Highlights from trial

Monsignor William Lynn (left) and James Brennan. ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Monsignor William Lynn (left) and James Brennan. ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Posted: June 26, 2012

AFTER AN 11-week trial, Msgr. William J Lynn was convicted of one count of child endangerment, making him the first Catholic official in the nation to be held criminally liable for priest child-abuse. Lynn, 61, was secretary for clergy in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia from 1992 to 2004.

The jury deadlocked on a child-abuse charge against his co-defendant, Rev. James J. Brennan, 48, who was charged with attempted rape of a 14-year-old boy in 1996.

Some of the highlights of the trial:

March 26: Trial begins with questions aimed at Lynn's role in covering up sexual abuse in the church. Lynn and Brennan plead not guilty.

April 4: A 30-year-old man testifies that Brennan molested him during an overnight stay in 1996 when he was 14.

May 1: The jurors hear grand-jury testimony from Lynn responding to allegations that he failed to act in August 2000, when Rev. Sylwester Wiejata allegedly fondled the 13-year-old daughter of a woman with whom he had an affair. Lynn labored while trying to explain to the grand jury why he did not go to the police after receiving an anonymous call about the incident.

May 23: Lynn takes the stand, says that he "did his best" to get rid of priests accused of sex abuse. Brennan chooses not to testify.

May 31: The 11-week trial concludes with passionate closing arguments from both sides. Assistant District Attorney Patrick Blessington says of Lynn's alleged coverups that he and others who protected pedophiles were "murdering the souls of children." Thomas Bergstrom, one of Lynn's four attorneys, says that Lynn merely documented abuse and that he "put a spotlight on their shame."

June 4: In first full day of deliberations, jurors request definitions of rape and attempted rape as well as what is needed to prove that a conspiracy occurred.

Friday: District Attorney Seth Williams says his office will decide whether to retry Brennan. Lynn faces up to seven years in prison. 

Contact Sean Carlin at 215-854-5926 or seancrln@yahoo.com, or follow on Twitter @SeanCarlin84.

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