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Philadelphia Judge Will Allow Priests’ Prosecutors To Paint History of Archdiocese Inaction

By Tony Hanson

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Philadelphia judge today ruled that evidence of alleged “prior bad acts” can be admitted in the upcoming child sex abuse trial of three Catholic clergymen.

Two priests are charged with abusing boys, and Msgr. William Lynn — a longtime “secretary of clergy” in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia — allegedly endangered children by allowing alleged predator priests to remain in their ministry positions where they could continue to abuse children.

Philadelphia Common Pleas Court judge Teresa Sarmina today ruled admissible what one defense attorney has called “an avalanche of evidence” against the three defendants.

The prosecution will be allowed to present evidence involving nearly two dozen priests, alleging that the archdiocese routinely protected these allegedly abusive priests by shuffling them from parish to parish for decades, and that Msgr. Lynn’s action, or inaction, was part of a pattern of conduct that led to the alleged abuse by the two co-defendants in this case.

The defense argued unsuccessfully that the evidence was unfair and inadmissible. There’s a gag order, so they could not comment after the judge ruled.

The defendants — Lynn; former priest Edward Avery, 69; and the Rev. James Brennan, 48 — have pleaded not guilty. Jury selection in the case is scheduled to start later this month.

Two other priests have been charged with abuse in this case, but they are scheduled to be tried separately in the fall.

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  • Helen Shep

    It is about times that there is some justive for the kids that were abused and are still being abused.
    I do not think it will ever be over unless parents starts monitering the things that go on in the Catholic Church.
    The Catholic people are so brain washed that they can’t remove their selves from the Catholic church, because they were taught at a very young age that being a Catholic is a gurantee that they will get to Heaven.
    It is such a terrible thing to be mislead all your life and never search the real truth for one salvation.
    The Catholic Church makes it very clear that they have it right. All these manmade laws that they try and make Catholic believe is so false. yet we have
    so many that will not search the real truth for there salvation.

  • JT3

    Sounds like Chinese justice. She’ll probably also allow a firing squad outside the courthouse once the certain guilty verdicts are rendered. Damn the constitutional requirement of a fair trail based on the specific crimes one is accused of. I look forward to the upcoming indictment and trial of current and former city school officials for lining thier pockets while cutting hundreds of counselors and security staff leading to hundreds of cases of abuse every year. Oh no, lest I foget, this will never happen since they are part of the ruling party.

    • Neil Allen

      Nobody has been more fair to the world’s largest pedophile protection program than the US justice system. Glad they are finally going to put some of the child rape mafia in jail.

      • DavidPun

        The US justice system is not just shielding other paedophile organizations. You will actually find that the largest number of child sex and physical abuse allegations in the US are against the Juvenile Justice System. It makes the Catholic Church look like a Sunday afternoon tea-party. The problem with that system is that there is an automatic assumption that the kids involved are little lying criminals so that none of the allegations could possibly be true!! And Pennsylvania….well, well. Thats really precious. Was that not the State who had a judge who was eventually removed for being in bed with a private company that built and ran prisons and he kept their business healthy, for a fee, by sending huge numbers of kids into detention for outrageuosly trivial reasons……and the legal community in that State KNEW what was happening and allowed him to continue. So, I am sure these priests will be found guilty whether thay are or not, but here is the deal. Maybe we should encourage the State of Pennsylvania to start looking at the array of lawyers who were aware of this Penn judge’s misdemeanors. Because putting a child behind bars for no reason other than to enrich oneself…in my book at least that is child abuse.

  • Judy Block-Jones

    This is great news for victims and for children. The full truth needs to be exposed to show the pattern of abuse and cover up that has enabled so many kids to be sexually abused. This is the only way to get this abuse stopped so that kids will be safe today.

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

    (SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims.
    SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 12,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers and increasingly, victims who were assaulted in a wide range of institutional settings like summer camps, athletic programs, Boy Scouts, etc. Our website is

  • Maureen Paul Turlish

    This is the best thing that could happen. Now get those 10 sessions Cardinal Bevilaequa had before the Grand Jury admitted as evidence. Maybe some judicial pressure can be put on House Judiciary Chair Ron Marsico to get HB 832 &878 into committee and then before the entire legislature. Statutes of Limitation in regard to laws covering the sexual abuse of children must be brought into the 21st century.

    Sister Maureen

  • A.j. Baselice

    Excellent now the “chain of conspiracy’ will expose the hierarchy and their evil deeds !

  • Father Feelgood

    If they let in all prior bad acts this trial will last all year!!!

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