By Amaris Elliott-Engel
Of the Legal Staff
At the end of the seventh day of jury deliberations in the Philadelphia priest sex-abuse trial, the jury asked for an alleged sex-abuse victim’s two-day testimony to be read back to them, as well as the alleged victim’s mother’s testimony and the interview done by a church investigator with the priest who allegedly abused M.B. The Legal is not naming alleged victims.
Prosecutor Patrick Blessington said “give them what they want,” while the defense attorneys for co-defendants Monsignor William J. Lynn and former priest James J. Brennan said that the jury has to rely on their recollection.
One of Lynn’s defense attorneys, Alan Tauber, said that perhaps the jury would remember that testimony better if the prosecution hadn’t presented two months of “bad acts” or “other acts” evidence, or instances of around 20 priests who are reported to have sexually abused youths as evidence about what Lynn knew regarding sexual abuse by priests.
Blessington retorted that perhaps the jury’s memory would be better if Lynn hadn’t gotten on the stand for “two-and-a-half days of lying.”
Sarmina said that she will tell the jury that they will have to rely on their memory.
The jury already had canonical trial proceedings regarding defendant Brennan’s testimony read back to them, as well as M.B.’s canonical trial testimony.
Brennan’s attorney, William Brennan, said that it seems the jury wants to have all the evidence but the bad acts/other acts evidence read back to them.
The reason that there are 12 jurors, not just one, or two, or three is to have “the meeting of minds … and if they can’t, they hang,” Brennan said.
Lynn is accused of endangering the welfare of two men who testified they were respectively abused by James Brennan, who is maintaining his innocence, or former priest Edward V. Avery, who pled guilty to the abuse.
Lynn also is accused of conspiring with Avery to endanger the welfare of D.G. and other unnamed youths. Sarmina acquitted James Brennan and Lynn of a conspiracy charge levied against both of them regarding M.B.
James Brennan is accused of the attempted rape and endangering the welfare of M.B.