By Tony Hanson
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – With over two months of evidence behind them, jurors in the landmark clergy sexual abuse case are scheduled to hear closing arguments today. Monsignor William Lynn is the first U.S. church official charged with endangering children by allegedly protecting and covering up for predator priests.
The prosecution alleges Monsignor William Lynn failed to act to protect children from two dangerous priests. One of those priests, co-defendant James Brennan, has pleaded not guilty and the defense argues he never abused the victim who testified against him in this trial.
The second priest, Edward Avery, also a former co-defendant, pleaded guilty just before trial admitting he sexually abused a boy in 1999.
Lynn, testifying in his own behalf, told the jury he was sorry about that. But he did not accept blame. He testified he did the best he could, but the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua had authority for priest placements.
The defense contends Lynn, and perhaps Lynn alone in the church hierarchy, tried to prevent sexual abuse of minors.