Local/State

Priest-abuse jury wraps up Day 10 of deliberations

Monday, June 18, 2012

The jury had no questions and no requests for trial materials Monday.

That is perhaps an indication that they've resolved any confusion about how to apply the law. But there's still no verdict after 10 days of deliberations.

Last week the jurors had a number of questions and requests indicating they were circling around the charge of conspiracy to endanger children.

That charge applies to Monsignor William Lynn, and not his co-defendant, father James Brennan. Lynn is accused of shuffling predator priests from parish to parish exposing more children to risk.

The trial is closely being watched by SNAP, a national support network for survivors of child sex abuse by members of the clergy.

On Monday David Colhessy, SNAP's executive director, ripped into Lynn's defense strategy. The Monsignor, who had been in charge of investigating allegations of child sex abuse, claims he was a middle man, and was only following Cardinal Bevilacqua's orders.

"At any point over more than a decade, he could have called 911, he could have quit his job, he could have become a whistleblower," said Colhessy.

He says the eyes of the nation are on this trial.

"More than 6,000 Catholic priests in America have been accused of abuse. And until this trial in Philadelphia, not a single church supervisor faced the possibility of jail time. So that's enormous," said Colhessy.

The defendants, their lawyers and the prosecutors are all anxious for a verdict, and the wait has been wearing them down.

Clohessy says whatever the verdict, the trial itself is already having an impact.

"Irrespective of what the jury does, there are high-ranking Catholic officials now who are saying to their bishops and cardinals, 'No more. I won't lie for you,'" he said.

The jury will be back at it again on Tuesday. Veteran courtroom observers say they're either being very meticulous, or they're deeply divided.

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philadelphia, philadelphia archdiocese, child sex assault, local/state
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