Priests reject plea deals in Philadelphia cases

June 6, 2011 - 4:28 PM

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Three current or former priests and a former Roman Catholic school teacher in Philadelphia are rejecting a proposed plea offer to serve 7 1/2 to 15 years on child-rape charges.

The Rev. Charles Engelhardt, the Rev. James Brennan, former priest Edward Avery and former Catholic school teacher Bernard Shero are charged with raping boys in the 1990s. Court documents show all four have rejected plea offers from city prosecutors.

Meanwhile, a church official charged with failing to protect children asked a judge Monday to dismiss conspiracy and child-endangerment charges.

Monsignor William Lynn is the first U.S. church official charged for his role supervising priests. Defense lawyers say no children were in his care.

Lynn also wants his criminal case severed from those of the accused rapists.

The defendants return to court July 29.