Philadelphia monsignor sentenced in cover-up of priest sex abuse
Msgr. William J. Lynn was sentenced to 3 to 6 years in state prison Tuesday for child endangerment by a judge who said he turned a blind eye while “monsters in clerical garb” sexually abused children and devastated the church and community.
“You knew full well what was right, Monsignor, but you chose wrong,” Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina told him.
The punishment capped a two-hour hearing and a landmark trial, the first for a Catholic church official accused of enabling child-sex abuse.
The sentence fell just short of the maximum that Philadelphia prosecutors wanted, but was far more severe than the probation or county jail term Lynn’s lawyers argued for.
Lynn told the judge that he was sorry for his “failings” during the 12 years he managed priests’ assignments and investigated clergy-sex abuse reports for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
He repeated a claim he made during his trial, that he did his best as clergy secretary.
“But the fact is, my best was not good enough - and for that I’m truly sorry,” he told the judge.
Under state guidelines, Lynn will have to serve at least three years before becoming eligible for parole.
Even then, his chances at getting out early could be slim. The state parole board has typically been reluctant to grant early release to inmates convicted of sex-crimes involving children.