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Summing up Philly priest sex-abuse trial

May 31, 2012 at 3:30 AM

PHILADELPHIA, May 31 (UPI) -- Lawyers in a Philadelphia clergy sex-abuse trial were to sum up their cases Thursday, before the judge sent the case to a jury.

The jurors would then deliberate either later Thursday or Friday whether Monsignor William Lynn failed to stop fellow Roman Catholic priests from abusing children.

Lynn, 61, served from 1992 to 2004 as secretary for clergy for the 1.5 million-member Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia, in charge of job assignments for priests and investigating complaints about their behavior.

He is not accused of committing sexual abuses, but rather of knowingly endangering minors by moving accused priests to unwary parishes and conspiring with other officials to protect the priests.

Lynn -- the most senior Catholic church official in the United States to be tried on charges related to sexual abuse of children -- has pleaded not guilty.

He faces a maximum prison sentence of 10 1/2 to 21 years if convicted in the landmark trial.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys met Wednesday with Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina in a closed-door session to discuss the orders she would give jurors.

The defense rested Tuesday after presenting multiple character witnesses supporting Lynn and the Rev. James Brennan, accused of the attempted rape of a 14-year-old.

Brennan pleaded not guilty.

More than 60 witnesses testified during the 11-week trial and nearly 2,000 documents, many culled from secret church archives on priest misconduct, were introduced as evidence.

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