May 23rd, 2012
10:27 PM ET

Accused priest: 'I was helping priests and helping victims as best I could'

By Sarah Hoye, CNN

Philadelphia (CNN) - The highest-ranking cleric to be charged with child endangerment testified Wednesday in the landmark child sexual abuse and conspiracy trial in which he and another Philadelphia priest are defendants.

Dressed in clerical garb, Monsignor William Lynn took the stand inside the packed Common Pleas courtroom under the watchful eye of Judge Teresa Sarmina. He was calm, confident and very matter-of-fact during direct examination by one of his defense attorneys, Thomas Bergstrom.

"I felt I was helping priests and helping victims as best I could," Lynn told jurors, swiveling in the witness chair.

Lynn is accused of knowingly allowing dangerous priests to continue in the ministry in roles in which they had access to children. Also on trial is the Rev. James Brennan, who is accused of the attempted rape of a 14-year-old. Both Brennan and Lynn have pleaded not guilty.

Bergstrom and fellow defense counsel Jeff Lindy put their client, Lynn, on the stand at mid-morning.


- CNN's Laura Koran

Filed under: Catholic Church • Courts • Pennsylvania • Sex abuse

soundoff (101 Responses)
  1. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    May 25, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • Emmaleah

      That's funny because Christianity didn't seem to do a whole lot for all those children abused by priests.

      May 27, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • Chuck

      Get real. Payer changes nothing, people change things.

      May 27, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • Jesus

      Prayer doesn’t not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!

      May 29, 2012 at 11:21 am |
  2. Reality


    The "vomit-inducing" ped-ophilia and coverup will simply hasten the decline of all religions as they finally go extinct from their own absurdity.. It is time to replace all religions with a few rules like "Do No Harm" and convert all houses of "worthless worship" to recreation facilities and parks.

    May 25, 2012 at 9:03 am |
    • .....

      phony reality, vomit inducing reality post

      May 25, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      Or mental health facilities to try to cure people of the delusion of religion.

      May 25, 2012 at 9:27 am |
  3. ಠ_ಠ

    "as best he could" was clearly a lie. They should charge him with perjury as well.

    May 25, 2012 at 8:52 am |
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