Nation

Church memo read at trial suggests priest joked about abusing three boys in week

Monsignor Willian Lynn faces conspiracy charges.

PHILADELPHIA - Jurors in a landmark clergy abuse trial heard Monday about a priest-turned-camp prowler and another who allegedly bragged about having sex with three boys in one week.

Also Monday, two jurors were replaced by alternates, but a gag order prevents lawyers from discussing the reasons for the move.

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Monsignor William Lynn is charged with child endangerment and conspiracy. Lynn, 61, is the first Catholic church official in the United States to be charged for his handling of priest-abuse complaints. Prosecutors say he helped the church bury the complaints in secret files, far from the eyes of investigators, and lawyers.

In the day’s most startling testimony, a detective read internal church memos about a priest who allegedly joked about how difficult it was to have sex with three boys in one week. His accuser also stated that the priest had a “rotation process’’ of boys.

Defense lawyers argued that Lynn tried to address the problem as secretary for clergy from 1992 to 2004, but was blocked by the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua and others.

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