The New York Times website reports that Msgr. William Lynn was found guilty today (June 22, 2012) of one count of endangering children, thus becoming the first senior official of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States to be convicted for covering up child sexual abuses by priests under his supervision.
The 12-member jury acquitted him on a conspiracy charge and a second count of endangerment after a three-month trial that prosecutors and victims' rights groups considered a milestone in the sexual abuse scandals that have shaken the Catholic Church.
The mixed verdict was widely seen as a victory for the district attorney's office in Philadelphia, which has been investigating the archdiocese aggressively since 2002, and for victim advocates, who have argued for years that senior officials should be held accountable. The verdict will also serve as a precedent for future cases involving senior Catholic Church officials.
The trial has already sent a sobering message to church officials and others overseeing children around the country -- a message punctuated by Monsignor Lynn's conviction on a charge that could bring a prison term of three-and-a-half to seven years.