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Defense In Church Sex Abuse Trial Downplays Defendant’s Power

(Msgr. William Lynn leaves the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia in March 2012.  Credit: Stan Honda/ AFP/ Getty Images)

(Msgr. William Lynn leaves the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia in March 2012. Credit: Stan Honda/ AFP/ Getty Images)

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By Tony Hanson

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — After two months of evidence the prosecution alleges shows defendant Monsignor William Lynn was at the heart of a cover-up of clergy abuse, the defense has opened and downplayed any power he had in the Archdiocese.

Monsignor Lynn has pleaded not guilty to endangering children.

The defense has presented witnesses, a couple of Monsignors, one a former Secretary for Catholic Human Services, and another who assisted Monsignor Lynn as Secretary for Clergy in the 1990’s.

Both have testified there was a chain of command. There were several supervisors above the Secretary, and Monsignor Lynn would not have had the authority to remove priests.

Monsignor Michael McCulken, the former assistant in the office responsible for handling complaints of priest misconduct, has told the jury they had no special training in interviewing or investigating sexual abuse cases, and not only couldn’t Monsignor Lynn remove priests, he couldn’t even order treatment or an evaluation without going up to the Cardinal.

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