Expert: Church can investigate sex-abuse reports

April 12, 2012 9:50:43 AM PDT
An expert on Roman Catholic church law is testifying in the trial of a Philadelphia monsignor charged with endangering children during the priest sex-abuse scandal.

The Rev. Thomas Doyle says nothing in church law prevents church officials from fully investigating complaints, removing priests from their jobs during investigations or contacting civil authorities.

Philadelphia prosecutors say Monsignor William Lynn conspired with abusers and other church officials to keep church members and police in the dark about scores of sex-abuse complaints reported to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia since about 1950.

Lynn could spend years in prison if convicted of conspiracy and child endangerment. He is the first Catholic church official in the U.S. charged for his administrative response to abuse complaints.

The trial is expected to last several months.