Main | Friday, June 22, 2012

PHILADELPHIA: Top Catholic Official Convicted Of Child Endangerment

In a historic verdict, today a Philadelphia jury found a high-ranking Catholic Church official guilty of child endangerment for shielding the crimes of pedophile priests. This is the first time an American church official has been convicted of such charges.
Monsignor William Lynn helped the archdiocese keep predators in ministry, and the public in the dark, by telling parishes their priest was being removed for health reasons and then sending the men to unsuspecting churches, prosecutors said. Lynn, 61, had faced about 10 to 20 years in prison if convicted of all three counts he faced — conspiracy and two counts of child endangerment. He was convicted on one of the endangerment counts and acquitted of the other two counts, leaving him with the possibility of up to seven years in prison.

On cross-examination, Lynn acknowledged that he had not helped the 10-year-old altar boy raped by the Rev. Edward Avery in 1999, seven years after Lynn met with another Avery accuser. “And I'm sorry about that,” Lynn said. Avery is in prison after admitting the crime. One of the key exhibits was a gray folder found in a locked safe at the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The folder contains a list of 35 suspected predator-priests -- and was compiled by Lynn in 1994. At least one priest on the list was a parish pastor until this year. Lynn, the former secretary for clergy, testified that he created the list from secret church files containing hundreds of child sex-abuse complaints.
Bill Donohue is somehow claiming victory.
The witch-hunt has come to an end, and those who have been clamoring for blood lost big time. What made this a witch-hunt was the decision of former Philadelphia D.A. Lynne Abraham to summarily ignore what she was empowered to do in 2001: she was given the charge “to investigate the sexual abuse of minors by individuals associated with religious organizations and denominations.” Had she done so, those cases of minors who may have been sexually molested by ministers, rabbis, and others, would have been investigated. Instead, absolutely nothing was done about these cases.

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