1 trial for Philly ex-church official, 2 priests

    A judge says a priest charged with raping a teenager while on leave from the Philadelphia archdiocese will go on trial next month in a church conspiracy case–despite defense objections.

    The judge has refused to give the Rev. James Brennan a trial separate from two other church figures.

     

    Brennan wants a short trial involving one accuser. Instead, he’ll be at the defense table for months while prosecutors build a conspiracy and child-endangerment case against Monsignor William Lynn.

    Prosecutors are expected to bring in abuse complaints lodged against two dozen priests to show Lynn kept them in ministry.

    Brennan’s lawyer insists the larger case will sink his client. But a judge refused his severance motion yesterday.

    Defrocked priest Edward Avery also is charged with rape. He, Brennan and Lynn maintain their innocence.

    Jury selection is under way.

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