Reporting Tony Hanson
Filed underCrime and Justice, Heard On, Local, News, Philadelphia, Syndicated Local, Watch + Listen
By Tony Hanson
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The jury in the clergy abuse case hears evidence of what a grand jury called ‘depraved and sadistic conduct’ related to a Passion Play, depicting the events leading to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
Defendant Monsignor William Lynn, who has pleaded not guilty, is charged with endangering two children, but the prosecution is being allowed to present other evidence of an alleged pattern of conduct.
A man has testified he was in 8th grade in 1986 when he was chosen to play Jesus Christ, but he says before each rehearsal or show, Father Thomas Smith took him to a private room, told him to get naked, and then the priest would kneel before him and pin a loin cloth on the boy, often sticking him with the pins. Then, the boy was actually whipped during the play, suffering welts and cuts.
He says his siblings teased him at the dinner table. When he asked if he could quit, his parents said ‘no way.’
But, when he came forward in 2002, the witness says Monsignor William Lynn told him Father Smith was high in the church hierarchy, he was a good friend of his, this could have severe consequences for him and he probably just did it that way to be authentic.
The witness says he felt Monsignor Lynn was trying to talk him out of it.
Father Smith, who was not charged, was laicized in 2007, after the church found credible allegations of abuse of a minor.