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8 new civil suits allege Philadelphia priest abuse

February 17. 2013 1:38AM
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(AP) Eight new civil lawsuits allege the Archdiocese of Philadelphia covered up child sex assault allegations made against seven Roman Catholic priests.

The lawsuits were being filed Tuesday by a total of nine plaintiffs. Their attorneys plan to release more details at an afternoon news conference.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs said their clients decided to come forward when former archdiocesan official Monsignor William Lynn was found guilty of child endangerment and received a three- to six-year prison sentence.

Named in the latest lawsuits are Lynn, Archbishop Charles Chaput, his predecessor, Cardinal Justin Rigali, and the priests accused by the plaintiffs of sexual abuse.

The 61-year-old Lynn is the first U.S. church official convicted of endangering children by keeping predator priests in ministry. He served as secretary for clergy at the Philadelphia Archdiocese from 1992 to 2004.

The lawsuits were announced as lawyers for Lynn, who is seeking bail while he appeals his conviction, said in court documents that their client's one-time co-defendant lied when he pleaded guilty to abusing an altar boy.

Lynn's attorneys said in a motion filed Monday that former priest Edward Avery gave prosecutors a statement and took a polygraph test in which he denied even knowing the boy. The motion claims Avery didn't actually abuse the boy but opted to plead guilty in order to receive a lesser jail term.

Prosecutors told The Philadelphia Inquirer their response to Lynn's motion would come in court.

Associated Press

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