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Monsignor testifies in Pa. abuse cover-up case

On witness stand, Philadelphia Catholic official says he lacked authority to transfer priests By The Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA (AP) ' A high-ranking church official accused of moving predator-priests to unwitting parishes has testified that he had no authority to make priest transfers.

Monsignor William Lynn says he could only remove a priest who admitted abusing a minor. Lynn says he otherwise made recommendations for the cardinal.

And he says Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua overturned his plan for the Rev. Edward Avery when the accused priest was returning to ministry after inpatient treatment. Avery is now in prison after pleading guilty to sexual assault.

Lynn is testifying in the ninth week of his child-endangerment and conspiracy trial.

His long-stoic demeanor in court has softened on the stand, and he has smiled several times.

Lynn is the first Roman Catholic official in the U.S. charged for how abuse complaints were handled.

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