The jury in the landmark clergy sex abuse case told the judge yesterday afternoon that after 11 days of deliberations they were deadlocked on most counts.
The note sent to Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina around noon on Wednesday indicated the group had reached “hung jury status.” The panel is considering conspiracy and child endangerment charges against Monsignor William Lynn – the first U.S. Catholic Church official charged in the wide-ranging sex abuse scandal – and attempted sex assault against Rev. James Brennan. The note did not say which charge jurors had agreed on.
Sarmina immediately instructed the panel of seven men and five women to keep deliberating, stressing to them the importance of the case. She also offered to provide exhibits that she had previously denied them access to if it would help break the impasse.
The group returned to the jury room and deliberated until being sent home for the day. They will return Friday.
Jurors had not asked any questions or requested any exhibits during the previous two days after more than 20 requests during the first 10 days of deliberations.
The trial lasted three months, with prosecutors putting on dozens of witnesses that testified of abuse by numerous priests. Both Lynn and Brennan have denied any wrongdoing, while a third co-defendant in the case, Rev. Edward Avery, pleaded guilty to sexual assault before the trial and is in prison.