May 31, 2012 |
Prosecutors and defense lawyers in the clergy sex-abuse trial met privately with the judge Wednesday before dispersing to prepare for their closing arguments. The summations, scheduled to begin Thursday morning, will cap a landmark 11-week trial that has included more than 60 witnesses and the introduction of nearly 2,000 documents, many culled from secret church archives on priest misconduct. Jurors could get the case as early as Friday. A day after testimony ended, Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina summoned the lawyers to a back room to discuss the instructions she will give the jury before it begins deliberating the case against Msgr.
February 29, 2012 |
Lawyers on Wednesday added two more people to the jury for the pending conspiracy and child sex-abuse trial of three 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, people who could be tapped if any of the original 12 are 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.
October 11, 1996 |
When a religious leader is approached by a congregant who is being battered by her spouse, the clergy should: (a) Tell the woman to go home and pray for the unity of her family. (b) Refer her to a shelter, a hot line, or a legal or support agency. (c) Be a good listener. (d) Recommend joint marital counseling. The answers, which are surprising to many ministers, priests and rabbis who have been contacted by the Sabbath of Domestic Peace coalition, are (b) and (c)
May 1, 2008 |
Sorry sinners looking for forgiveness can now get more than just words of wisdom from their pastors, rabbis or imams. They can get a ride to the police station to turn themselves in. City officials launched the "Peaceful Surrender" program yesterday, in which they exhorted city clergy members to help authorities bring in nearly 68,000 people who have outstanding warrants. "We want you to utilize the respect that you have in the community and your powers of persuasion to allow us to access folks in a different way," Mayor Nutter told about 150 clergy members who gathered at a breakfast in West Philadelphia to learn about the initiative.
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.
May 21, 2012 |
The charges against Msgr. William J. Lynn are narrow: that the former Archdiocese of Philadelphia official endangered children by letting two priests live or work in parishes despite signs they might abuse minors. But the case prosecutors finished presenting Thursday stretched beyond those confines. Day after day in Courtroom 304 of the city's Criminal Justice Center, the church itself seemed to be on trial. Over eight weeks, jurors saw a parade of witnesses and close to 2,000 documents, some decades old, that detailed what bishops, pastors priests, and church officials knew and did about Philadelphia-area priests suspected of abusing children.
June 23, 2012 |
UPDATED 5:45 P.M. As the jury foreman read the verdict, Monsignor William J. Lynn turned very red, his family in the two rows behind him crying. Father James Brennan dropped his head to the table as if overcome with emotion, faced with a likely retrial. Lynn was found guilty of one count of child endangerment in the landmark clergy sex-abuse case. The foreman said the jury was hung after 13 days of deliberations on Brennan's charges. Lead prosecutor Patrick Blessington angrily declared he would seek the maximum seven year prison term for the monsignor, and, describing him as a flight risk, immediately moved to revoke the Lynn's bail.
June 8, 2012 |
Jurors in the landmark sex-abuse trial of two Archdiocese of Philadelphia priests ended a week of deliberations Thursday with fresh signs they may be far from a verdict. Midway through a fifth day of deliberations, the jurors asked Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina if they could be excused for all of Friday and Monday morning, citing graduations and family commitments. They also requested to be off Wednesday if they had not reached verdicts against Msgr. William J. Lynn and the Rev. James J. Brennan.
July 19, 2011 |
When allegations of decades-old sexual abuse surfaced last year against a Denver-area priest, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput acted swiftly and abruptly. Chaput suspended the priest the same day the accusation was made. He identified him in a public statement, and turned the matter over to police - all before an internal investigation into the claim could be completed. "Prompt action is painful for the whole Church," the archbishop later wrote in an April 2010 column for the Denver Catholic Register defending his decision.