Judge: Won’t dismiss charges against Msgr. Lynn

Philadelphia Inquirer

By John P. Martin

A judge today said the discovery of Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua’s 1994 order to shred memos about dozens of Philadelphia-area priests suspecting of molesting children is no reason to halt the upcoming conspiracy trial of one of his key aides.

Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina denied a defense motion after prosecutors said that the recently unearthed documents only strengthen their case that Msgr. William J. Lynn was part of a broader scheme by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia hierarchy to conceal clergy sex abuse.

“The newly discovered documents . . . are in fact the equivalent of a smoking gun for the prosecution case against Lynn,” Philadelphia prosecutors wrote in a response filed this morning. “They show Lynn to be the most active participant in a well-orchestrated conspiracy among Archdiocese officials to cover up the sexual crimes of priests and to keep known child molesters in active ministry.”

Bevilacaqua’s order to shred the memo Lynn wrote about 35 allegedly abusive priests was disclosed Friday by the monsignor’s lawyers. A copy of the memo and the instructions to shred it were discovered by archdiocesan officials in a locked safe in 2006, but not turned over to prosecutors until this month.

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