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Judge says Bevilacqua can be examined by prosecution expert


Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua can be examined by a prosecution expert to see whether he is competent to answer questions about the handling of claims that local priests sexually abused children when he led the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, a judge said Friday.

Ruling on a request from assistant district attorneys, Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina said that she was proceeding under the assumption the retired cardinal was competent to testify in the trial of a former aide, but that she would await more information before deciding whether, when, or where he takes the stand.

Sarmina canceled plans for three days of testimony from Bevilacqua later this month, but set Nov. 28 as a tentative hearing date.

She also left intact a gag order barring lawyers and defendants from publicly commenting on the case.

The battle over the 88-year-old cardinal’s testimony has emerged as a subplot in the looming trial of three priests, a defrocked priest, and a former Catholic-school teacher. Four of the men are accused in the alleged rapes of two boys in the 1990s.

Prosecutors say the fifth defendant, Msgr. William J. Lynn, the archdiocese’s former secretary for clergy, endangered children by failing to remove sexually abusive priests or recommending them for posts that gave them access to minors.

They want to depose Bevilacqua, who was Lynn’s boss between 1992 and 2003, to bolster their contention that the practice was part of a broader pattern or directive among church leaders.

They also have asked the judge to allow them to capture Bevilacqua’s answers in a videotaped deposition before the scheduled March trial because of claims that his health is failing. [more]


Philadelphia Inquirer



  1. Imane says:

    I couldn’t help but nctoie the arrogance on the face of Msgr. Lynn, with a look of like, What the hell am I doing here? I found it funny how all the priests who support those other priests on trial all got a seat in the tiny courtroom, but the victims and their supporter were made to stand. It’s good anyway, because it’s time we stand up to them, while they cowar down to us.Msgr. Lynn has a hard time walking into the courtroom and nees the help of two people to sit down, but after the trial proceeding, while cameramen and reporters waited outside of the Criminal Justice Center, Msgr. Lynn made a quick dash to the hotel 2 blocks away without the physical help from anyone. Nice show, Msgr! I hope you get the minimum 28 years!It’s nice to see some priests overpowered by the law. It’s payback for the priest who overpowered and abused me, and hopefully justice will be swift and overpower the invisibility factor. That’s right, priests think they’re invisible to justice. We’ll see about that.Peace out!Rich

  2. Tony says:

    Of course Bevilacqua should be questioned, and lets get this whole terrible situation into the sunlight, and learn from the mistakes of the past.


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