Father James Brennan enters the courthouse while the jury deliberates on the sexual abuse trial in Philadelphia June 20. Father Brennan is accused of child endangerment and attempted rape of a 14-year-old in 1996. CNS photo/Tim Shaffer, Reuters

Jury hung on four of five charges in Philadelphia abuse trial

By  Catholic News Service
  • June 21, 2012

PHILADELPHIA - After jury members said they could not agree on four of five charges in a Philadelphia clergy abuse trial June 20, Common Pleas Judge Teresa Sarmina instructed them to continue deliberations in order to reach a verdict.

Sarmina suggested June 20 -- the 12th day of jury deliberations -- that they rehear portions of testimony from two accusers to help them finalize their decision. She also turned down a defense request for a mistrial.

The landmark trial began March 26 in the Court of Common Pleas.

It focuses on Father James J. Brennan, who has been charged with attempted rape and child endangerment for alleged abuse of a 14-year-old boy in 1996, and Msgr. William Lynn, former archdiocesan secretary for clergy.

Msgr. Lynn, who has not been accused of abusing any children himself, is charged with conspiracy and two counts of child endangerment for allegedly helping the church cover abuse complaints. He faces up to 21 years in prison if convicted and is the highest ranking U.S. church official to be charged with crimes related to clergy sexual abuse.

Both Msgr. Lynn and Father Brennan have pleaded not guilty to their charges.

No information was released in court June 20 on which of the five charges the jury had agreed on.

According to The Associated Press, the judge told jurors it could take days to rehear testimony, but it was better than having to retry the case if the jury is deadlocked.

Please support The Catholic Register

Unlike many media companies, The Catholic Register has never charged readers for access to the news and information on our website. We want to keep our award-winning journalism as widely available as possible. But we need your help.

For more than 125 years, The Register has been a trusted source of faith-based journalism. By making even a small donation you help ensure our future as an important voice in the Catholic Church. If you support the mission of Catholic journalism, please donate today. Thank you.