By John P. Martin
Inquirer Staff Writer
The discovery of Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua’s 1994 order to shred a memo about 35 Archdiocese of Philadelphia priests suspected of molesting children is no reason to dismiss the case against one of his key aides, a judge ruled Monday.
Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina denied a bid by defense attorneys to drop the charges after prosecutors argued that the shredding directive and other recently unearthed files were the equivalent of “a smoking gun” that bolstered, not weakened, their case against Msgr. William J. Lynn.
The documents, they say, prove Lynn plotted with Bevilacqua, the longtime archbishop who died Jan. 31, and others to protect abusive priests and shield the church from lawsuits.
They said Lynn’s attorneys misportrayed the files last week in a bid to try out a new strategy – “a combination of the dead-guys-did-it and the I-was-only-following-orders defenses” – and to sway potential jurors.
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