With the jury seated and one less defendant, the first case against a church official accused of covering up child sex abuse has moved into the courtroom, as a national audience turns its attention to the scandal in the Philadelphia archdiocese.
The trial for Msgr. William J. Lynn and Fr. James J. Brennan began March 26.
“This is a huge event for the entire church in the United States and really the world,” said Marci Hamilton, the Paul R. Verkuil Chair in Public Law at the Cardozo School of Law at New York’s Yeshiva University.
Lynn, 61, is the former secretary of clergy for the Philadelphia archdiocese, working under Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua from 1992 to 2004. He faces charges of felony child endangerment and conspiracy. The archdiocese has not been charged, but is listed by the prosecution as an unindicted co-conspirator.
Brennan is accused of raping a 14-year-old boy during a 1996 sleepover at Brennan’s apartment. Both he and Lynn have pleaded not guilty.
A third defendant, defrocked priest Edwa...