Philadelphia: Church Abuse Case Trial Begins

The case I wrote about in March of last year is being tried, starting today. (as opposed to the similar case from a couple of years earlier than that.)

Monsignor William Lynn supervised more than 800 priests as the secretary for clergy in Philadelphia from 1992 to 2004. He’s the first U.S. church official ever charged over his handling of abuse complaints.
Prosecutors charge that he kept dangerous priests in parish work around children to protect the church’s reputation and avoid scandal.

The AP article has a lot of detail, and is well worth the read, if you’ve got the stomach for it. One bit of good news: a co-defendant pleaded guilty, and will be serving 2-1/2 to 5 years. This is good news because any attempt to blame the victims now has to recognize that one priest already has admitted to the abuse.

I was going to quote some more, but the bits I thought about quoting… I don’t want that on my blog. It makes me sick to my stomach. So I’ll just close with this:

Lynn could get up to 28 years in prison if convicted of two counts each of conspiracy and child endangerment.


  1. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    It’s been obvious for years that the RCC’s hierarchy was more concerned with the Church’s prestige and dignity than with the welfare of children.

  2. machintelligence says

    This seems like the same excuse used by Joe Paterno: I passed the information on to my superiors and they chose to ignore it. I hope it won’t work here either. The RCC wants to claim the high moral ground and they allow this?

  3. Tony says

    Yeah, I can understand not wanting stuff like that on here. I feel like I need a shower and mouthwash after reading that article.

  4. Randomfactor says

    I believe the monsignor has asked for a do-over, since his effective co-defendant has copped a plea. He’s asking for a new jury.

  5. Crudely Wrott says

    That AP article is such a sad read. So many clergy, trusted by their flocks to be like Jesus, trusted by parents who reassured their children and handed them into the care of individuals incapable of making the simple distinction between right and wrong.

    How can any thinking, feeling, loving person still bend a knee to an institution and its representatives who are so demonstrably disconnected from the suffering callously inflicted on the innocent by the very ones who are so willingly given trust? Large boggle factor, that.

    The violation of trust, especially by an authority accorded the elevation and deference and (ugh) reverence that the church has long enjoyed, is a point that should be hammered home at every opportunity. Not just with the church, mind us all, but for such high disregard for even the most basic of human contracts, mutual trust, the sin of the church must be spotlighted for what it truly is. It is nothing less than a failure to be human.

    It is with deep appreciation and absolutely no worship at all that I warmly regard Dear Cuttlefish who regularly reminds me that things are probably a little bit better than they appear and if you look closely, there are exceptional humans lurking nearly everywhere.

  6. redgreeninblue says

    From the AP article:

    Defense lawyers have long planned to attack the credibility of the two accusers, who have struggled with drug addiction and have criminal records.

    I wonder why! It couldn’t possibly be because they grew up learning that authority figures abuse you, then that other authority figures cover up for them, then that their own parents or guardians were either part of the cover-up or simply wouldn’t listen to them, could it? Of course not. :-/

    I can’t believe that in a case like this, a judge would allow defence lawyers to proceed along such lines of questioning.

  7. Die Anyway says

    I don’t know if the ads were local or national but recently there were some icky-sweet commercials playing on our local stations exhorting people to “come back” to the Catholic Church… the church that founded Christianity, the church that “wrote” the bible. Every time the ad played and ended with “come back to the Catholic church”, I couldn’t help but add in my mind “and bring your little boys with you.”

    I am so disgusted with the RCC that I no longer enjoy socializing with my cousin and her husband who are extremely active in the Catholic church. It just feels wrong. I’m not the confrontational type so I don’t harangue them about the scandals, I just avoid them. Damn, I hope that doesn’t make me an accomodationist. :(

  8. Zugswang says

    I can’t believe that in a case like this, a judge would allow defence lawyers to proceed along such lines of questioning.

    That’s kinda par for the course with any case, heinous as it may be. If the law is on your side, argue the law, if the facts are on your side, argue the facts. In the latter case, you attack the inadequacy of the evidence, real or imagined. Those witnesses are evidence against your client, and so, you attack them, too, because you don’t get paid to be a decent human being, you get paid to defend your client.

  9. says

    It is great to see this trial going forward. To many people in similar positions to Lynn got away with it. Perhaps the most offensive of these cases was Cardinal Bernard Law in Boston. As a reward for his hiding priest abuse scandals, he was repositioned by John Paul II to Rome. That’s right, he got a promotion from the RCC leadership. What rubbish.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *