After hearing 10 weeks of testimony, jurors in a priest sexual-abuse trial in Philadelphia interrupted deliberations Monday to question the judge in the case about the legal definitions of conspiracy and child endangerment.
The jury of seven men and five women sent Judge M. Teresa Sarmina a note asking her to clarify charges against two Philadelphia priests in the groundbreaking case involving the first Roman Catholic Church official in the U.S. charged with mishandling complaints of child abuse by priests, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Msgr. William Lynn, 61, is charged with child endangerment and conspiracy, accused of covering up abuse complaints while serving as secretary for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The Rev. James J. Brennan is charged with child endangerment and attempted rape of a 14-year-old boy in 1996.
Jurors asked whether Lynn had to conspire with a convicted priest and other church officials, or with just one party, in order to be convicted of conspiracy. They also asked for clarification of the child-endangerment and attempted-rape charges.