US Church Official Convicted Of Abuse Cover Up

Posted June 22nd, 2012 at 6:40 pm (UTC-5)
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A Roman Catholic monsignor has become the highest ranking church official in the United States to be convicted of covering up child sex abuse.

A jury in Philadelphia Friday found Monsignor William Lynn guilty of child endangerment for his role in transferring abusive priests to other parishes. Prosecutors argued that Lynn chose to protect the church at the expense of children.

The jury acquitted Lynn on two other counts — conspiracy and another charge of child endangerment.

Lynn will be sentenced in August and faces up to seven years in prison.

The jury could not agree on a verdict for Lynn's co-defendant, Revered James Brennan, who was accused of sexually abusing boys. A third priest, Edward Avery, who was scheduled to go on trial at the same time, pleaded guilty on the eve of the trial for assaulting a 10-year old alter boy.

Reports of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy began surfacing a decade ago in the United States and Europe. Victims groups say the church paid little attention to decades of priests' sexual and physical abuse of children and tried to protect the guilty.

The church has paid millions of dollars to settle some of the claims of sexual abuse in the United States. Roman Catholic officials have said the church is working with the proper authorities to investigate and prevent abuse.