For the first time, a Roman Catholic Church official has been convicted in the United States of covering up sex-abuse claims against Roman Catholic priests. Monsignor William Lynn, 61, the former secretary for clergy at the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, was sentenced to three to six years in prison by a judge who said he “enabled monsters in clerical garb … to destroy the souls of children.” Lynn, who was responsible for dealing with child sexual assault complaints from 1992-2004 was convicted of felony child endangerment.
The judge said Lynn “turned a hard heart” toward the victims while protecting abusive priests. Lynn “kept quiet as children suffered,” the judge said. “You knew full well what was right, Monsignor Lynn, but you chose wrong.” She said, “The defendant learned that his predecessors handled clergy sex abuse in a way that prioritized shielding the church from scandal and… perpetuated the same system during his tenure,” she wrote in the 243-page decision, which summarized much of the trial testimony.
In 1992 Lynn sent one of the priests for treatment to a church-run facility. But the facility diagnosed an alcohol problem not a sexual abuse problem, which certainly helped keep the matter quiet. Records were kept in secret files at the archdiocese.
“He locked away in a vault the names of pedophile priests. He locked in a vault the names of men that he knew had abused children. He now will be locked away for a fraction of the time he kept that secret vault,” said District Attorney Seth Williams.
“And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead [was] a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” Revelation 17:4, 5