The Pennsylvania Superior Court’s Ruling


The Pennsylvania Superior Court has dismissed the child endangerment conviction of Philadelphia’s Monsignor William Lynn.

The Court’s position is that Monsignor Lynn didn’t supervise the child or children who were sexually abused by a priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, and it doesn’t think that supervising the welfare of children is a standard that should hold in this case. The Court said it did not believe sufficient evidence was presented to convict Monsignor Lynn for child endangerment.

We hope the Church doesn’t take comfort in this ruling – particularly when it celebrates the Feast of the Innocents on December 28.

It was a dangerous time to be a child 2000 years ago in Herod’s reign if you were two years old or younger. Didn’t matter if the solider who drew his sword to kill you knew you or not. You were just as dead.

Time doesn’t correct everything.

It’s still a dangerous time to be a child.

The Pennsylvania Superior Court didn’t in its own words “dispute that the Commonwealth presented more than adequate evidence to sufficiently demonstrate that [Lynn] prioritized the Archdiocese’s reputation over the safety of potential victims of sexually abusive priests and, by inference, that the same prioritization dominated [Lynn’s] handling of [an abusive priest],” the ruling said.

“Nevertheless, we do not believe such a showing is sufficient to demonstrate intent to promote or facilitate [the endangering the welfare of children] offense.”

The survivors get hurt here.

That hurts us.

In a broader sense, it hurts all of society if the innocents are the ones that that get kicked around and wounded, re-wounded, and re-victimized.

The lesson is that we must all work harder for better, tighter, clearer laws to protect children.

Everybody’s needed. Nobody should be sitting on the sidelines here.

Certainly nobody should use this ruling to add insult to injury by ballyhooing that the sexual abuse scandal is something that belongs to a long ago and far away galaxy and in the era of Pope Francis no person in the Church endangers children.

— Kristine Ward, Chair, National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC)


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