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Landmark Philly priest sex abuse case begins

Landmark Philadelphia church abuse case begins; monsignor, priest plead not guilty before jury By The Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA (AP) ' The high-ranking Roman Catholic official charged with shuffling predator priests to unwitting parishes has pleaded not guilty in front of a Philadelphia jury as the landmark case against him and a priest begins.

The trial of Monsignor William Lynn and the Rev. James Brennan began Monday morning after a brief delay. Opening statements are next.

A defrocked priest who had been a co-defendant in the case entered a surprise guilty plea last week following weeks of legal wrangling in the case. Defense attorneys had asked for a new jury, saying it could be tainted if jurors learned of Avery's plea.

Prosecutors say Lynn endangered children by moving dangerous clergy around despite complaints of predatory conduct. Brennan is accused of raping a 14-year-old boy in 1996.

Both men maintain their innocence.

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