Common Pleas Judge M. Teresa Sarmina has instructed jurors in the case involving Father James Brennan and Monsignor William Lynn in the conspiracy to hide the sexual molestation of several children. Father Brennan’s lawyer, William Brennan (no relation) moved for a mistrial claiming that Judge Sarmina was pointing the jury in a particular direction. He told her “You’ve in effect made yourself a 13th juror.” Sarmina countered that the jury had ashed for help previously and denied the motion.
She did, however, instruct the jurors to try and reach a verdict one last time. They were deadlocked on four of the five charges.
The jury consists of five women and seven men and includes a federal clerk and a gospel singer.
Lynn is charged with conspiracy and two charges of child endangerment for allegedly helping the Roman Catholic Church cover up abuse complaints and Brennan is charged with attempted rape and child endangerment for his alleged abuse of a 14-year-old boy. Sarmina did acknowledge that it could take several days to rehear the testimony that was given by the accuser of Brennan and the victim of another priest, Father Edward Avery, who pled guilty before the trial.
The trial, itself, is still groundbreaking. Terence McKiernan, president of BishopAccountability, stated that:
“No matter how this trial is ultimately resolved, the facts it revealed stand as a detailed and devastating indictment of the Philadelphia archdiocese. The transcript and exhibits of this trial are the most important record yet produced of an institution’s failure to prevent the sexual abuse of children. This is a record of historic importance that will ultimately help the Catholic church and society at large to deal with a terrible and enduring problem.”