Philly Church-abuse Judge Refuses To Step Down

Published February 15, 2012 4:00PM (EST)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The judge overseeing a landmark priest-abuse case is refusing to step down. She says her comments about child-sex abuse being "widespread" in the Roman Catholic church were taken out of context.

Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Teresa Sarmina also declined Wednesday to sever Monsignor William Lynn's case from those of two priests charged with rape.

Lynn served as secretary for clergy in Philadelphia from 1992 to 2004. He's the first U.S. church official charged with child endangerment and conspiracy for allegedly transferring problem priests to unsuspecting parishes.

Lynn had asked Sarmina to step down. He says a remark she made during discussion of potential juror questions was evidence of bias.

Jury selection is scheduled to begin next week. It could take weeks to seat a jury.

By Salon Staff

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