Bevilacqua’s videotaped testimony might now be heard at trial

Philadelphia Inquirer

By Nancy Phillips

A savvy move by prosecutors could mean that the late Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua will speak from beyond the grave at the forthcoming criminal trial of three priests accused of endangering or abusing children, legal experts said Wednesday.

Bevilacqua, who died Tuesday at age 88, testified on videotape late last year about the church’s handling of sex abuse allegations against priests in the Philadelphia Archdiocese during his 15-year-tenure as its leader.

The tape of the cardinal answering questions from prosecutors and defense lawyers may now be admitted at trial, experts say.

“It comes in,” said James A. Cohen, a professor at Fordham law school and a former defense lawyer. Preserving Bevilacqua’s testimony on tape should enable jurors to hear from him in his absence, he said.

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