Jury deliberations have begun in the landmark case of a priest accused of attempting to sexually assault a teen in 1996 and the first Roman Catholic official in the United States charged in connection with the abuse.
Monsignor William Lynn, the former secretary of clergy, is accused of endangering children by protecting predator priests, while Rev. James Brennan is on trial for allegedly trying to molest a 14-year-old boy at Brennan’s West Chester home.
The jury has heard 11 weeks of testimony, mainly put on prosecutors, detailing complaints form parishioners and victims about priests that came into Lynn’s office. Lynn then took the stand in his defense, claiming that he did his best to expose the problem but was overruled by Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, who died earlier this year. But prosecutors argue that Lynn could have stepped down or called police.
The verdict is likely to send shockwaves throughout the Catholic community as the trial has been closely watched by abuse survivor groups and Church officials.