Jury duty a serious task

Pocono Record

February 27, 2012

Lawyers who are selecting jurors in the Philadelphia priest abuse case better look for good readers — and hope they do their homework.

These jurors will hear and review evidence related to charges that Monsignor William Lynn endangered children by keeping predatory priests in the ministry. During the course of the trial, jurors will have access to two boxes filled with complaint files. Until now, the files have been closely guarded, kept in the private archives of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

News reports say the files include several decades of complaints against dozens of priests from the diocese, and that they include sex therapy notes and legal advice.

From 1992 to 2004, Lynn served as secretary of clergy for the archdiocese, a role that included overseeing the files now marked for presentment. Going to trial with Lynn are two accused priests, but altogether the jury will hear about 22 accused priests. These are the individuals Lynn knew about or took action about, according to their files. Prosecutors hope to prove that Lynn continued assigning to new parishes priests he knew were accused of inappropriate behavior with minors, and that his actions helped keep the complaints about them secret.

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