Jury deliberations continue in the landmark priest abuse case in Philadelphia. Today the judge encouraged the jurors to continue their work despite their trouble reaching a verdict. Judge Teresa Sarmina ordered jurors to continue deliberations after the jury said it was hung on 4 of 5 charges. The jury didn’t say which charges were a problem Judge Sarmina warned the jury that the case may have to be retried if it is unable to reach a verdict. Monsignor William Lynn, the Philadelphia Archdiocese’s former Secretary for Clergy, is charged with three counts. The former high ranking church official is accused of failing to prevent other priests from sexually abusing children.Reverend James Brennan is charged with the attempted rape of a 14-year-old boy, and is facing two counts.
Monsignor Lynn is the first US church official charged in a child sex abuse case for his administrative actions. Lynn testified he was following orders from his superiors, including former Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua who died in January. While he tried to help victims, Lynn said he didn’t have the power to remove priests accused of abuse. Catholics, abuse victims, and their advocates have watched the case closely – as reams of documents became evidence and emotional testimony unfolded. Lawyers for alleged abuse survivors are paying close attention while gathering material for use in their civil lawsuits against the Archdiocese.
Deliberations will resume Friday.