Landmark Priest Sex Abuse Trial Begins
Last-minute guilty plea sends defense's strategy into disarray
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Mar 26, 2012 7:50 AM CDT
Mug shots are seen for, from left, Edward V. Avery, Monsignor William Lynn, and the Rev. James J. Brennan.   (AP Photo, File)

(Newser) – Two Catholic priests are set to go on trial in Philadelphia for charges related to alleged child sexual abuse today, and their chances of victory look a lot lower than they did last week. Monsignor William Lynn is the first church official charged with child endangerment for failing to remove two alleged abusers from their posts, the AP reports. One of those alleged abusers, Rev. James Brennan, is on trial alongside him, charged with raping a 14-year-old boy in 1996. But the other, Edward Avery, submitted a last-minute guilty plea.

Avery confirmed the story of a 10-year-old altar boy he was accused of raping in 1999, and said that the archdiocese knew of the complaint yet kept him in parish positions. Avery now faces 2.5 to 5 years in prison, and his former co-defendents face an uphill climb, given that their strategy had revolved around questioning the credibility of the accusers. If they are convicted, civil lawyers think it will help them refile a host of priest abuse lawsuits. Philadelphia prosecutors have also hinted that they may charge other church officials for what they think was an "archdiocesan-wide policy."

More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Landmark Priest Sex Abuse Trial Begins is...
0%
9%
5%
50%
30%
6%
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Comments
Showing 3 of 24 comments
MarkHaszard
Mar 26, 2012 1:26 PM CDT
Please examine the Jehovah's Witnesses who go door to door and come on our property.Jehovah's Witnesses pedophiles. Many court documents and news events prove that Jehovah's Witnesses require two witnesses when a child comes forward with allegations of molestation within the congregation. Such allegations have customarily been treated as sins instead of crimes and are only reported to authorities when it is required to do so by law, (which varies by state). It has also been shown that child molesters within the organization usually have not been identified to the congregation members or the public at large. These people engage in a door to door ministry, possibly exposing children to pedophiles. Although the Watchtower Bible Tract Society claims that known pedophiles are accompanied by a non-pedophile in such work, there is no law stating that such a practice must be followed. The Watchtower corporation has paid out millions in settlement money already. --Danny Haszard abuse victim
Spudsy
Mar 26, 2012 11:50 AM CDT
Accounting firm Arthur Anderson was put out of business when the government thought they might be an organized tax fraud ring with Enron. The catholic church IS an organized pedophilia and pedophile protecting ring. Guess the US government and it's ball-less prosecutors value money more than the safety of or children. I'm not surprised. But any catholic that still gives money to that church should be called a supporter of pedophilia. Hear that you child raping bastards? NO. Your parish is NOT any different. The money all supports it, YOUR money, you sick hateful perverts. All for a little magic and because you live in fear. Pussies.
HMunster
Mar 26, 2012 11:31 AM CDT
The dude on the left seems rather cheery for a guy who's going to do time in a penitentiary where they hate and kill pedophiles! That said, 2.5 to 5 years for raping a ten year old boy seems like a very light sentence...