Philadelphia trial of Msgr. Lynn

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    Philadelphia trial of Msgr. Lynn

    Scandals in the Archdiocese of Boston and successful prosecutions that followed do not provide much of a model for somewhat similar cases in Philadelphia, ten years later. The trial of Monsignor William J. Lynn for child endangerment, in particular, looks headed for an unsatisfactory end. After more than two months of testimony and arguments, the jury received the case June 1, and in nine court days it has been unable to reach a verdict. A defense motion for mistrial has already been filed but rejected; another seems likely. [ Maryclaire Dale, Associated Press, No verdict after 8 days deliberations in Pennsylvania priest-abuse trial, Boston Globe, June 14, 2012, at http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2012/06/14/no_verdict_on_day_8_of_pa_priest_abuse_talks/ ]

    As anyone ever to become a defendant would know, persuading a jury of the truth is a fairly subtle struggle in which the keen cleaver, if you will, is a far more effective weapon than the battle-axe. All too often prosecutors, who you might think would know better, reach for the battle-axe. They file too many charges, present too many witnesses or offer too many arguments--leaving a jury confused, suspicious or both. A recent example was the unsuccessful prosecution of former Sen. Edwards of North Carolina.

    Both the current and previous district attorneys of Philadelphia seem to have had trouble getting their acts together. The previous DA handed up a grand jury report of over 500 pages in 2005 but filed no charges. The current one filed spurious charges of conspiracy that have already been rejected but failed to charge Church supervisors who would appear at least as culpable as Msgr. Lynn, namely the late Cardinal Bevilacqua and the auxiliary bishops and vicars whose responsibilities lay between those of Msgr. Lynn and the cardinal. That would all be obvious to a jury and likely to generate suspicion.

    The prosecution's case in the Philadelphia trial took about 30 court days, but only about four of those days were spent on the particulars of the charges. The rest focused on other events that the prosecution claims show a "pattern" of crimes. However, instead of a few days that part of the case stretched over a month and a half, enough to leave anyone thoroughly confused.

     
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    Msgr. Lynn sentenced to prison

    Msgr. Lynn of the Philadelphia diocese will serve at least three years in a Pennsylvania prison for his role in allowing priests known to have been involved in sex abuse of children continued access to children in Church settings. Rev. James Brennan, whose trial for sex abuse ended with a deadlocked jury, will be retried. [ Dave Warner, Reuters, Philadelphia monsignor imprisoned for covering up child sex abuse, Chicago Tribune, July 25, 2012, at http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-rt-us-usa-crime-churchbre86n12e-20120724,0,7320448.story ]

    Thus ends this complicated saga in holding those formerly exempted responsible for their offenses. While abuses in the diocese may not have ended, sanctions and publicity probably make them less likely. Families of any child describing such abuses will be more likely to go directly to police, knowing that law enforcement is likely to intervene in what was once a cordoned-off sector of society.

     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from AppDev. Show AppDev's posts

    Philadelphia trial of Msgr. Lynn

    Scandals in the Archdiocese of Boston and successful prosecutions that followed do not provide much of a model for somewhat similar cases in Philadelphia, ten years later. The trial of Monsignor William J. Lynn for child endangerment, in particular, looks headed for an unsatisfactory end. After more than two months of testimony and arguments, the jury received the case June 1, and in nine court days it has been unable to reach a verdict. A defense motion for mistrial has already been filed but rejected; another seems likely. [ Maryclaire Dale, Associated Press, No verdict after 8 days deliberations in Pennsylvania priest-abuse trial, Boston Globe, June 14, 2012, at http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2012/06/14/no_verdict_on_day_8_of_pa_priest_abuse_talks/ ]

    As anyone ever to become a defendant would know, persuading a jury of the truth is a fairly subtle struggle in which the keen cleaver, if you will, is a far more effective weapon than the battle-axe. All too often prosecutors, who you might think would know better, reach for the battle-axe. They file too many charges, present too many witnesses or offer too many arguments--leaving a jury confused, suspicious or both. A recent example was the unsuccessful prosecution of former Sen. Edwards of North Carolina.

    Both the current and previous district attorneys of Philadelphia seem to have had trouble getting their acts together. The previous DA handed up a grand jury report of over 500 pages in 2005 but filed no charges. The current one filed spurious charges of conspiracy that have already been rejected but failed to charge Church supervisors who would appear at least as culpable as Msgr. Lynn, namely the late Cardinal Bevilacqua and the auxiliary bishops and vicars whose responsibilities lay between those of Msgr. Lynn and the cardinal. That would all be obvious to a jury and likely to generate suspicion.

    The prosecution's case in the Philadelphia trial took about 30 court days, but only about four of those days were spent on the particulars of the charges. The rest focused on other events that the prosecution claims show a "pattern" of crimes. However, instead of a few days that part of the case stretched over a month and a half, enough to leave anyone thoroughly confused.

     
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