In Pa. abuse trial, a window into church practices

MARYCLAIRE DALE Associated Press Published:

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- A landmark priest-abuse trial in Philadelphia set to start Monday is likely to unveil some of the operations of the Roman Catholic archdiocese and detail how child sexual abuse complaints were buried for decades as the priests they named went about unpunished.

The center of the trial that begins Monday is Monsignor William Lynn, the first U.S. church official ever charged with endangering children for allegedly failing to oust accused predators from the priesthood and keep them away from parishes. And he may not be the last.

Philadelphia prosecutors claim Lynn helped carry out "an archdiocesan-wide policy ... (that) was criminal in nature." They've hinted they could charge others when the trial ends.