New Pa. archbishop: Don't make msgr. 'a scapegoat'

Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua listens to a reporter's question as St. Louis Archbishop Justin F. Rigali, right listens at a news conference in Philadelphia Tuesday July 15, 2003. (AP Photo/Jacqueline Larma)

September 7, 2011 4:27:50 PM PDT
The new archbishop of Philadelphia says he doesn't want a monsignor accused of transferring predator priests to new parishes to become "a scapegoat."

Monsignor William Lynn is the first Roman Catholic church official in the U.S. facing criminal charges for how he handled priest-abuse complaints. He is charged with child endangerment.

Archbishop Charles Chaput (chap-YEW') tells The Associated Press that anger over the crisis shouldn't drive the case against Lynn.

Both prosecutors and defense lawyers have said Lynn was taking orders from Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua. But prosecutors have said they lack evidence to charge the retired cardinal.

The ailing, 88-year-old Bevilacqua was expected in court Monday for a witness competency hearing. The date has been moved to Oct. 19. It's not clear if he will have to attend.