Jury in clergy sex-abuse case resumes deliberating

Posted: June 20, 2012

Day 11 of jury deliberations has begun in the clergy sex-abuse trial at the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia.

Day 10 was uneventful, as the panel of seven men and five women met behind closed doors, never asking Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina any questions, never rehearing any testimony, never prompting arguments between judge and attorneys.

The jury convened Monday for nearly six hours -- bringing the total so far to about 36 hours -- offering no clues to their progress in the landmark case against two Archdiocese of Philadelphia priests.

Judge Sarmina took the bench at 4 p.m. simply to tell the lawyers: "They have asked to leave for the day."

Prosecutors and the lawyers for defendants Msgr. William J. Lynn and the Rev. James J. Brennan left without comment.

Lynn, 61, the first church official nationwide to be tried for covering up clergy sex abuse, is accused of recommending that Brennan and another priest, Edward Avery, be allowed to live or work in parishes despite signs that they might abuse minors. He has denied the allegations, contending that he tried more than any other church official to isolate pedophile priests.

Brennan, 48, has denied charges that he tried to rape a 14-year-old boy in 1996, when he was on leave from the archdiocese and living in a West Chester apartment. Avery, now defrocked, pleaded guilty to assaulting an altar boy and is serving 2½ to five years in prison.

Contact John P. Martin at 215-854-4774, at jmartin@phillynews.com, or follow @JPMartinInky on Twitter.

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