Witness Testimony Concludes in Church Trial for Accused Priest

Associated Press, carried in NEPA News [Erie PA]
November 21, 2006

Testimony in the church tribunal of a priest accused of sexual abuse has concluded, but it could be months before the judges' decision is made public, a spokesman for the Diocese of Erie said.

Msgr. Charles M. Kavanagh, once a leading figure in the Archdiocese of New York, was suspended in May 2002 after he was accused of molesting a former seminarian. He has vehemently denied the charges.

Following an internal investigation by the archdiocese, the case was referred to the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which determines how to proceed.

The Congregation found the allegations merited a trial. But because of publicity about the case in New York, the trial was held in the Diocese of Erie.

"As far as I know, there is nothing else scheduled in Erie for witnesses to appear," diocese spokesman Msgr. Tom McSweeney told the Erie Times-News for Tuesday's editions.

Witnesses testified before three canon-law judges, but the proceedings were closed to the public; the testimony ended Friday.

The trial was governed by the Catholic Church's legal system.


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