Defrocked Priest Heads to Prison

Defrocked priest Edward Avery began a two and a half to five year prison sentence after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting a 10-year-old altar boy.

Defrocked priest Edward Avery began serving a prison sentence on Monday for his alleged role in the Philadelphia Archdiocese sex abuse scandal.

Avery pleaded guilty nearly two weeks ago for sexually assaulting a 10-year-old altar boy aback in 1999. He turned himself in to authorities in Center City Monday morning. He is sentenced to two and a half to five years in prison.

According to court documents obtained by NBC10, Avery admitted that in 1999, he "engaged in oral sexual intercourse" with a 10-year-old boy while Avery was a priest at St. Jerome's Parish in northeast Philadelphia. Avery was 57 at the time.

The trial also continued Monday for two other church officials. Rev. James Brennan, is charged with raping a 14-year-old boy in 1996. Monsignor William Lynn is accused of endangering children by transferring 21 priests accused of sexual misconduct to new parishes during the 1990s.

Prosecutors claim Lynn kept the accused priests in parish work around children in order to protect the church’s reputation and avoid scandal. The 61-year-old Lynn has pleaded not guilty and blames the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua for hiding the problem.

The prosecution is charging that in some cases the priests were only reassigned to new parishes without the new parishioners ever being told about the transferred priest’s past. The defense argued however that Lynn reacted to the allegations quickly and informed his superiors.

Lynn supervised more than 800 priests as the secretary for clergy in Philadelphia from 1992 to 2004. He's the first U.S. church official ever charged over his handling of abuse complaints.

On Monday the judge also announced that jurors #1 and #9 have been replaced with alternate jurors though he gave no reason why. The trial will resume Tuesday morning at 9:30 p.m.


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