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Accused cleric takes stand in Philadelphia abuse case

May 24, 2012

The principal defendant has taken the witness stand in a criminal case testing the responsibility for handling sex-abuse cases in the Philadelphia archdiocese.

Msgr. William Lynn, who was the vicar for clergy under the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, testified that the cardinal had made a policy against informing parishioners when a priest was removed because of sex-abuse charges. The former archdiocesan official also said that he had compiled a list of 35 accused priests, including some “pretty sick individuals,” but the list was shredded on orders from Cardinal Bevilacqua. One copy of the document survived, and was discovered by prosecutors earlier this year.

Msgr. Lynn is charged with endangering children, and could face a prison term of up to 20 years if he is convicted. His lawyers have argued that he was merely following policies set by his superiors, and lacked the authority to take action against molesters.


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  • Posted by: Gil125 - May. 24, 2012 7:25 PM ET USA

    Surely they could come up with a better defense than "I was only following orders."