Jury selection is to start next week in the case of Monsignor William Lynn, formerly the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s point person for allegations of clerical abuse, NPR reports. “He willingly oversaw numerous reports of child sex abuse,” says Cardozo law Prof. Marci Hamilton. “And he willingly put these men in positions where they had second, third, fourth opportunities to abuse children in new settings.” In most cases, the statute of limitations barred criminal charges. two cases have not expired, and prosecutors say Lynn criminally endangered two young men, allegedly raped when they were 10 and 14, by looking the other way.
Although other senior Catholic officials have been criminally charged for allegedly covering up sex abuse claims, Lynn is the first to go to trial. “Church people are watching this around the country very, very closely,” says Nicholas Cafardi, dean emeritus and law professor at Duquesne Law School in Pittsburgh.