Southeastern PA

Priest abuse case could reach jury Friday

PHILADELPHIA - After a 10-week trial, a jury will soon weigh the actions of a Roman Catholic church official charged with hiding suspected pedophile priests in the Philadelphia archdiocese.

Monsignor William Lynn faces up to 21 years in prison if convicted of conspiracy and child endangerment.

Prosecutors said Lynn, 61, helped bury sordid tales of abuse in secret church archives from 1992 to 2004 during the time he served as secretary for clergy, when he could have quit or called police.

Defense lawyers insisted Lynn alone tried to address the problem, but said he took orders from the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua.

Deliberations could begin Friday after jury instructions.

The Rev. James Brennan is also on trial, charged with molesting a teen in 1996. He denies it. His lawyer called the alleged victim a "con man" motivated by legal and financial problems.

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