Tag Archives: Clergy Abuse

What Did The Prosecution Prove About Monsignor Lynn?

This post is cross-posted on the Philadelphia Priest Abuse Trial Blog. On Thursday, after the prosecution closed their case, Judge Sarmina swiftly dismissed the conspiracy charges against Monsignor Lynn and Father Brennan.  Although the move caught some observers by surprise, it was likely not a surprise to the prosecutors.  To prove a criminal conspiracy, the Commonwealth has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendants had a “shared criminal intent,” defined by Pennsylvania law as “the common understanding that a particular criminal objective is to be accomplished.” Commonwealth v. Lambert, 795 A.2d 1010 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2002). Whatever Monsignor Lynn’s ... Continue Reading

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There’s No “Normal” Way For A Clergy Abuse Or Sexual Assault Victim To Act

This post is cross-posted on the Philadelphia Priest Abuse Trial Blog. As Ralph Cipriano reported, the defense attorney for Father Brennan spent a lot of time cross-examining the prosecution's chief witness against Father Brennan by going into the alleged victim’s reaction to the molestation, including why the alleged victim — an adolescent boy at the time — did not call out to his mother afterwards, why the alleged victim took a subsequent motorcycle ride with Father Brennan, and why the alleged victim didn’t report the assault to authorities sooner. Father Brennan’s attorney, coincidentally named William Brennan, has an important job ... Continue Reading

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Do Lawyers Defending The Catholic Church Live On Another Planet?

As I've mentioned before, I think the motivations that compel lawyers to deny reality while defending some clients are varied and complex, but it cannot be denied that, in many cases, the defense is premised not on providing explanations or raising genuine doubts, but on burying the truth. Lest we forget what brought us to the ongoing criminal trial of Monsignor William Lynn, here is how the grand jury report against him begins: In September 2003, a grand jury of local citizens released a report detailing a sad history of sexual abuse by priests of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. That ... Continue Reading

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Can Sandusky’s Sexual Abuse Victims Sue Penn State?

[UPDATE, July 12, 2012: The independent report by Louis Freeh's law firm has been released. It is damning, to say the least, concluding there was a "total and consistent disregard by the most senior leaders at Penn State for the safety and welfare of Sandusky's child victims." Blame is rightfully heaped upon Paterno, Spanier, Curley, and Schultz.] [UPDATE, June 22, 2012: Jerry Sandusky was convicted on almost all counts. Reuters quoted me talking about the effect of the prosecution and conviction on the civil lawsuits pre-verdict here and post-verdict here. Short version: Penn State, as I had hoped, is signaling their ... Continue Reading

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