Priest accused of enabling pedophiles

May 17, 2012 at 1:46 PM
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PHILADELPHIA, May 17 (UPI) -- A Philadelphia prosecutor is working to undermine the defense of Monsignor William Lynn, accused of enabling priests to sexually abuse minors, lawyers say.

Assistant District Attorney Patrick Blessington used church documents Wednesday to show Lynn's defense in 2004, that he was "inexperienced," was a cover for a secretive system of covering up priests' abuse of minors, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Lynn served as chief investigator of priests accused of sexually abusing minors for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for 12 years. When he stood trial in 2004, he told a grand jury he came to the job without the proper credentials. When asked how he prepared for the position, he told the jury "on-the-job training."

Blessington accuses Lynn of playing a role in a damage control campaign initiated by Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua to defend the church from lawsuits by the families of victims. The two allegedly shuttled suspect priests to different parishes, freeing them to prey on more children.

Blessington referred to a 1994 memo to Lynn regarding a committee created by Bevilacqua and other prelates in the state to come up with ways to protect the church's Secret Archives from being subpoenaed for use in victims' lawsuits. Another document, from the same year, is a list of pedophile priests compiled by Lynn and his assistant.

Archdiocese lawyers said Bevilacqua ordered these documents -- among a host of others -- to be shredded. The documents were discovered during an investigation by the District Attorney's Office.

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