Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Trial of highest ranking church official opens in Philadelphia

"  As one of the most closely-watched sex abuse trials involving the Catholic church kicked off on Monday, a prosecutor charged Monsignor William Lynn was the "keeper of secrets" who failed to protect children and then covered-up the crimes.

Lynn, 61, the most senior cleric to go to trial in the wave of sexual abuse cases against the Catholic Church, is charged with endangering the welfare of children and conspiracy for covering up allegations against priests.

Lynn served as secretary of the clergy under the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, Philadelphia's archbishop from 1988 to 2003. That made Lynn, in effect, the personnel director for priests.

"The defendant is the keeper of secrets," Assistant District Attorney Jacqueline Coelho told the jury in Common Pleas Court in her opening statement on Monday. "The protection of children is the furthest thing from defendant Lynn's mind."

The Vatican is closely watching the criminal trial involving the sixth largest diocese in the United States, said Terry McKiernan, co-director of BishopAccountability.org, a watchdog group. chicagotribune.com   "

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