On June 22, 2012, Monsignor William Lynn of the Philadelphia Archdiocese was found guilty by a 12-member jury 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.
Prosecutors and victims' rights groups praised the jury's finding, because it illustrates -- for the first time in the United States -- that cardinals and other clerical supervisors of abusive priests who fail to take appropriate action against these priests can indeed be held accountable for their inaction.
Moreover, this verdict will now serve as a precedent for future cases involving senior Catholic Church officials who "look the other way" -- or simply transfer abusive priests to other communities -- when these priests abuse children.
As a result of his conviction, Monsignor Lynn, 61, could be sentenced to a prison term of three-and-a-half to seven years.
The Common Pleas Court judge revoked Monsignor Lynn's bail because of the guilty finding in his three-month-long trial. Monsignor Lynn is now being held in a jail cell, and is awaiting sentencing which is scheduled for August 13, 2012.
In addition to being extremely significant, this case conveys a critical lesson to Catholic priests and their supervisors; namely, that priests who sexually abuse children -- as well as supervisors of priests who fail to take appropriate action against these priests -- are now subject to criminal prosecution and jail sentences.