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W. Va. Priest Will Testify At Trial of Philadelphia Priest Accused of Sex Abuse

By Tony Hanson

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — One day after a West Virginia bishop responded to sex abuse allegations in the Philadelphia clergy abuse case (see related story), another issue related to the Wheeling-Charleston diocese has been settled.

Prosecutors in the case against Father James Brennan and Monsignor William Lynn want Monsignor Kevin Quirk as a witness against defendant Father Brennan, who is charged with sexually assaulting a teenage boy in 1996, but had suggested Quirk’s appearance was being obstructed.

Prosecutor Patrick Blessington told the court this week that Quirk, a judge at Brennan’s canonical trial, had taken statements from Brennan that were inculpatory, and that Quirk, who now reports directly to Bishop Michael Bransfield in the Wheeling-Charleston diocese, was ready and willing to appear — until he checked with the diocese and trouble began.

But the West Virginia diocese has now issued a statement, without explanation, saying that church officials there needed to have a valid legal process, which they now have. Accordingly, Monsignor Quirk will appear in the Philadelphia trial.

Father Brennan and Monsignor Lynn have pleaded not guilty.

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