Prosecutors rest case in trial of Msgr. Lynn

Strong words from a prosecutor in the trial of Monsignor William Lynn foreshadow what promises to be a hard-charging closing argument. That, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer:

In a preview of what could be a closing argument for the commonwealth, Assistant District Attorney Patrick Blessington told the judge that Lynns actions reflected a broader conspiracy within the church hierarchy.

It was all about the good of Mother Church, he said, after jurors had been released for the weekend. They cared about money, they cared about the business of the church, not the flock and not the parishioners.

Lynn is charged with endangering children by failing to crack down on predator priests he knew about while vicar for clergy for the Archdiocese of Philadephia. He scored a victory when the judge dismissed one of four counts for lack of evidence - a charge that he conspired with his co-defendant, Rev. James Brennan, who is charged with attempted rape of a 14-year-old boy.While prosecutors brought in close to 50 witnesses and submitted 1,900 documents over the course of eight weeks, journalist Ralph Cipriani reports that no evidence was presented for the conspiracy charge, and suggests prosecutors should have charged Lynn instead with conspiring with his superiors. The D.A. seems to be going in that direction now, even without that formal charge.Prosecutors have rested their case, so the question now is whether Monsignor Lynn will testify when the defense portion of the case begins on Tuesday.

Paul Moses, a contributing writer at Commonweal, is the author of The Saint and the Sultan: The Crusades, Islam and Francis of Assisi's Mission of Peace (Doubleday, 2009) and An Unlikely Union: The Love-Hate Story of New York's Irish and Italians (NYU Press, 2015). Follow him on Twitter @PaulBMoses. 

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