Jury Asks for Marker Board and Easel
By Ralph Cipriano
Philadelphia Priest Abuse Trial Blog
June 7, 2012
Jurors in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia sex abuse case Wednesday asked the judge for a marker board and an easel. Presumably, they didn't want to play Pictionary.
Jurors spent their third full day of deliberations asking more questions of Judge M. Teresa Sarmina. The jurors asked the judge to define a pedophile and an ephebophile. Pedophiles are attracted to children, ephebophiles, adolescents.
The judge declined the request, however, saying that no evidence had been presented in the case that defined the two terms. The jury heard both words bandied about the courtroom frequently throughout the trial, as witnesses talked about diagnoses of archdiocese priests undergoing psychiatric evaluations. The judge told jurors they would have to rely on their recollections of what the terms meant.
Jurors also asked the judge to define what an agreement meant in a conspiracy. The judge said a conspiracy is an agreement between at least two people to act together to commit a crime. The agreement can be unspoken, or stated in words, the judge said.
The prosecution has alleged that Msgr. William J. Lynn conspired with Father Edward V. Avery to endanger the welfare of children by keeping Father Avery in ministry.
The jury subsequently came back with another question about the alleged conspiracy to endanger children, asking if the two conspirators had to know they were committing a crime in order to be found guilty.
The judge replied with a simple "No."
Courtroom observers immediately began speculating that this was not a good development for Msgr. Lynn, as the former archdiocese secretary for clergy had testified that in his mind, he was doing the best he could to help sex abuse victims, as well as provide pastoral care to abusive priests.
Jurors asked to see an exhibit of the monsignor's. It was a list on a yellow sheet of paper that Lynn wrote out at the defense table, which listed the first 13 sex abuse cases he had worked on during his first two or three years as secretary for clergy.
The priests accused on the list were a rogue's gallery of some of the archdiocese's worst abusers, including: John A. Cannon, Nicholas V. Cudemo, Edward M. DePaoli, Peter J. Dunne, Stanley M. Gana, David C. Scioli, and Thomas J. Wisnewski.
The jury asked to see personnel records for the 13 priests, as well as timelines for what happened in each case.
Judge Sarmina has asked prosecutors, defendants and their lawyers to stay within 15 minutes of Courtroom 304 in the Criminal Justice Center, so the jury can get prompt responses to their questions.
A bunch of reporters also camped out in and outside the courtroom, as they awaited the verdict. The reporters represented The Philadelphia Inquirer and KYW News Radio, but also The New York Times, CNN, AP, Reuters and the CBS Evening News. Meanwhile, the street outside the courtroom was packed with TV trucks from three local stations.
There were no signs that the jury was near a verdict. The judge acted like she expected more questions.
"So I'll see you all at the next question," the judge told lawyers and defendants before they filed out of the courtroom.