2 sides contest using past responses in priest trial

Prosecutors and defense lawyers in the forthcoming child endangerment trial of a Philadelphia cleric sparred for a second day Tuesday over whether jurors should hear how the monsignor and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia responded to dozens of claims of priests sexually abusing children.

Lawyers for Msgr. William J. Lynn, who is accused of making decisions that enabled two priests to molest boys in the 1990s, say letting prosecutors bring up allegations against 27 other priests not charged in the case would be unfair and irrelevant.

They also contend that as the archdiocese's secretary for clergy between 1992 and 2004, Lynn supervised 800 priests but did not have unilateral authority to reassign them, order them into treatment, or remove them from ministry.

Those decisions fell to his superiors, in particular Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua, the attor...

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