Emotional day at priest sex abuse trial in Philadelphia

April 30, 2012 3:33:20 PM PDT
There was damning testimony late Monday against Msgr. William Lynn, the first church official criminally charged with enabling sexually abusive priests and covering up child abuse.

The focus Monday was on Father David Sicoli. In graphic terms, two Levittown, Pa. men now in their forties described ongoing sexual abuse at the hands of Sicoli when they were 14 years old, much of the time at his Sea Isle City home at the Jersey shore.

One victim said, "There was always alcohol. That was the key to this. He'd always sleep in the same room with me, even if we were the only ones in the house. I wouldn't say no. Priests aren't supposed to do wrong."

Msgr. Lynn, the prosecution says, knew of Sicoli's long rap sheet of substantiated complaints from victims and priests as well but did nothing to stop it, including not barring him from unsupervised contact with children.

Lynn for many years was the Secretary of the Clergy, accused of keeping dangerous priests in jobs where they could prey on children.

Earlier Monday, the focus was on Lynn's co-defendant, Father James Brennan, accused of the attempted rape of a troubled teen back in 1996.

In documents from an in-house church trial in 2006, Brennan admits allowing a 14-year-old boy to scan the internet for pornography at Brennan's Chester County apartment and sharing his bed with the boy during a sleepover sanctioned by the child's parents.

Brennan told his inquisitor from that 2006 trial, "There was no physical contact." The questioner asked, "Did you attempt to hold him close?" Brennan answered, "No."

Brennan's lawyer contends this man and his family are just seeking a big payday.

This trial is now expected to carry over well into next month. The entire Catholic world is watching this sordid spectacle very closely.