The pre-preliminary hearing for five current and former priests and other church officials took place on March 14 in Philadelphia, learned a New York Injury Lawyer. While the hearing was supposed to have been a relatively simple matter, before the end of the hearing the judge was expressing her anger toward one of the defendants.
The hearing was the first hearing for the accused since they were all indicted by the grand jury. They each stand accused of sexually abusing children and endangering minors. The court heard arguments from prosecutors and defense attorneys, which lasted for about 75-minutes. While many of those arguments became heated at times, and left the judge exasperated, one particular incident led the presiding judge to address one of the defendants directly.
A Suffolk Personal Injury Lawyer was told that during the course of the grand jury hearing, one of the priests had approached the judge in tears because he could not afford an attorney. The judge then appointed an attorney for him. When he arrived at this hearing, he had paid for his own attorney to represent him. Upon learning of this, the judge required the defendant to rise to his feet and explain his actions. She further expressed to the former priest that he had lied to her. His attorney stated that his client paid for counsel by means of a loan obtained from his brother. He also stated that his client did not understand the question and had misspoken. The judge did not believe it. The priest in question stands accused of the rape of a 14-year old boy.
One of the arguments the defense attorneys are presenting steadfastly is that the authorities that filed the charges initially did not have the jurisdiction to do so, which indicates that the grand jury indictment should be dismissed. The alleged crimes reportedly committed in two other counties. Prosecutors responded by filing conspiracy charges against the priest.
This case is also the first time that charges have been filed against a ranking church official for his role in covering up the alleged crimes and by placing the priests in positions that would provide easy access to potential victims. The former archdiocese faces a felony endangerment charge.
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