Philly cardinal set for deposition in rape case

By MARYCLAIRE DALE | November 28, 2011 | 5:15 PM EST

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A retired Roman Catholic cardinal is being deposed this week as part of a criminal priest-abuse case in Philadelphia.

Prosecutors are preserving Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua's (bev-uh-LOK'-wuhz) testimony before a March trial of three accused priests and a former administrator.

Monsignor William Lynn, his longtime secretary for clergy, is charged with felony child endangerment for allegedly transferring predator priests. Defense lawyers say he was acting on the cardinal's orders.

Three other priests and an ex-teacher are charged with rape.

The 88-year-old Bevilacqua suffers from cancer and dementia. He is being deposed at his residence near Philadelphia.

The questioning began after a judge found him competent Monday, and will resume Tuesday.

A gag order prevents lawyers from discussing the case.