By Tony Hanson
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The prosecution in the Philadelphia clerical child sex abuse case today presented potential “smoking gun” evidence as it tries to make its case against a Catholic monsignor who is charged with endangering children by allowing a predator priest to remain in ministry.
The evidence focused on Edward Avery, a defrocked priest who pleaded guilty last week (see related story).
The prosecution presented a series of memos and correspondence, many written or received by Msgr. William Lynn, which show that Avery was treated at the church’s mental health facility after a man came forward in 1992 with allegations of abuse by Father Avery.
According to the prosecution’s evidence, the church’s mental health experts recommended that Avery be excluded from ministering to adolescents, and Msgr. Lynn himself identified Avery as guilty of sexual abuse of a child.
But still, prosecutors contend, Lynn was aware of and involved in Father Avery’s placement at St. Jerome’s parish, where Avery later abused a 10-year-old boy.
The defense contends that Lynn tried to deal with the sexual abuse problem but had no control over priest placements within the archdiocese.