Monsignor Lynn, 1st Catholic Official Convicted in Cover Up of Sexual Abuse of ChildrenGood News: Monsignor William J. Lynn is the first U.S. Catholic official who has been convicted for covering up the sexual abuse of children. He was sentenced to 3-6 years in prison on Tuesday, July 24.
Lynn, 61, has been in a jail since his June 22 conviction on endangering the welfare of a child. Monsignor Lynn escaped what prosecutors were seeking, which was the maximum penalty of up to seven years.
“You knew full well what was right, Monsignor Lynn, but you chose wrong,” said Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina.The Washington Post reported:
Sarmina told Lynn that he enabled “monsters in clerical garb ... to destroy the souls of children, to whom you turned a hard heart.”
Lynn was head of priest personnel for a dozen years and was one of the highest-ranking officials in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.Judge Sarmina came down on Lynn for his actions once more:
Lynn was the first church official to be tried for what many see as an unaddressed crime in the decades-long tally of abuse throughout the church: No U.S. bishops or officials who covered up and enabled the abuse had previously been held accountable in criminal court.
He was charged with recommending that James J. Brennan and another former priest, Edward Avery, be allowed to live or work in parishes in the 1990s despite indications that they might abuse children. Avery later sexually assaulted a 10-year-old altar boy. He pleaded guilty before the trial and is serving up to five years in state prison.
Brennan was on trial along with Lynn but the jury could not reach verdicts on the attempted rape and endangerment charges against him; prosecutors said Monday that they plan to retry Brennan.
The sentence, she said, “sends a powerful message: cover-up child sex crimes and you’ll go to jail. Not house arrest. Not community service. Not a fine. You’ll be locked up.”More Good news: The WP also reported: Bishop Robert Finn of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph in Missouri, will be tried on charges that he failed to report suspicions that one of his priests might be an abuser. If Finn is convicted, he would be the first bishop ever found guilty in the abuse scandal.
“If Finn gets convicted, that is certainly going to send a message” to other church officials, said the Rev. Thomas J. Reese, a Jesuit priest and political scientist who is a fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University.
Watch Lynn's case here on video.