A former high-ranking official from the Philadelphia Archdiocese took the stand for a second day today. Monsignor William Lynn defended his work as Secretary for Clergy. He’s accused of endangering children by shuffling around priests accused of sexual abuse.
The prosecution’s strategy so far could be summed up with the motto: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Monsignor William Lynn again faced questions from the prosecution — questions he’s heard over and over — about why he didn’t do more to investigate abuse allegations and to protect children.
Lynn disputed the prosecution’s claim that he should have done more to protect children from priests who were accused of abuse. Lynn is accused of endangering children by helping transfer priests accused of sexual abuse to unsuspecting parishes. He served as secretary for clergy under the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua. That office administers priest assignments.
Lynn again defended his actions by explaining that the Cardinal held the ultimate power. Lynn again disputed the prosecution’s claim that his motive for keeping abuse allegations out of the public eye, was to protect priests and avoid scandal.
Lynn said he worked as hard as he could to investigate the allegations, but the prosecution questioned his determination to follow up on accusations and complaints, including the possibility of other victims.
In his role investigating the allegations, prosecutors have argued that Lynn was a piece of a larger conspiracy within the church hierarchy.
Lynn is the first U.S. church official to be charged in a child sex abuse case for his administrative actions.
The trial is scheduled to resume next week.