Secret and intentionally buried internal Catholic Church documents read aloud in a Philadelphia court reveal memos in which a priest, Monsignor William Lynn (image, left) oversaw cases including one of a priest who joked about how hard it was for him to have sex with three boys in one week, and discussed his rotation system for choosing which underaged boys would sleep with him.
“The startling testimony came in the trial of Monsignor William Lynn, 61, who is accused of helping the Philadelphia archdiocese bury priest abuse complaints in secret files,” the Daily Mail reports:
Lynn, who faces charges of child endangerment and conspiracy, is the first Roman Catholic church official to be charged in the U.S. for his handling of priest abuse complaints.
The scandal of child sex abuse by Catholic priests has reverberated internationally, and caused a worldwide crisis of faith in the Roman church.
Prosecutors are detailing allegations made against nearly two dozen priests since 1948 to show Lynn and other officials kept suspected predators in jobs around children.
Giving evidence, a detective read internal church memos about a priest who is said to have ‘joked about how hard it was to have sex with three boys in one week.’
The priest’s accuser also alleged that the priest had a ‘rotation process’ of boys spending time sleeping with him.
Jurors also heard testimony telling of a 1992 complaint about a priest accused of molesting boys at a church-owned camp three decades earlier.
Pennsylvania’s grand jury report, well over 100 pages, details “the sexual abuse of minors by Archdiocesan clergy and employees.”
Calling Lynn’s trail “a step in the right direction,” The New York Times editorial board noted Sunday:
Msgr. William Lynn, the supervisor of Philadelphia priests for 12 years, is defending himself from criminal conspiracy charges by alleging that culpability for the scandal extended to the head of the archdiocese — via a secret archive he compiled on predator priests that he said was ordered shredded in 1994 by Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua.
Whether the jury believes Monsignor Lynn’s contention that he innocently did his duty by compiling the archive and handing it on to his superiors is an open question. But its value in shedding light on backroom maneuvering is already clear. A copy was found in a diocesan safe six years ago and turned over to authorities this year as criminal investigators looked into years of alleged rapes and other abuses of schoolchildren. Cardinal Bevilacqua was expected to testify but died earlier this year.
The trial is recapitulating painful aspects of the nationwide scandal in which more than 700 priests had to be dismissed in a three-year period while the church’s upper echelons faced no criminal charges. The trial unfolds eight years after a review panel of laity appointed by the nation’s bishops urgently warned that to repair the church’s reputation “there must be consequences” for ranking church officials who engineered cover-ups.
Video from March 26. Lynn arrives at the courthouse:
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