Judge Denies Lawyer’s Call for Mistrial in Priest Abuse Trial

By Dan Stamm and Maryclaire Dale
NBC 10
June 12, 2012

The jury was back to work Thursday, after a day off, as they deliberated for the eighth day the fates of two priests accused in a landmark case but while jurors deliberated the lawyer for a priest accused of sexually abusing a boy argued for a mistrial.

James Brennan’s lawyer, William Brennan, who has no relation to his client, argued Thursday morning for a mistrial since Common Pleas Judge M. Teresa Sarmina allowed jurors to hear the priest's accuser's testimony from a 2008 church trial during deliberations Tuesday even though the evidence wasn’t entered during the current trial.

The judge shot down Brennan’s mistrial request. Sarmina also said that the jury needs to use their own recollections while deliberation the case against James Brennan, 48, and Monsignor William Lynn, 61, who served as secretary for clergy at the Philadelphia archdiocese from 1992 to 2004.

Lynn, 61, is the first U.S. church official to be charged for his handling of clergy abuse complaints.

As of 3:45 p.m. Thursday, the jury continued without final decisions. They had come back with questions during the day Thursday including if they could look at some items presented earlier in the trial. There were no objections to that request unlike the last day of deliberations.

Things got heated Tuesday as William Brennan showed his displeasure with the judge’s decision to allow testimony from the previous church trial.

“They have to do their jobs,” insisted William Brennan. “They have to rely on their recollections. We can't do their jobs.”

As he left court William Brennan slammed his cell phone into a wall in the hallway.

James Brennan is charged with attempted rape and child endangerment. Lynn is charged with conspiracy and two counts of child endangerment, for allegedly endangering Brennan's accuser and a victim of defrocked priest Edward Avery.

Avery pleaded guilty to sexual assault and conspiracy days before the trial. He is now in prison.

The trial began March 26. The jury of seven men and five women appeared attentive during the 10 weeks of testimony, and began deliberations June 1.








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