Monsignor Lynn Goes to Court

The scene was unprecedented in the history of the Catholic priest abuse scandal-a Catholic priest standing as a criminal defendant before a judge. He wasn’t there accused of performing the sexual abuse on minors. Rather, he was in a criminal courtroom for what he allowed to continue to happen to countless children during his tenure as one of the top ranking officials in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. From 1992 until 2004, Monsignor William Lynn served as the Vicar for Clergy and was responsible for the handling of priests accused of sexually abusing minors. The recently released Grand Jury Report recommended that he be criminally indicted for endangering the welfare of children in the Archdiocese. If Lynn is found guilty, he could face up to 14 years in prison for the crimes.
Criminal investigations of high ranking church officials who conspired to hide sexual predators and keep their crimes from public view has been done before. It’s the actual indictments that are new. Prosecutors in Boston, Manchester, Cincinnati and Los Angeles have tried to charge church officials with similar crimes but were unsuccessful.
It’s unclear what transpired yesterday in court other than Lynn will not have the criminal charges summarily dismissed. He has two powerful criminal defense attorneys who are being paid by the Archdiocese. While four other priests were indicted along with Lynn, I’d suspect it’s Monsignor Lynn’s case that is drawing the attention and interest of the Archdiocese. They know they can ill afford a criminal conviction.