In Philly clergy trial, closing arguments offer clashing pictures

District Attorney Seth Williams sat in a Philadelphia courtroom today to observe the prosecution’s closing arguments in the landmark clergy sexual abuse case.

Williams was surrounded by the media, as well as advocates for survivors of abuse, and the defendants’ supporters.

Monsignor William Lynn is accused of failing to prevent other priests from sexually abusing children.

Lynn is the first U.S. church official to be charged in a child sex abuse case for his administrative actions.

Lynn served as secretary for clergy, and his lawyer said Lynn tried to help victims — even taking the time to meet with them, with accused priests, and to document it all in writing. The lawyer said Lynn didn’t have the power to remove priests accused of abuse, but he did document the evil done by others.

In his closing, the prosecutor placed fault directly on Lynn’s shoulders. He said Lynn didn’t have power to remove priests, he could have called the police, or quit — and he jabbed his finger in Lynn’s direction to emphasize his point.

In addition to the closing arguments, jurors will have mountains of evidence from the lengthy trial to consider during deliberations.

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