Judge to rule by Monday about evidence in Catholic church sexual abuse trial

Lawyers in the Philadelphia Archdiocese child sexual abuse case faced off in court Monday.  The Judge upheld her previous ruling that retired Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua is competent to be a witness.  Also at the pre-trial hearing, the judge vowed to decide by Monday another major matter.

Monsignor William Lynn is accused of child endangerment and conspiracy for allegedly transferring priests accused of sexual abuse.  Prosecutors say if they’re allowed to introduce abuse allegations against priests who are not charged in the case, they will show Lynn continued a tradition in the Archdiocese of hiding or ignoring possible abuse.Former Roman Catholic priest Patrick Wall works as a consultant for a law firm that has filed suits on behalf of child sexual abuse survivors.  “The pattern and practice argument has been very successful in other parts of the country,” said Wall.  “If you get to put in the evidence of pattern and practice that is usually when the Diocese or the Archdiocese will go to the individual priest and then convince them that they need to take the plea bargain because it will be so damaging to the institution that they don’t want it to come out.”While priests have been convicted of abuse in the past, Monsignor William Lynn is the first U.S. church official charged criminally for his administrative actions.  Lynn’s lawyers say he was following orders from retired Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua.

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