No decision yet on evidence in priest abuse cover-up case; judge upholds ruling that Bevilacqua is competent to testify

    In what’s expected to be the last hearing date before the trial begins, Philadelphia Monsignor William Lynn will return to court today as prosecutors argue for the use of evidence of other alleged sex abuse by priests.

    Lynn has been charged with covering up abuse by relocating parish priests who’ve been accused of sexually abusing children. He was named in a grand jury report with a teacher and three priests accused of sexually abusing children.

    Update, 11:20 a.m. Judge Teresa Sarmina has upheld her earlier ruling that Bevilacqua is competent. Court has adjourned for the day, and Sarmina will decide by next week if additional evidence can be used against Lynn in the trial.

    Update, 10:30 a.m. Closing arguments in the evidence hearing wrapped up quickly, with the District Attorney’s office claiming inaction by officials like Lynn emboldened priests to continue their abuse.

    Lynn’s attorney countered the argument, saying Lynn had finished his role as clergy secretary before some of the allegations surfaced.

     In a series of court appearances last week, Lynn’s lawyers argued he is being made a scapegoat in the case, while prosecutors read through countless other abuse accusations against priests whom Lynn transferred.

    A judge could decide today whether to allow that evidence into the trial.

    WHYY/NewsWorks’ Lizz Fiedler will have full details later today.

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