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1 Defendant Pleads Guilty In Philadelphia Priest Sex Abuse Scandal

By Tony Hanson and Oren Liebermann

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — In a sudden turn of events, one of the defendants in the Philadelphia priest sex abuse scandal has decided to plead guilty.

Unexpectedly this afternoon, defrocked priest Edward Avery, accused of molesting at least one boy, indicated that he would be pleading guilty, just days before his trial was set to begin.

As part of a plea deal, Avery was immediately sentenced to 2½-5 years in prison and ordered to surrender to authorities within 10 days.

Avery and two others — one a priest and the other a monsignor — were scheduled to go on trial next Monday in a case that has rocked the Archdiocese of Philadelphia with accusations of sex abuse, coverups, and stonewalling (see related story).

In Room 507 of the Criminal Justice Center today, Avery pleaded guilty to two counts — one of sexually assaulting a boy under 13 years of age, and one of conspiring to endanger the welfare of a minor.

Avery also admitted in court that Msgr. Lynn knew that he had sexually abused children but had nevertheless allowed him to remain in ministry.

In a statement of facts read as part of the guilty plea, Assistant District Attorney Patrick Blessington said, “Avery was aided in his efforts to remain in ministry with unsupervised access to parish children and altar servers b Lynn and others in the Archdiocese.

“Defendant Lynn and other Archdiocese officials acted in concert with Avery with a common purpose to conceal Avery’s known acts of sexual abuse of a minor, so that Avery could remain in ministry without the knowledge of parishioners whose children would be exposed to a man that defendant Lynn and others in the Archdiocese knew presented a danger to children.”

Lynn’s trial is scheduled to begin this coming Monday.

Stay tuned to CBS Philly for additional details on this story as they are received.

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  • gary

    That is not a very long sentece. At least it is a sentence. There are probably more victims and when he gets out he will do it again.
    I am still trying to bring Fr. Jerome Koerner to justice from the Green Bay Diocese. I was molested from 1960-1967 mainly in Kaukauna , WI. Holy Cross grade school and church. I saw online he is associated as a volunteer at the friendship camp in Dodgeville, WI. I talked to a Detective from Outagamie County Sheriff’s Dept. who is refering me to a Lt. in the Kaukauna police dept. A special thanks to Patrick Leddy x-fbi, to Richard Sipe and all the SNAP volunteer for your help. I still am trying to file that first police report. Sincerely, gary siebers 619-316-2369,

  • Maureen Paul Turlish

    Many of the children who were raped and sodomized, continue their own life sentences – suffering from depression and addictions and God only knows what else.

    Remove the PA statutes of limitation for childhood sexual abuse – by anyone – and bring more of these rapists to justice no matter their stripe or religious affiliation.

    Archbishop Charles Chaput, why aren’t you leading the parade by publicly supporting Statute of Limitation reform especially PA House Bills 832 & 878 introduced by Representatives Louise Bishop and Michael McGeehan respectively?

    Not to do so is morally and ethically reprehensible.

    Sister Maureen Paul Turlish

  • Neil Allen

    He gets 3-5 years for ruining at least one kid’s life?

    Seth Williams, the Philly DA, is gutless for accepting this plea, and he is a full blown Catholic, so he is protecting his church just like the priests are protecting the church.

    Hopefully, the prisoners of Philly will show this priest justice.

  • Zzbar

    “One” priest (even though defrocked) has come forward and admitted sexually abusing little children. That’s one out of how many?

    • Neil Allen

      4,392 according to the Catholic church’s own John Jay repoprt

  • misterlucky

    that’s it, Fodda, cleanse yourself ot those abominations…”hopefully others, who may have knowledge…” lemme get this right: some teen dream female teacher gives Jr. his life’s longing, and he runs screaming to turn her in, but a priest and those little angels, cherubs, fairies whatever, they can keep that on the quiet for life…as if, even as adults, they didn’t know the difference between religion and sodomy by pedophile.

  • Jerry Slevin

    If Avery is not required to give substantial evidence against others, beyond Lynn, then this is a soft “sweetheart” plea deal and once again the ciitzens of Philly, especiallly innocent children, have been denied the full protection of an open and effective criminal justice system.

  • Judy Block-Jones

    Hopefully others, who may have knowledge or may have been harmed by Edward Avery, will have the courage to speak up and report it to police, not church officials.

    When victims stay silent, nothing changes. But when victims find the courage to take action, there’s at least a chance for prevention, healing and justice ­ especially when they seek independent sources of support and avoid contacting Catholic officials.

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

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