Govt: Admitted predators kept in Philly church

Catholic Monsignor William Lynn leaves Philadelphia Criminal Justice Center for a lunch break on March 26, 2012 in Philadelphia during his trial on covering up pedophile abuses. STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images

(CBS/AP) PHILADELPHIA -Jurors in the Philadelphia clergy-abuse trial heard about one of the most notorious priests named in a 2005 grand jury report.

Church documents say the priest admitted in the 1970s that he had sexually assaulted three eighth-grade boys in one year alone. He remained in ministry through 1980, and taught Latin at a Main Line Philadelphia public school in 2004.

Monsignor William Lynn is charged with child endangerment for allegedly keeping him and other accused predators in ministry.

Defense lawyers say Lynn took orders from two archbishops. No other church administrators are charged.

Letters show Lynn felt the man should not return to ministry in the 1990s, because of the risk to the archdiocese.

But prosecutors say there's no mention of the potential harm to children or need to contact police.

Landmark Pa. Catholic Church abuse trial begins

Another witness in the landmark priest-abuse trial described feeling "helpless and trapped" as a 13-year-old, because her priest was fondling her when she worked weekends at the rectory.

The woman says she didn't tell anyone for years, and later learned the same priest had fondled her younger sisters.

The woman testified Wednesday, the fourth day of the child-endangerment trial of Lynn, the longtime secretary for clergy in Philadelphia. Lynn is the first Roman Catholic Church official in the U.S. charged with child endangerment for allegedly leaving predators in jobs around children.

The priest who allegedly fondled the woman at a suburban parish in Bristol around 1970 was removed from ministry after the church sex-abuse scandal broke in 2004. By then, he had admitted to an archdiocesan review board his "longstanding habit" of fondling girls' breasts, according to a 2005 grand jury report. The Associated Press is not naming him because he was never charged.

Prosecutors are showing jurors his personnel files, and those of 20 other accused priests, to try to show that they were left in ministry despite complaints, and some admissions, of child sexual abuse.

A fellow priest had contacted the archdiocese about the Bristol pastor in 1988. Police in Bucks County had received a complaint about him the previous year but declined to press charges. He was once accused of fondling an 8-year-old girl in traction at a hospital.

The woman said her mother had signed her up to cook for priests on weekends for $5. She said the molestation left her deeply wounded, with "an edge" around men.

On cross-examination, she acknowledged that the archdiocese responded when she first reported her story in 2002, offered to pay for therapy, and later informed her that the priest had been removed from ministry.

The trial is expected to last several months as prosecutors outline how the archdiocese handled sex-abuse complaints over several decades. Lynn's sole co-defendant is the Rev. James Brennan, charged with sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy in 1996. Both he and Lynn have pleaded not guilty.

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