US monsignor sentenced for child sex abuse cover-up

Press TV
Catholic Monsignor William Lynn leaves Philadelphia Criminal Justice Center for a lunch break on March 26, 2012.
A Roman Catholic Monsignor, the highest-ranking US church official to be convicted of covering up child sex abuse claims, has been sentenced to three to six years in prison.

The Philadelphia court on Tuesday handed down the sentence to William Lynn, who was found guilty last month of one count of child endangerment in connection to the US Roman Catholic Church scandal.

Monsignor Lynn, secretary of the archdiocese from 1994 to 2001 and tasked with investigating abuse claims, was found guilty of endangering the victim of Edward Avery, a former priest convicted in 1999 of sexual assault.

Lynn enabled “monsters in clerical garb… to destroy the souls of children,” Judge M Teresa Sarmina said.

The trial, the first in the United States involving a senior official in the Catholic Church, also centered on two more Philadelphia priests.

Lynn, 61, was found guilty of endangering the victim of priest Edward Avery’s, who was convicted in 1999 of sexual assault. Avery was sentenced to between 2.5 and five years in prison.

During the trial, prosecutors presented evidence that he had shielded predatory priests, sometimes transferring them to unwary new parishes, and lied to the public to avoid bad publicity and lawsuits.

Monsignor Lynn’s lawyers argued that he had followed the instructions of the Cardinal at the time, Anthony J. Bevilacqua.

Monsignor Lynn was acquitted of a conspiracy charge and of a child endangerment charge involving another priest, Reverend James Brennan, who was on trial for attempted rape of a 14-year-old boy and child endangerment.