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Philly prosecutors pan priest's polygraph

Sept. 19, 2012 at 7:09 PM

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 19 (UPI) -- Prosecutors say they were never notified a polygraph test suggested a Philadelphia priest lied when he pleaded guilty to molesting a 10-year-old.

Hugh Burns, chief of the appeals unit in the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office, also scoffed at the notion that Edward Avery pleaded guilty for any reason except actual guilt, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Burns called the notion that prosecutors accepted the plea knowing Avery was innocent "insane."

"What we know is that he formally pleaded guilty because he had evidence that made him guilty," Burns said Tuesday.

Lawyers for Monsignor William Lynn, the first Catholic official convicted of enabling priests to commit abuse, brought up the polygraph in a motion seeking bail. Lynn, who is appealing his conviction, was sentenced to three to six years in prison.

Avery pleaded guilty shortly before Lynn's trial began. Lynn's lawyers say he was pressured to admit molesting a boy in the 1990s even though he denied that crime and admitted one in the 1970s by the offer of a sentence substantially shorter than he would have received had he been convicted by a jury.

Prosecutors said Lynn assigned Avery to a parish despite knowing his history of molesting boys. The victim, a former altar boy, was a witness for the prosecution.

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