Prosecutors in priest abuse case: Archdiocese of Philadelphia is ‘unindicted co-conspirator’

    Monday could prove a key day in court for a Philadelphia monsignor charged with endangering children by transferring predator priests.

    Monsignor William Lynn will ask a judge to limit testimony at the March trial to evidence about his three co-defendants–two priests and a former teacher charged with raping the same boy.

    Prosecutors want to include accusations made against many other priests to show Lynn routinely kept child molesters on the job.

    Update, 3 p.m. Prosecutors have called the Archdiocese an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the case. Defense attorneys want to block accusations not mentioned in the grand jury report from being used as evidence, but prosecutors are out to prove the church provided predators with children by not acting on more accusations against priests.

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    The judge says accusations against more priests will resume tomorrow. The D.A.’s office already presented accusations against several priests today.

    Update, 11:20 a.m. WHYY/NewsWorks’ Lizz Fiedler reports the morning began with graphic descriptions about the abuse charges against Rev. Edward Avery before Lynn’s lawyer got into an argument with the judge.

    Attorney Thomas Bergstrom argued Lynn didn’t know about all the molestation accusations the District Attorney’s office detailed this morning, despite having been put in charge of investigating allegations. Bergstrom accused the D.A.’s office of turning the case into a conspiracy.


    The 61-year-old Lynn is the first U.S. church official ever charged criminally for his administrative actions. He faces more than a decade in prison if convicted.

    Defense lawyers say Lynn took orders from retired Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua.

    The trial could last four months or more. It’s not clear if Common Pleas Judge Teresa Sarmina will rule Monday.

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