By Tony Hanson and Walt Hunter

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) —  The Philadelphia priest at the center of the sexual abuse coverup case has been handed a long sentence by the judge overseeing the case.

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Monsignor William Lynn, 61, was sentenced this morning to 3-6 years in prison, just shy of the maximum 3½-7 years requested by Philadelphia prosecutors.

In a harshly worded statement before handing down her sentence, Judge Teresa Sarmina said that Msgr. Lynn, the former secretary for clergy in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, had supported “monsters in clerical garb.”

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One priest, Edward Avery, admitted assaulting a teenage boy even after Lynn was aware that Avery had behaved inappropriately with other children.  Lynn was convicted of failing to reassign Avery so that he would not have further access to children.

“I apologize, I have apologized before, I apologize again, and I hope some day you will be able to accept that apology,” said Lynn while turned toward the family of one of the victims.

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Lynn remains in custody. The defense has made a motion that he be allowed to remain free pending his appeal; the judge will have a hearing on that next month.