Monsignor William Lynn, a high-ranking Roman Catholic church official, said Philadelphia's ex-archbishop ordered staff to keep alleged victims of priest sexual abuse in the dark about other accusers, the Associated Press reported.
Lynn took the stand in his trial on Wednesday, saying he had no authority to transfer priests - instead he could only remove those who admitted abusing a minor.
He said he made recommendations to Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, who overturned his plan for the Rev. Edward Avery, when the accused priest was returning to ministry after inpatient treatment.
Avery is in prison after pleading guilty to sexual assault.
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He faces the possibility of 28 years in prison if convicted.
Reuters reported the trial, in its ninth week in Common Pleas Court, is a sad reminder of the sex abuse scandals that shook US Catholics a decade ago.
In the United States, over 10,000 allegations of child sex abuse were brought against priests between 1950 and 2002, according to a report commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Lynn, as secretary of the clergy under Bevilacqua, supervised Philadelphia priests for 12 years. With 1.5 million members, the Philadelphia Archdiocese is the sixth largest in the nation.