Lawyers get 12 jurors and screen alternates for clergy sex abuse trial

Posted: March 01, 2012

Lawyers on Wednesday added two more people to the jury for the conspiracy and child sex-abuse trial of three current or former Archdiocese of Philadelphia priests.

After an eighth day of screening, prosecutors and defense attorneys had chosen six men and six women for the panel.

Lawyers for both sides still need to pick 10 alternate jurors, who could be tapped if any of the original 12 were disqualified or forced to leave the case. That process could extend into next week.

The trial is projected to last between three and four months.

The case marks the first prosecution of a Catholic Church official accused of covering up clergy sex-abuse.

Prosecutors contend that Msgr. William J. Lynn, who was the archdiocese's secretary for clergy until 2004, endangered children by recommending parish assignments for two priests he allegedly knew or suspected would abuse children.

Those clerics, the Rev. James J. Brennan and Edward Avery, a former priest, are each accused of molesting a boy in separate incidents in the 1990s.

All three men have pleaded not guilty.

Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina has scheduled opening arguments for March 26.

- John P. Martin

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