By Tony Hanson
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The historic clergy abuse case in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia resulted in a guilty plea this year by one priest (see news story), and a church official was convicted of endangering children by protecting the predator priest (see news story).
The trial evidence — a lot of it from the church’s own secret files — exposed sins committed over a period of decades by supposed men of God.
The prosecution presented evidence of a pattern of conduct: predator priests routinely moved from parish to parish, left to attack again, with an endless supply of unwary victims.
“Obviously this has devastated their lives,” says Philadelphia prosecutor Evangelia Manos. “And it really amounts to destruction of a child.”
Monsignor William Lynn is now serving a 3-6 year sentence.
Numerous church officials were implicated in the cover-up over many decades, including the late cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua.
Still, Philadelphia DA Seth Williams hoped the case would send a message, “that they have to take these allegations — accusations — seriously, have to change their behavior and not just sweep them under the rug or try to protect the institution.”
Several other priests and a lay teacher charged with sexual abuse are scheduled for trial in 2013.