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Judge rules priest abuse case to continue

Monsignor William Lynn sought to have case dropped.

PHILADELPHIA - Judge M. Teresa Sarmina refused yesterday to drop the unprecedented child-endangerment case against Monsignor William Lynn, based on new evidence found in a 10th-floor safe at the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

A memo turned over by the archdiocese only this month states that the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua ordered his top aides to shred a list of 35 accused priests still in ministry in 1994 - a decade before the child abuse scandal exploded.

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Jury selection moved quickly yesterday in the landmark child-abuse trial of two priests charged with rape and Lynn, who is charged with protecting the priests and failing to protect children. Lynn, 61, seeking a last-minute bid Friday to have the case dropped, said he prepared the list of accused priests and gave it to Bevilacqua after Lynn became secretary for clergy in 1992 and reviewed secret archives of priest abuse complaints.

The complaints were kept in a secure room at the archdiocese’s headquarters. But a copy of the list was found in the locked safe at the archdiocese in 2006.

Prosecutors argued Lynn prepared the list not to weed out predators but to prepare for possible civil suits.

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