Jury foreman sad to hear from priests' abuse victims

Posted: June 25, 2012

ISA LOGAN, the jury foreman in the predator-priests child-abuse trial, is a father of three, a husband and a deacon at his West Philadelphia church.

After hearing nearly 11 weeks of testimony and spending 13 days deliberating the fates of the defendants - Monsignor Williams Lynn, 61, and suspended priest James Brennan, 48 - Logan, a mountain-of-a-man at 6 feet 6, reflected on the experience in the shadow of the Criminal Justice Center.

"Because I'm a man and a father, the most shocking point was to hear the actual victims. For them to have to actually relive the entire moment or things that happened to them was sad to me," said Logan, who once played basketball at Germantown High School and works in customer service at a Center City bank.

Logan led a jury that convicted Lynn of one count of child endangerment and acquitted him of a second count of child endangerment and conspiracy. The jury deadlocked on both counts against Brennan: attempted rape and child endangerment.

Referring to Lynn's defense that he was just following orders from former Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, Logan, an Army veteran, said he'd have taken a court-martial rather than follow unjust orders.

"I'm a human being before I'm a soldier," he said.

Logan, the only juror to face the cameras, said his heart goes out to the victims. To those disappointed with the mixed verdict, he said, it was based on the law as understood by the jurors.

"It's easy when you're on the outside looking in, and all you can hear is what the media has," he said. "But when you're on the inside . . . it's a little different."

District Attorney Seth Williams praised the conviction of Lynn, the first Catholic Church official to be convicted of enabling another priest to sexually abuse children, and said he had not yet decided whether to retry Brennan.

"This day was a long time coming," Williams said. "It is an important day for all institutional-abuse victims. It is no easy thing to overcome decades of coverup and a culture of silence. This verdict will help put an end to the blind eye and the deaf ear with which so many victims of abuse have received."

Logan said he's glad to leave the trial behind.

"I can honestly say that I never knew this building existed,"he said. "So now I'm going to make it erase again and go back to my normal life."

Contact Mensah M. Dean at 215-568-8278 or deanm@phillynews.com.

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