We earn 8% in referral fees when you shop Amazon through our link. We make it easy! Click to learn how.
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Msgr. Lynn given 3-6 year prison term in Philadelphia abuse case

Catholic World News - July 24, 2012

Msgr. William Lynn, who was convicted in June on child-endangerment charges, has been sentenced to serve 3 to 6 years in prison.

A former vicar for clergy in the Philadelphia archdiocese, Msgr. Lynn is the first official of an American diocese to be convicted for failure to address sex-abuse charges. His lawyers, who argued that he was powerless to change policies approved by his superiors, have indicated that they will appeal the conviction.

Lawyers for Msgr. Lynn had asked the Pennsylvania court to give him a lighter sentence, perhaps involving parole or house arrest. They argued that he is not a threat to the community, and most first-time offenders convicted on similar charges do not serve significant prison terms. The prosecution countered with a plea for the maximum sentence of 7 years, pointing to the priest's "active, even eager execution of archdiocesan policies, carried out in the face of victims' vivid suffering."

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Progress toward our March expenses ($29,119 to go):
$35,000.00 $5,880.70
83% 17%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 6 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Savonarola - Jul. 25, 2012 3:17 PM ET USA

    You seem to be missing the point, Thomas429, which is that Msgr. Lynn failed seriously in his obligation as a Christian and as a citizen. He was part of the cover-up. He did not speak up or call the police. To say that "you don't say no to a Cardinal," in the face of horrible crimes, demonstrates moral inertness or blind obedience or concern for career that leads some non-Catholics to reasonably conclude that Catholics and some of their ecclesial leadership are unthinking robots.

  • Posted by: hartwood01 - Jul. 24, 2012 9:08 PM ET USA

    The bishops mantra must be "call the police",simple to remember.

  • Posted by: Thomas429 - Jul. 24, 2012 9:03 PM ET USA

    So much for "Christian Charity" amongst the commentators on this article. I know that a very small number of priests did questionable things with the young men in their care. I also know that the number of accusations exceeds the number of actual transgressions. To make an such an example of someone with a very minor role in the actions taken at the time is beyond the pale.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 24, 2012 6:12 PM ET USA

    Msgr.has been made a scapegoat. Most people tend to forget that the the victims who came forward did so after going to the police and were told that the statue of limitations had passed. Msgr. Lynn worked within a system which we now know was dysfunctional. However, he did the best he could given the limits of his authority. The vindictiveness of the Phila. judicial system was aptly demonstrated by a sentence no one else would have received if similar charges had been brought against them.

  • Posted by: Savonarola - Jul. 24, 2012 5:53 PM ET USA

    Good comment. If we cannot have better qualified "mitred heads" (until the bishop selection process is improved), well, we'll have to settle for mitred heads that "lie uneasy." The use of the immoral Nuremberg defense by this Msgr. was absolutely disgraceful.

  • Posted by: Gil125 - Jul. 24, 2012 3:12 PM ET USA

    "I was only following orders" didn't work any better in Philadelphia than it did in Nuremberg. This whole case must, however, make a lot of mitred heads lie uneasy. And, if one may opine, properly so.

Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org
Shop Amazon

Recent Catholic Commentary

Opening Ourselves to Meaning and Purpose 15 hours ago
A thin-skinned Vatican spokesman harms his own standing 15 hours ago
Pope Francis prevails in Round I of battle for Vatican reform 23 hours ago
Social Media’s Vanity Fair: Danger on every side! March 4
The Ways of Evangelization March 3

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope Francis to address Congress in joint session in September CWN - February 5