can testify — that either side can call him or use his recorded testimony from November.

The judge says she will rule within a week on the admissibility of so-called “prior bad acts” evidence presented during three days of hearings last week.

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