In Philadelphia, opening statements are scheduled to be delivered today in the case of Monsignor William Lynn, who has been charged with two counts of “endangering the welfare of a child.” This is the first time a high-ranking official in the Roman Catholic Church is facing sexual abuse charges in the US for the failure to protect children. Monsignor Lynn has pled not guilty to the charges.
A grand jury alleged in its January 2011 report that Monsignor Lynn did not remove priests known to have abused children from ministry positions in which they had access to children. The report stated that Lynn “acted as if his job was to protect the abuser, never the abused.” Charges were also filed against three priests and a parochial schoolteacher in Philadelphia for raping boys as young as ten-years-old over the course of several years.
Barbara Blaine, President of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) stated, “We have seen no evidence that the Catholic Church has really changed anything. We have seen them change their public relations and their statements, but we still haven’t seen one bishop to be fired or publicly punished for enabling or covering up for sexual predator priests.”
In 2005, a grand jury report was filed against the Philadelphia Archdiocese and Monsignor Lynn, accusing Lynn of concealing the sexual crimes of the priests within his laity. However, the charges were dropped due to Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations since the incidents had occurred 11 years prior.
CNN 3/26/12; Feminist Daily Newswire 3/9/11