A Roman Catholic church official wants a Philadelphia judge to step down before his child-endangerment trial because of her recent remarks about a child sex-abuse scandal.
Common Pleas Judge Teresa Sarmina recently suggested in court that sexual abuse in the church is “widespread,” and that those who think otherwise are “living on another planet.”
Sarmina is presiding over the groundbreaking conspiracy and child-endangerment case of Monsignor William Lynn.
The 61-year-old Lynn is the first U.S. church official charged for allegedly keeping predator priests in ministry. He faces up to 28 years if convicted on all charges.
Sarmina did not immediately return a call for comment.
Lynn’s defense lawyers filed a recusal motion Wednesday that calls her “obviously partial” to prosecutors.
Jury selection is set to start Feb. 21.