Catholic priest gets jail for sex cover-up

2012-07-24 21:50
Monsignor William Lynn walks to the Criminal Justice Centre before a scheduled verdict reading, in Philadelphia. (Matt Rourke, AP/File)

Monsignor William Lynn walks to the Criminal Justice Centre before a scheduled verdict reading, in Philadelphia. (Matt Rourke, AP/File)

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Washington - A high-ranking US priest was sentenced on Tuesday to three to six years in prison for his role in covering up child abuse by Catholic priests under his supervision, the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper reported.

Last month, Monsignor William Lynn of the Philadelphia archdiocese became the first church official to be convicted of child endangerment for failing to stop child sex abuse by Catholic priests.

Judge Teresa Sarmina told him at the sentencing: "You knew full well what was right, Monsignor, but you chose wrong."

Lynn offered an apology, saying he had done his best in overseeing clergy but it had not been enough, the newspaper reported.

Lynn was found guilty on one count of child endangerment, but was acquitted on another charge of conspiracy and a second count of endangerment. He was never accused of abusing children himself.

Lynn, who held a position that dealt with investigating clergy misconduct, is the highest-ranking church official to be convicted in the US in the long-running sex abuse scandal that has rocked the Roman Catholic Church for more than a decade.

He allegedly recommended that two priests he oversaw continue to be assigned to parishes despite indications that they might have been abusing children.

One of those priests has since pleaded guilty to sexual assault against a 10-year-old boy. The other priest was tried alongside Lynn, but the jury was unable to reach a verdict on his case.

Read more on:    roman catholic church  |  us  |  child abuse

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