PHILADELPHIA (CN) – The owner of the Philadelphia Inquirer can unseal testimony by former Philadelphia Archbishop Anthony Bevilacqua and his top aides, speaking to a grand jury about sex abuse in the clergy, a Pennsylvania judge ruled.
Common Pleas Judge Lillian Ransom sealed the 2003 testimony last month after the government filed it as an exhibit in an ongoing, unprecedented case against Monsignor William Lynn, a former clergy secretary who is the most senior member of the Roman Catholic Church in America to be charged with endangering children.
Bevilacqua and his aides had appeared before the grand jury in 2003 for a different allegation against members of the clergy for sexually abusing minors.
Prosecutors say Bevilacqua was in charge of the archdiocese while Lynn was allegedly assigning known predator-priests to posts where they would have easy access to minors.
Unlike his co-defendants – three current and former priests and a parochial school teacher – Lynn is not accused of rape.
Bevilacqua, who is reportedly suffering from cancer and dementia, is slated to appear at a competency hearing on Sept. 12 to determine whether his medical conditions preclude him from testifying in a trial this February.