After 11 days of deliberation the jury is hung in all but one of the counts in the Philadelphia Diocese landmark sexual abuse trial.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports jurors sent a note to Judge M. Teresa Sarmina shortly before noon, Wednesday, saying the panel of seven men and five women had reached “a hung jury status” for four of the five charges in the case.
They did not identify the charge on which they agreed.
Judge Sarmina asked them to keep trying.
“If indeed you don’t reach a verdict, the case may have to be tried all over again,” the judge said.
Immediately after the jury left the courtroom, a lawyer for one defendant, Father James Brennan, asked the judge to declare a mistrial. Judge Sarmina rejected the motion. Defense lawyers have complained throughout the proceedings that the judge has shown her hostility toward the defendants.
While the jurors continued deliberating for the rest of the afternoon, they were still not able to reach a decision, so Sarmina sent them home, asking them to return on Friday 13.
Monsignor Lynn, 61, as secretary of the clergy for the Philadelphia Archdiocese from 1992 to 2004, was responsible for priests’ assignments and for investigating abuse allegations. He is on trial for endangering minors and conspiracy to keep an accused priest in active ministry, charges that could carry a sentence of 10 ½ to 21 years.
He is the first Catholic Church official in the country to face criminal charges not for committing abuses himself, but for enabling abuses by playing down credible accusations and reassigning suspect priests to new parishes.
Fr James Brennan is charged with trying to rape a 14 year-old boy.
News category: World.