Monsignor William Lynn was convicted of endangering children on Friday in the landmark case against him in Philadelphia, in which he was charged with child endangerment and conspiracy for allegedly failing to act in response to cases of priest sex abuse of children. Lynn was accused of not removing priests suspected of abusing children and for covering up the scandal. He was taken into custody following the verdict to await sentencing on August 13. Lynn’s lawyers have filed a motion asking that the former cardinal’s aide be released on house arrest until his sentencing.
In a statement, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) wrote, “The unsung heroes of this case are the dozens of victims, witnesses and whistleblowers who bravely came forward to testify.” The statement continued, “We are grateful to these courageous men and women for their efforts to protect kids, expose wrongdoing and get healing. They refused to remain silent and did the right thing by going to law enforcement and not church officials.” They also urged the judge to impose the stiffest penalty possible, writing, “Children are safer when predators and those who shield them are behind bars.”
The jury deliberated for 13 days, convicting Lynn on one count of child endangerment, though acquitting him of one count of conspiracy and an additional count of child endangerment. Lynn’s conviction is being hailed as an historic victory, as Lynn is the first senior official in the church to be convicted of covering up sexual abuse by priests.
Washington Post 6/25/12; New York Times 6/22/12; Reuters 6/22/12; CBS/AP 6/22/12; SNAP Statement 6/22/12