29 Mar 2011

Five Philadelphia archdiocese defendants on trial for child rape and endangerment now charged with conspiracy

New York Times - March 25, 2011

Prosecution Requests Granted in Priests’ Abuse Case


PHILADELPHIA — In a blistering courtroom session on Friday, the judge overseeing the case involving priests accused in the sexual abuse scandal in the Philadelphia Archdiocese granted the prosecution’s request to bypass a preliminary hearing and scheduled arraignment for April 15.

At that time, the accused — two Roman Catholic priests, one former priest, a former parochial school teacher and a monsignor — are expected to plead not guilty. Given the city’s backlog of cases, any trial would probably not begin for at least a year.

The judge, Renee Cardwell Hughes, also agreed to the district attorney’s belated request to charge all five with conspiracy. The priests and the schoolteacher are already accused of rape; the monsignor, William Lynn, the highest-ranking official to be accused of a crime in the three-decade-long abuse scandal in the United States, is suspected of covering up rape by the priests and is charged with child endangerment.

At one point Friday, Judge Hughes, of the Court of Common Pleas, ordered Monsignor Lynn, 60, to stand and take an oath to tell the truth. She wanted to make sure he understood the consequences of having the archdiocese pay for his lawyers. In a riveting 20 minutes of questioning, she told him that this could jeopardize his ability to act in his own best interest, especially if he is implicating other church officials to help his defense, and would prevent him from claiming during any appeal that he was not properly represented. She even offered to get him a public defender, at taxpayer expense. He could face a maximum of 28 years in prison.

The monsignor, wearing a black suit and white priestly collar, said repeatedly that he understood the consequences and still wanted to keep the arrangement.

Judge Hughes is not likely to be the trial judge, to the relief of some of the defense lawyers, who have said she favors the prosecution and who engaged in shouting matches with her during Friday’s two-hour session. The judge erupted in fury several times, accusing some of the defense lawyers of attacking her integrity and telling them to “shut up.”

“Well, snapdoodle!” she said at one point to a defense lawyer who challenged her. At another point, Richard DeSipio, one of the defense lawyers, yelled out that the district attorney’s office was “anti-Catholic” and had attacked him. “Attacked you?” Judge Hughes said. “You attacked me.”

Judge Hughes imposed an order of silence on everyone involved in the case, including District Attorney Seth Williams, who was not present.

“I don’t want tweets, I don’t want Facebook, I don’t want I.M.’s, I don’t want any communication,” she said through clenched teeth.

This article was found at:


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Four Philadelphia priests and teacher charged for child rape and conspiracy make first court appearance

Man suing Philadelphia archdiocese for neglect and cover-up says priest targeted him in the cradle

Suspended Philadelphia priests continue to deny child rape and cover-up allegations, attack credibility of victims

Philadelphia archdiocese suspends 21 active priests identified in grand jury report as credibly accused of child abuse

Philadelphia archdiocese investigating but not publicly naming dozens of active priests credibly accused of child abuse

Philadelphia archdiocese reopens 37 credible cases of child abuse by active priests reported by grand jury

Three Philadelphia priests and teacher charged with raping boys, Monsignor charged with failing to protect children

1 comment:

  1. Jury in Philadelphia priest abuse case to view secret files

    By MARYCLAIRE DALE, Associated Press

    PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Jurors picked to hear a landmark priest sex-abuse case in Philadelphia will pore over two boxes of complaint files long buried in the Catholic church's "secret archives."

    The secret files from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia have been marked "Exhibit One" after Wednesday's pretrial hearing.

    Monsignor William Lynn is the first U.S. church official charged for his oversight of accused priests. He is charged with conspiracy and child-endangerment, and has pleaded not guilty.

    Jury selection starts Tuesday. The process could take weeks, given the church's huge presence in Philadelphia and the trial's expected four-month duration.

    Also Wednesday, Common Pleas Judge M. Teresa Sarmina refused to step down from the case, denying defense claims of bias.

    Their motion was based on her in-court remarks suggesting the church sex-abuse problem was "widespread."