I take no pleasure whatsoever in this news from Philadelphia.
A Philadelphia priest was convicted Friday of one count of child endangerment, becoming the first cleric in the Catholic Church’s long-running clergy abuse scandal to be tried and found guilty of shielding molesters.
Monsignor William Lynn, 61, was acquitted of conspiracy and a second endangerment charge after a three-month trial that had seemed on the verge of a hung jury two days earlier.
. . .
Lynn was the first church official to be tried for what many see as an unaddressed crime in the decades-long tally of abuse throughout the church: no U.S. bishops or officials who covered up and enabled the abuse has ever been held accountable in criminal court. Both prosecutors and victims advocates claimed victory.
. . .
During the trial, jurors and the public heard graphic testimony form nearly 20 victims of abuse at the hands of priests in the five-county archdiocese, which includes about 1.5 million Catholics. They also saw thousands of church records about clergy abuse that had been hidden away by Lynn and others, mainly during the tenure of former Philadelphia Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua.
Lynn’s defense team argued that he was ordered by Bevilacqua not to say anything about the abuse and had no authority to removed priests from the ministry.
“I did my best with what I could do,” Lynn testified in his defense. His lawyers said they will appeal.
Prosecutors argued that did not prevent him from reporting the assaults to authorities, and they said his consistent efforts to downplay abuse claims and thwart inquiries was criminal.
Bevilacqua, who was archbishop from 1988 to his retirement in 2003, died in January on the eve of the trial, and many saw Lynn as something of a stand-in for the man prosecutors wanted to charge but could not.
. . .
In New York, meanwhile, charges that the Orthodox Jewish community is routinely covering up child sexual abuse are making headlines.
And in Missouri, Bishop Robert Finn of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph is scheduled to go on trial in September on charges that he failed to report suspicions that one of his priests might be an abuser. The priest is facing child pornography charges, but if Finn is convicted, he would be the first bishop ever found guilty in the abuse scandal.
There's more at the link.
This verdict won't undo the harm done to countless thousands of victims of this criminal tragedy . . . but perhaps, at last, some of those ultimately responsible for its cover-up and decades-long continuance may be brought to book. That, in itself, is progress.