very first conviction of a Roman Catholic Official for child
endangerment in the USA has been decided in a Pennsylvania court jury
trial on Friday June 22, 2012.
Monsignor William Lynn, 61 yrs. old, has been convicted by a 7 man, 5 woman jury, who decided he was guilty of transferring sex abusers, and covering up a list of at least 37 accused priests - and not alerting parents of their potential threat to children.
Evidence showed Monsignor Lynn willfully reassigned pedophile clergy to unsuspecting schools and parishes, without regard for safety; and with the intention of protecting the catholic church instead.
This unprecedented conviction will have far reaching impact on other cases in the US in the future, as no other catholic official in a high position of power has ever been tried and convicted in any court.
One of the most disturbing revelations brought up in the trial showed that Lynn had reportedly told some of the pedophile priests in the diocese that it was the fault of the child victims for enticing the priests into a sexual encounter. Another outrageous allegation was that Cardinal Bevilaqua had ordered the monsignor to destroy the list of sex abusers in the Diocese of Philadelphia, and to conceal the order.
The prolonged two month trial resulted in jury deliberations for 13 days, and the jury did acquit Lynn of several other charges. The jury was additionally deadlocked on a conviction of a named accomplice Reverend James Brennan, who may be retried at a later date. Another accomplice who was willfully transferred after hiding his record from unsuspecting parents by the diocese, Fr. Ed Avery, is already serving a 5 year sentence for raping a 10 year old boy after pleading guilty.
Although many catholic officials, bishops, and cardinals have been accused of the same type of cover-ups and crimes, none have ever led to a trial and conviction. This landmark case may indeed lead to other similar cases of misconduct by church officials to reach the courts as well.
Cardinal Mahony of Los Angeles, Cardinal Law of Boston, and many catholic bishops are known to have transferred pedophiles, and misled parishioners, leading to mass clergy sexual abuse cases that have ended in large cash settlements throughout the USA. However, none of those church officials have been indicted, tried, and convicted.
Monsignor Lynn was immediately taken into custody after the verdict was announced, and his attempts to have his lawyers petition the judge to have him released Friday on bail were denied. Lynns next hearing will be on August 13 th , 2012, and he faces up to 7 years in prison for his conviction.
Prosecutor Patrick Blessington is asking for the maximum sentence allowed by law, and Lynns attorney Jeff Lindy stated that Lynn is absolutely not a flight risk, adding that the conviction, and bail denial is harsh.
Monsignor Lynn was nicknamed the "keeper of secrets", and his unprecedented court trial, and now his conviction, which has been closely watched by the Vatican this month, will undoubted have consequences on other catholic hierarchy who have additionally been accused of "keeping secrets".