One day after defrocked priest Edward Avery pleaded guilty to raping a child, defense attorneys asked for a new jury in the priest sex-abuse trial that is set to start on Monday.
Avery admitted sexually abusing a 10-year-old altar boy in 1999 while Avery was a pastor at St. Jerome’s parish in northeast Philadelphia. Avery was 57 at the time.
Attorneys for the two other church officials who will be tried went to court on Friday to ask the judge for a new jury. They argued that the jury is tainted because of the media coverage of Avery’s guilty plea.
Defense attorneys also announced on Friday that Avery will not cooperate with the prosecution and testify against his two co-defendants, Rev. James Brennan and Monsignor William Lynn.
Avery, now 69, was sentenced to 2-1/2 to five years in prison and has 9 more days to surrender.
Father Brennan, 48, is also accused of raping a boy. Msgr. Lynn is accused of knowing about those abuses and transferring Brennan and Avery to new parishes rather than taking disciplinary action.
Lynn has pleaded not guilty and blames the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua for hiding the sex abuse problem. Father Brennan has pleaded not guilty as well and his attorney says he will attack the credibility of the man making the accusations.
SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, wants the trial to proceed as planned on Monday. The group sent out a statement on Friday:
We hope the trial proceeds as planned on Monday. Hundreds of wounded abuse victims and thousands of betrayed Catholics in Philly have waited far too long for justice and the truth.
Catholic defense lawyers have tried every trick in the book to postpone the inevitable and continue protecting shameful archdiocesan secrets. They shouldn't be given another delay.
On Monday, the judge will rule on the request for a new jury.