Monsignor William Lynn, the former secretary for clergy, is charged with conspiracy and child endangerment for allegedly keeping predator-priests in ministry.
Jurors quickly asked for a half-dozen exhibits, including a gray folder found in a locked safe at the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The folder contains a list of 35 suspected predator-priests. Atleast one priest on the list was a parish pastor until this year. Lynn testified that he created the list in 1994 from secret church files containing hundreds of child sex-abuse complaints.
Two years after Lynn left the archdiocese, the gray file was found when the safe was smashed open in 2006. It’s unclear who put the surviving copy of Lynn’s list in the safe.
As per an in-house lawyer, he put the gray folder in his files in 2006 without realizing the list was inside. This list was sought by a grand jury in 2004.
Another secret memo shows Bevilacqua had the list shredded. Jurors asked to review the “shred memo” as well.
The new team of outside lawyers for the archdiocese turned it over to prosecutors in early February, days after Bevilacqua died.
Lynn faces about 10 to 20 years in prison if convicted of conspiracy and two counts of child endangerment.
The more than a dozen victims, include a nun, a former priest and a series of troubled adults.
Lynn feels he did more than his colleagues to help victims and advance the church’s response to both accusers and the accused priests. Priests were often sent for evaluation or treatment before being transferred to new, unsuspecting parishes. Lynn said that only Bevilacqua had the power to remove priests from ministry.
But prosecutors say Lynn could have quit or called police. Instead, he stayed in the job for 12 years — and acknowledged he never once contacted authorities.
Lynn’s co-defendant, the Rev. James Brennan, is charged with molesting a teen in 1996. His lawyer calls the accuser, who has a lengthy criminal record, a con man seeking a payout. Brennan did not testify.
Lynn spent three days on the witness stand. On cross-examination, he acknowledged that he had not helped the 10-year-old altar boy raped by the Rev. Edward Avery in 1999, seven years after Lynn met with another Avery accuser. Lynn said he was sorry for that.
Avery is in prison after admitting the crime.