1 trial for Philly ex-church official, 2 priests



PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A priest charged with raping a teen while on leave from the Philadelphia archdiocese will go on trial next month in a church conspiracy case, despite defense objections.

A judge refused Thursday to give the Rev. James Brennan a separate trial. Brennan, 49, wants a short trial involving a single accuser.

Instead, he will be at the defense table for months while prosecutors seek to build a conspiracy and child-endangerment case against Monsignor William Lynn, the long-time secretary for clergy. Prosecutors plan to air sex-abuse complaints lodged against two dozen priests over several decades to show Lynn kept problem priests around children.

Lynn, for his part, has fought unsuccessfully to sever his case from his two co-defendants, both charged with rape. Brennan, 48, and defrocked priest Edward Avery, 69, are each charged with raping a single victim, accusers who came forward in time to meet newly expanded state time limits for child-sex assault.

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