Monsignor William Lynn took the stand yesterday in his own defense in the landmark case against him in Philadelphia, in which he has been charged with child endangerment and conspiracy for allegedly failing to act in response to cases of alleged priest sex abuse of children. Lynn admitted that he knew there were “pretty sick individuals” on a list he complied in 1994 of priests suspected of sexually abusing children but he said that, “I felt I was helping priests and victims as best I could.”
In earlier testimony, victims told the jury that they were abused by priests such as Edward Avery and Charles Engelhardt in Northeast Philadelphia. One of the victims told jurors that he did not feel Monsignor Lynn listened to his complaints. 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.”
Lynn is also accused of lying to parishioners about the reasons for the removal of priests suspected of abuse. In his testimony, Lynn argued that Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, who died two months before the start of the trial, would not allow him to tell the truth. Lynn faces over 20 years in prison if convicted.
Washington Post 5/24/12; Huffington Post 5/24/12; Reuters 5/23/12; CNN 5/23/12; Feminist Daily News Wire 4/26/12