Priest jailed for covering up sex abuse of children
A CATHOLIC priest who became the first US church official to be convicted for covering up sex abuse claims against priests was last night sentenced to three to six years in prison by a judge who said he "enabled monsters in clerical garb . . . to destroy the souls of children".
Monsignor William Lynn, the former secretary for clergy at the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, handled priest assignments and child sexual assault complaints from 1992 to 2004.
He was accused of transferring problem priests in one of the country's largest parishes and keeping complaints out of the public eye.
"You knew full well what was right, Mgr Lynn, but you chose wrong," Judge Teresa Sarmina said.
Lynn was the first US church official convicted for his handling of abuse claims in the sex scandal that has rocked the Catholic Church for more than a decade.
A jury convicted the 61-year-old Lynn last month of felony child endangerment for his oversight of now-defrocked priest Edward Avery, who is serving up to five years in prison after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting an altar boy.
"I did not intend any harm to come to (Avery's victim)," Lynn said. His lawyers had sought probation, arguing their client shouldn't serve more time than abusers. They have vowed to appeal the conviction.