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Jury deadlocked in Philadelphia abuse trial; judge asks for more deliberations

June 20, 2012

The jury in a landmark Philadelphia sex-abuse case has informed the court that it is deadlocked on 4 of the 5 criminal charges against two Catholic priests. The judge has asked the jury to continue deliberations in an effort to reach a verdict.

The jury sent a message to Judge Teresa Sarmina on June 20, saying that after 11 days of discussions, they were firmly entrenched in a “hung jury status.” The jury reported that all members were set in their votes, and there was little chance of resolving the disagreements. Nevertheless the judge asked the jury to continue deliberating, saying: “If indeed you don’t reach a verdict, the case may have to be tried all over again.”

Immediately after the jury left the courtroom, a lawyer for one defendant, Father James Brennan, asked the judge to declare a mistrial. Judge Sarmina rejected the motion. Defense lawyers have complained throughout the proceedings that the judge has shown her hostility toward the defendants.

Father Brennan is being tried along with Msgr. William Lynn, the former vicar for clergy of the Philadelphia archdiocese, on charges of endangering children.


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