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Published: Friday, 7/27/2012


Breach of duty

The watchman didn't watch. That's why Monsignor William Lynn of Philadelphia was sentenced this week to 3 to 6 years in prison.

Lynn failed to protect the safety of children in his Catholic archdiocese for the dozen years he was secretary to Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua. It was his job to make parish assignments and investigate sex-abuse claims against priests.

Last month, Lynn, 61, was found guilty of turning a blind eye to the predations of Edward Avery, a former parish priest who pleaded guilty to charges of sexually assaulting an altar boy in 1999. Lynn was told by a medical student in 1992 that Avery had molested him in the 1970s.

Lynn reassigned Avery to a parish that knew nothing of his history, and made no report to civil authorities. The molester was finally defrocked six years ago, but he didn't confess his crime to authorities until March of this year.

Lynn's sentence lets other dioceses know that shuffling pedophiles to unsuspecting congregations will not be tolerated, and that those who enable such behavior can expect prison time.

Lynn claimed he did everything in his power to keep children safe, but church bureaucracy hindered him. The jury that convicted him didn't buy it. Powerful institutions that protect child predators have much to answer for.

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