Philadelphia’s top prosecutor said a jury’s guilty verdict on one of four charges against the first Catholic Church official to be criminally prosecuted for placing children in proximity with sexually abusive priests when he did not directly abuse the children would change how religious and secular institutions deal with sexual abuse, the Legal Intelligencer reports. The conviction of Monsignor William Lynn “will change the ways business is done in institutions [ ] where people will not protect predators at any cost,” said District Attorney Seth Williams.
Lynn defense attorney Jeffrey Lindy said Lynn was the fall guy for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Lynn was the secretary of clergy from 1992 to 2004 under the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua with responsibility for recommending assignments of priests and investigating reports of sexual abuse by priests. “He’s crushed. He’s in custody and he didn’t want anything other than to help kids,” Lindy said. When Williams was asked why other church leaders in the chain of command above Lynn were not prosecuted, Williams said his job was to charge “those I believed we could prove guilty beyond reasonable doubt, not just to go on witch hunts, supposition, or a wing and a prayer.”