By Tony Hanson
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Monsignor William Lynn, charged with endangered children by allowing dangerous priests to remain in ministry in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, today told the jury he is sorry for the abuse suffered by one boy during Lynn’s watch as secretary for clergy.
Lynn has conceded there were a number of priests who remained in ministry, working as pastors and assistant pastors — some who had been diagnosed as pedophiles and others whom he had determined were guilty of sexual abuse of minors — including one who has since admitted he sexually assaulted another teen.
That defrocked priest, Edward Avery, pleaded guilty before the start of this trial and is serving a sentence of up to five years (see related story).
Lynn has told the jury he is sorry for the abuse suffered by the teen at the hands of Avery, but he accepted no blame.
Lynn maintains he was powerless to change the church’s practices for dealing with predator priests. As he put it at one point, he was “not the cardinal archbishop of Philadelphia.”
The prosecutor, Patrick Blessington, scoffed repeatedly, “So, again, just following orders?”
But Lynn has also said repeatedly, as an apparent point of pride, that he did much more as Secretary for Clergy than had ever been done before — for example, ordering therapy and aftercare for accused pedophile priests, rather than just transferring them to a different parish.