Judge halts release of cardinal's secret testimony

July 25, 2011 - 3:29 PM

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A Philadelphia judge has halted the release of 1,200 pages of grand jury testimony of a Roman Catholic cardinal relating to his handling of priest sex-abuse complaints.

Prosecutors say they filed Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua's secret testimony from 2003 to support criminal charges filed this year against a high-ranking church official.

Monsignor William Lynn is charged with conspiracy and child endangerment for allegedly transferring priest-predators without warning.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Sunday that Bevilacqua, the former archbishop, testified that accused priests "would not be able to function" if new parishes were warned of their backgrounds.

Common Pleas Judge Lillian Ransom has put a hold on the further release of the documents filed Friday. She did not immediately return a call for comment Monday.

The 88-year-old Bevilacqua now suffers from cancer and dementia.