A Roman Catholic bishop was found guilty on Thursday of failing to report suspected child abuse, becoming the first American bishop in the decades-long sexual abuse scandal to be convicted of shielding a pedophile priest.
In a hastily announced bench trial that lasted a little over an hour, a judge found the bishop, Robert W. Finn, guilty on one misdemeanor charge and not guilty on a second charge, for failing to report a priest who had taken hundreds of pornographic pictures of young girls. The counts each carried a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine, but Bishop Finn was sentenced to two years of court-supervised probation.
The verdict is a watershed moment in the priest sexual abuse scandal that has plagued the church since the 1980s. Bishops have been eager to turn the page on this era and have put in place extensive abuse prevention policies, which include reporting suspected abusers to law enforcement authorities. But the Kansas City case has served as a wake-up call to Catholics that the policies cannot be effective if the bishops do not follow them.
PHILADELPHIA — Msgr. William J. Lynn, a senior official in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia convicted last month of endangering children, must stay in jail until his sentencing, a judge determined on Thursday.
Judge M. Teresa Sarmina denied Monsignor Lynn’s request for house arrest, saying that he should not be given special treatment and essentially agreeing with prosecutors who said that others convicted of a similar felony would not be allowed to remain at home pending a sentencing hearing.
Monsignor Lynn, 61, is the first high-ranking official in the Roman Catholic Church in the United States to be convicted of covering up sexual abuse by priests under his supervision. He faces up to seven years in prison.
- CATHOLIC CHURCH & CHILD RAPE: U.S. Catholic Priest Found Guilty in Child Abuse Case (alwaysquestionauthority.com)
- Lynn stays in jail but gets sentencing hearing advanced (philly.com)
- Convicted Catholic Monsignor A Flight Risk, Remains Behind Bars (lezgetreal.com)
(Reuters) – A monsignor who oversaw hundreds of priests in the Philadelphia Archdiocese was found guilty on Friday of one count of endangering the welfare of a child, making him the first senior U.S. Roman Catholic Church official to be convicted for covering up child sex abuse.
Barbara Dorris, outreach director for Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said the verdict put the Church on notice that it can no longer “shield and protect” abusive priests and expect to get away with it.
Lynn’s job was supervising 800 priests, including investigating sex abuse claims from 1992 to 2004, in the nation’s sixth largest archdiocese, with 1.5 million members.
Instead of looking out for children, prosecutors said, he chose to protect the Church from scandal and potential loss of financial support.
- In Philadelphia, Catholic Priest Convicted In Child-Rape Scandal Coverup (crooksandliars.com)
- First senior US Catholic official found guilty of covering up sexual abuse (newstatesman.com)
- US priest guilty of hiding abuse (bbc.co.uk)
As Seen On: Friendly Atheist
This is a poem I wrote for my mom who is a Christian. I wrote it about a week after I told her I was bi and she expressed her bigoted view on the subject. I read it to her already, but it still didn’t affect her in any way. I figured I may not be the only one out there that has this problem, so maybe this would help someone else. Feel free to share with anyone you think this would help. . . . If you can’t understand the poem [the lyrics may be found here by clicking "Show more" below the video].