By Dave Warner
PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – The highest ranking cleric charged in a Philadelphia child abuse scandal asked a judge on Friday to dismiss his case because his boss – the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua – ordered the shredding of a list he made of predator priests.
Lawyers for Monsignor William Lynn, 61, filed the motion to dismiss conspiracy and child endangerment charges as jury selection in the case was underway in Common Pleas Court.
The real criminals, the lawyers argued in court documents, were Bevilacqua, who died last month, and his closest advisors. These included Lynn’s former supervisor Monsignor James Molloy, who died in 2006, now retired Bishop Edward Cullen of Allentown and Bishop Joseph Cistone, now head of the diocese in Saginaw, Michigan, none of whom were charged in the case.
Lynn, who served the Philadelphia Catholic Archdiocese as secretary of the clergy during Bevilacqua’s time as archbishop from 1987 to 1998, would be the first church official to stand trial in a child sex abuse case if opening arguments begin as scheduled on March 26.
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