Priest defends reviews of sex abuse cases

May 25, 2012 at 8:54 AM
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PHILADELPHIA, May 25 (UPI) -- A Philadelphia priest accused of endangering children acknowledged he never called police in 10 years of reviewing sex abuse claims against Catholic clergy.

Under cross-examination at his trial in Common Pleas Court, Monsignor William J. Lynn testified he didn't handle all the cases he reviewed "perfectly," The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Friday.

Lynn, 61, is charged in relation to his recommendation two priests live or work in parishes despite signs they might abuse children.

One of his co-defendants, the Rev. James J. Brennan, has denied charges he tried to rape a 14-year-old boy in 1996.

The second priest, Edward Avery, pleaded guilty before trial to charges he sexually assaulted a 10-year-old alter boy in 1999.

Assistant District Attorney Patrick Blessington fired off names of defrocked priests at Lynn, demanding explanations as to why he failed to remove them.

"In many of these case, they were priests who had entered the seminary when they were 14 or 15 years old, so they did not develop their sexual identities," Lynn said. "Because they acted out with a minor did not necessarily mean they were pedophiles."

He said his boss, Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua, dictated only confirmed pedophiles would be permanently removed from their posts.

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