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Defense Fights Charges In Philadelphia Priest Abuse Case

PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) -- A defense request for a preliminary hearing to challenge charges several Philadelphia Archdiocesan priests sexually assaulted boys, and covered it up is delayed, in part, because the prosecution has added a new charge, conspiracy.

Prosecutor Evangelia Manos says the conspiracy charge is based on powerful evidence that up and down the Archdiocese's chain of command, the paramount goal was to avoid and prevent scandal.

Monsignor William Lynn appeared in court Monday.

Lynn is charged with endangering children by transferring predator priests without warning to unsuspecting parishes. Two veteran criminal lawyers defending him say the archdiocese is paying them.

Two fellow priests, a former priest and teacher also appeared.

Prosecutors say three of them raped the same boy.

The Rev. James Brennan's lawyer says he will seek reimbursement from the archdiocese if Brennan is acquitted of raping a 14-year-old boy.

All the defendants, Monsignor William Lynn, three priests and a lay teacher maintain their innocence.

The judge refused to step down from the case but delayed other rulings until a March 25 hearing.

Reported by Tony Hanson, KYW Newsradio

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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