Priest Will Face Criminal Trial in Philly

On Friday Common Pleas Court Judge Lillian Ransom ruled that Monsignor William Lynn will stand trial on a charge of conspiracy to endanger the welfare of children. Lynn had been a top official in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia under Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua. Prosecutors contend that Lynn knowingly assigned priests who’d been accused of sexually abusing minors to parish assignments within the Archdiocese where they would have the opportunity to continue to molest children.
The Lynn case is significant because it marks the first time in the United States a Catholic priest who is not accused of physically molesting a child stands charged with a crime of covering up and allowing the sexual abuse to continue. Philadelphia prosecutors had been frustrated for years that they had not been able to prosecute top-ranking Archdiocesan officials.
While the latest grand jury report recommended criminal charges against Monsignor Lynn, the conspiracy charge was later added by the prosecution. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer,
“In the criminal case, for the child-endangerment charges to rise to the level of felony, prosecutors must show that Lynn colluded with others over a long time to put children, even unintentionally, in harm’s way. As evidence, they introduced on July 22 thousands of pages of grand-jury testimony that Lynn, two bishops, several accused priests, and Bevilacqua gave between 2002 and 2004.: