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Philly priest becomes first U.S. Church official convicted for covering up abuse cases

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posted on Jun, 23 2012 @ 09:32 PM
But, hopefully not the last.

A Philadelphia priest has been convicted of child endangerment for the part he played in covering up and shuffling from parish to parish, known and suspected molesters without any warning to the new parish of what type of man they were receiving.

The trial of another priest, brought up on similar charges resulted in a mistrial. The DA has yet to determine whether to retry that case. Two more criminal trials for similar cases are set to take place in September.


After a 12-week trial and 13 days of deliberations, shortly after 2pm today, a city jury announced that it found Msgr William Lynn -- the beleaguered archdiocese's clergy personnel chief from 1992 to 2004 -- guilty on a single count of endangering the welfare of a minor.

The charge having stemmed from a grand jury's indictment that Lynn (above) covered up the history of another priest who, on the eve of the landmark trial, pled guilty to having abused a 10 year-old boy in the late 1990s, the conviction marks the first time a church official in the English-speaking world has been criminally punished for his handling of an allegation.

Acquitted on a conspiracy count and a second child-endangerment charge, the 61 year-old Lynn was seen to be weeping as he was immediately remanded into custody pending an August sentencing. According to wire reports, the single guilty count is likely to bring a jail term of three and a half to seven years; the defendant is said to have turned down a plea bargain prior to the trial's March start.

Having built its case on thousands of damning files subpoenaed from the archdiocese's secret archive, the prosecution's case against the monsignor presented Lynn as the linchpin figure in an enduring pattern of reassigning known abusers to parishes where they were able to continue having ample access to children. By contrast, the defense relied on the testimony of the former secretary and his aides to assert that the policy was carried out on the orders of the then-archbishop, Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, whose late January death at 88 came a day after he was ruled competent to testify at the trial.

Whispers in the Loggia

While it is good to see someone paying for their part in this scandal, one has to wonder if Msgr Lynn hasn't been served up as a "sacrificial lamb" by the Church to satisfy the public's desire for justice.

I find it troubling that only low-level priests are being charged in these cases, not the bishops who were ultimately responsible for the decisions to reassign the pedo-priests. Msgr Lynn claims that he was acting under orders from Archbishop Bevilacqua who "conveniently" passed away after it was determined that he was competent to testify in these trials.

edit on 6/23/12 by FortAnthem because:
___________ extra DIV

posted on Jun, 23 2012 @ 11:23 PM

This is a sickening practice that isn't right no matter who the perpetrator is. You can't mask it under the guise of religion and expect to get away with it forever.

posted on Jun, 24 2012 @ 08:32 AM
I'm surprised more people don't care about this.

This is an historic conviction and should show other states the way to go after the people responsible for shuffling around the pedo-priests to bring about some sort of accountability for their actions.

I just wish that they were able to get the bishop involved as well. Its a shame he passed away so conveniently the day after the judge decided he could testify. He should have at least been forced to answer some uncomfortable questions.

Still, I'm proud the my hometown has shown the initiative to go after them and bring them to justice first. I wonder if Boston, where the whole scandal came to light, will ever get around to doing something like this?

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