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Ex-priest's guilty plea creates complications in Philadelphia abuse trial

March 23, 2012

A laicized Catholic priest has entered a guilty plea on sex-abuse charges just before his trial was about to begin in Philadelphia, thereby placing pressure on his co-defendants.

Edward Avery received a 2- to 5-year prison sentence after he admitted sexually assaulting a 10-year-old boy. He also pleaded guilty to conspiracy. The latter plea will complicate the defense of Msgr. William Lynn and Father James Brennan, his alleged co-conspirators, who are contesting the charge.

Lawyers for Msgr. Lynn asked for a new jury to hear the case, arguing that Avery’s guilty plea might prejudice the members of the jury that has already been chosen for the trial. Msgr. Lynn, who was secretary for clergy in the Philadelphia archdiocese under the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, is charged with endangering children by failing to take action against priests accused of sexual abuse.


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  • Posted by: ElizabethD - Mar. 23, 2012 11:36 PM ET USA

    If someone isn't guilty, they must not untruthfully plead guilty, even if pleading guilty seems that it is going to get them a better deal in some way (this is the case sometimes). Of course, if someone is guilty then they are guilty and may they have true sorrow for it. May God have mercy on us all.