A Philadelphia grand jury brought felony charges against a former high-ranking official of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for “purposefully” shielding sexually abusive priests and endangering children in the late 1990s, and said it was uncertain whether retired archbishop Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua was culpable as well, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. It was the second time in less than six years that a grand jury excoriated the archdiocese for its mishandling of sex-abuse cases, again bringing home the scandal that has rocked the Roman Catholic Church worldwide for more than a decade.
The new grand jury report said the current leadership under Cardinal Justin Rigali has not lived up to its promise to protect children by weeding out predatory clergy, keeping as many as 41 priests “in ministry despite solid, credible allegations of abuse.” The panel issued two felony charges against Msgr. William Lynn, who handled all priest personnel issues, including abuse accusations, as Bevilacqua's secretary of the Office for Clergy from 1992 to 2004. “Let this be a clarion call,” said District Attorney Seth Williams, himself a Catholic. “I love my church, but I detest the criminal behavior of priests who abuse, or allow the abuse, of children.”