Arguments over charge in Philly priest-abuse trial

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

Jury questions in a Philadelphia clergy-abuse trial suggest confusion over charges pending against a Roman Catholic church official.

Monsignor William Lynn is charged with conspiracy and child endangerment for his handling of abuse complaints.

Jurors have asked if Lynn had to conspire with a convicted priest, Edward Avery, or if he'd be guilty if he conspired only with his colleagues at the Philadelphia archdiocese.

The question has spawned hours of courtroom debate, even after a 10-week trial.

The judge is telling the jury Avery does not have to be a co-conspirator, but she says the overt act required under conspiracy law must involve him.

Defense lawyers say that's not how they tried the case. They say the conspiracy charge alleges Lynn conspired with Avery.

The jury has been deliberating since Friday.

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