NEWSFLASH: High-Ranking Catholic Clergyman Convicted!

After a three-month trial, Monsignor William Lynn of Philadelphia has been found guilty of one count of endangering children in the archdiocese for which he served as secretary of clergy from 1992 to 2004. The jury was shown evidence that Lynn had concealed reports of alleged sexual abuse by priests and had not acted strongly to keep molesters away from children, nor did he report suspected abusers to criminal authorities. Lynn was acquitted of a second endangerment count and a third count, of conspiracy.

Lynn is now the first senior church official to be convicted of a cover-up in the priest sexual abuse scandals that have rocked the Catholic Church over the last 10 years. He faces 3 1/2 to 7 years in prison.

The monsignor was prosecuted along with Rev. James Brennan, but the jury deadlocked on a verdict and a mistrial was declared. Brennan was accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy.

Those who have worked hard to bring abusing priests to justice are heartened by the decision, and hope it empowers prosecutors in other locales to take action against church higher-ups who failed to stem sexual abuse. Barbara Dorris of SNAP (Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests), told The New York Times:

The guilty verdict sends a strong and clear message that shielding and enabling predator priests is a heinous crime that threatens families, communities and children, and must be punished as such.

For more on the case and its outcome, see here and here.

Photo of statue holding scales of justice, Adelaide, Australia, from Flickr user mikecogh under license from Creative Commons 2.0

 

Comments

  1. We can hope that this will be the first of many such convictions since reassigning sex abusers to other parishes and/or other dioceses was routine until quite recently. It is probably still going on in many places.

  2. Emma Onawa says:

    Well overdue and just a start, I hope. Lynn likely will get a lot of unwanted attention from other prisoners, which he deserves, unlike the children who suffered from his institutional coddling of perverts and pedophiles. The Catholic chuch must be taken to task and forced to take responsibility for its sick and twisted practices.

    signed: A Freed Catholic

  3. Why wasn’t the result of the trial on the news shows?

  4. Thank God ..a small measure of justice for those whose lives were damaged and in some cases destroyed by pedophile priests and the Catholic hierarchy who systematically protected them. The Catholic Church should be severely financially penalized for this cover-up both as punishment and to send a message that this abuse of power will never be tolerated again.

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