Philly Priest Gets 3-6 Years for Abuse Cover-Up

By Andrew Lu on July 26, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Philadelphia Catholic Priest, Monsignor William Lynn, was sentenced to three to six years in jail for covering up sex abuse claims at the Philadelphia Archdiocese.

Lynn is the first priest to be imprisoned for the cover-up of sex abuse, as opposed to the sex abuse itself.

For 12 years, from 1992 to 2004, Lynn oversaw priest assignments and handled child sex abuse complaints at the Philadelphia Archdiocese. He did an awful job and allowed individuals like defrocked priest Edward Avery to sexually assault an altar boy in 1999, reports The Associated Press.

Generally, parents, guardians, and any other adult having supervision of a child owe a duty to not knowingly place the child in harm's way. Prosecutors argued that Lynn failed this duty by continuing to allow suspected pedophile priests to have close contact with children, and failing to take steps to properly address child sex abuse complaints.

In handing down her sentence, the judge told Lynn that he "enabled monsters in clerical garb ... to destroy the lives of children" and said that he failed many children during his 36-year church career, reports the AP.

Perhaps what's most notable about this case is that Lynn actually received a harsher prison sentence than the convicted sex abuser he was supposed to oversee. The Catholic priest could go to prison for six years, while Edward Avery only faces five years in jail. This sentencing should serve as a reminder to all individuals that knowingly put a child in harm's way that child endangerment can be as serious as (if not more serious than) committing the abuse itself.

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