Brennan and Lynn - High profile Philadelphia Catholic abuse trial ongoing
Monsignor Lynn is accused of cover up.
It has been a month since the start of a high-profile trial in Philadelphia where Monsignor William Lynn stands accused of mishandling allegations of child abuse by priests. He is the highest-ranking church official to date to stand trial in the United States.
The embattled Monsignor Lynn leaves a Philadelphia courthouse.
Lynn was responsible for managing 800 priests throughout the archdiocese of Philadelphia and allegations of abuse landed on his desk. It was his responsibility to handle those notifications including those regarding Brennan.
Accusers say the Monsignor did not handle them correctly. Monsignor Lynn is accused of covering up the allegations and transferring accused priests to other parishes without notifying the parishioners.
Brennan has denied the allegations of sexual abuse. Lynn has denied any failure to properly oversee or report.
So far, the testimony has been emotional and intense. Brennan's accuser, who is now in his 30s, has taken the stand several times and provided tearful testimony. A number of other victims who are describing abuse at the hands of dozens of priests during overnight stays and events have joined him.
According to David Clohessy, director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), a group at the forefront of such allegations, "these revelations and disclosures have to help parishioners face the painful reality that, just like victims, they, too, have been horribly betrayed and misled. When you see handwritten memos from very smart, high-level church officials, this unambiguous deception and selfishness really cuts through denial."
Attorneys for Lynn disagree with SNAP's assessment. In fact, they argue the exact opposite. They insist the Monsignor was perhaps the only man actually trying to handle the accusations properly. Tom Bergstrom, one of his four attorneys said, "There isn't anybody in this courthouse that would deny the sexual abuse of children is awful. Monsignor Lynn knew it was awful. The evidence will show that he, and perhaps he alone, is the one who tried to correct it."
Despite the high-profile nature of the trial, the Philadelphia press seems almost ambivalent about the proceedings. The number of reporters covering the trial has dwindled to a small handful and the community seems more interested in the possible closure of Catholic schools and the consolidation of parishes than the trial.
The trial is expected to close in June.
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
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Keywords: Monsignor Lynn, Brennan, abuse, Philadelphia, clergy, catholic
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