Philadelphia Monsignor Grilled on Witness Stand At Child Sex Abuse Trial
By Tony Hanson
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia monsignor William Lynn, charged with child endangerment in connection with the Philadelphia priest sex abuse scandal, continued to face relentless, grueling cross-examination today.
Prosecutor Patrick Blessington asserted again and again that Monsignor Lynn has lied — to victims, to parishioners, to nuns and priests, and to the police, all to protect predator priests and to avoid negative publicity and legal action. And all, according to Blessington, at the expense of children.
Citing evidence, much of it from the church’s own secret archives and by Lynn’s own hand, Blessington has asserted through questioning that Lynn lied routinely and intentionally.
Lynn denies lying, although he has conceded numerous misstatements and memory lapses related to his actions during his 12 years as the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s secretary for clergy.
But through it all, at times red-faced and seemingly flustered, Lynn has maintained he did his best — that, admittedly untrained and unqualified for the job, he wasn’t perfect but he did his best.
Lynn’s defense attorney lays the blame for the church’s actions to protect dangerous priests on the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, among others.
One Philadelphia priest, since defrocked, has pleaded guilty to abusing a boy — a crime that allegedly occurred even after Monsignor Lynn was made aware of previous improprieties by the priest. Another priest accused of abuse, James Brennan, is now on trial with Lynn.