I have written before about Monsignor William Lynn who was convicted of covering up sex abuse by a priest in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. He has now been sentenced to three to six years in prison and becomes the highest ranking member of the Catholic Church to serve time for offenses associated with sexual abuse.
It’s about time. As was clear in the Jerry Sandusky case, when abuse goes on for an extended period of time in a tight, hierarchical organization, it usually means that other people have suspected or been aware of it and either covered up or even enabled the abuse to continue.
For justice to be fully served, many more and much senior figures in the church should be prosecuted for their roles in this long-running scandal and cover-up.
Next up is a case involving an even higher official, Bishop Robert Finn of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph in Missouri, who is charged with not reporting his suspicions that one of his priests was an abuser. His case goes to trial in September.
It speaks volumes for the bizarre policies of the church that after Lynn is released, he will not be defrocked but will likely return to the archdiocese as a priest because as far as church internal rules go, the stature of limitations has passed in his case. It appears that serving jail time for serious violations of the law is not, by itself, bad enough to get you booted out of the clergy.