Monsignor Lynn to serve six years for abuse scandal
Lynn is highest-ranking church official to be jailed for sex scandal.
A high-ranking Church official has been sentenced to six years in prison for covering up child sex abuse cases in Philadelphia. The case is a result of efforts by the Church and civil authorities to aggressively eliminate pedophiles from the ranks of the clergy along with the people who protect them. The sentence is expected to send a message to others in positions of trust.
Monsignor Lynn will serve at least three years in prison, and possibly up to seven before he is released.
Lynn will serve at least three of those years in prison, and possibly longer. A sentence for another, single count of child endangerment is pending and could add a seventh year to his time.
Monsignor Lynn oversaw 800 priests in the Philadelphia Archdiocese and was responsible for investigating claims of abuse. However, instead of involving higher Church and civil authorities, Lynn often covered up allegations of abuse often by transferring priests to different parishes where they continued to prey on children.
In one case, he transferred a known pedophile priest to another parish that was attached to a grade school. That priest went on to abuse a 10-year-old boy.
"We're talking about children being raped," lead prosecutor Patrick Blessington told the court before sentencing.
Lynn was sentenced while wearing his Roman collar. To his credit, he apologized to the victims and acknowledged his guilt. However, his attorney later fired back at the court calling the sentence of six years, "grossly imbalanced."
Victim's families expressed relief and satisfaction that Lynn would be going to prison.
Lynn will be eligible for parole in three years. The Vatican has followed the case closely and there is no word yet on what action the Holy See will take next. Regardless Pope Benedict XVI has made it pointedly clear that all children will be protected under his leadership. New Church guidelines are already in place and are under review to ensure they are strong enough to protect children.
© 2012, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: William Lynn, Philadelphia, church, sex abuse, pedophile priests
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