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Landmark sexual-abuse trial: Monsignor called 'keeper of secrets'

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Monsignor William LynnThe first Catholic Church official to go on trial for allegedly covering up sexual abuse of children by predator priests was described by prosecutors Monday as more concerned with protecting the church than children.

Calling Lynn "the keeper of secrets," Coelho said: "The protection of children is the furthest thing from defendant Lynn’s mind.’’

In a landmark case, Lynn is the first U.S. church official charged with endangering children by protecting abusive priests and covering up the child rape and sexual abuse scandal that rocked the church. Lynn, 61, supervised priest assignments as secretary for clergy at the Archdiocese of Philadelphia from 1992 to 2004.

Lynn’s co-defendant, the Rev. James J. Brennan, is charged with sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy in 1996. Lynn is charged with failing to remove Brennan from the ministry despite complaints that he had abused children.

Lynn has said that he sent top diocese officials, including the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, a list of 37 accused priests in 1994, but that Bevilacqua ordered it shredded.


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