Catholic Cleric Gets 3 to 6 Years in Sex Abuse Coverup

Monsignor William Lynn didn't rein in priests in Philadelphia
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 24, 2012 12:09 PM CDT
Catholic Cleric Gets 3 to 6 Years in Sex Abuse Coverup
Monsignor William Lynn in a court file photo.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

A Roman Catholic monsignor who became the first US church official to be convicted for covering up sex abuse claims against priests was sentenced today to three to six years in prison by a judge who said he "enabled monsters in clerical garb ... to destroy the souls of children." Monsignor William Lynn, the former secretary for clergy at the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, handled priest assignments and child sexual assault complaints from 1992 to 2004. He was accused of transferring pedophile priests in one of the country's largest parishes and keeping complaints out of the public eye.

"You knew full well what was right, Monsignor Lynn, but you chose wrong," Judge M. Teresa Sarmina said. A jury convicted the 61-year-old Lynn last month of felony child endangerment for his oversight of now-defrocked priest Edward Avery, who is serving up to five years in prison after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting an altar boy in church. "I did not intend any harm to come to (Avery's victim)," Lynn said. "My best was not good enough to stop that harm." (Read more Roman Catholic Church stories.)

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