Earlier Abuse Claims To Be Allowed At Priest Trial

Published February 6, 2012 8:00PM (EST)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The judge overseeing a child sex-abuse case involving three Roman Catholic priests in Philadelphia will allow prosecutors to reference at trial previous molestation claims against other clergy.

Common Pleas Judge M. Teresa Sarmina ruled Monday that the abuse allegations are relevant to the upcoming trial of Monsignor William Lynn.

Lynn is a high-ranking church official charged with shuffling predator priests to unwitting parishes.

Prosecutors want to show a pattern of behavior in how Lynn handled the careers of priests credibly accused of molestation.

The defense wants to limit evidence to Lynn's handling of the priest and ex-priest on trial with him. The Rev. James Brennan and defrocked priest Edward Avery are charged with rape.

All three defendants have denied the charges.

By Salon Staff

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