Friday, July 6, 2012

Philadelphia Paedophile Priests:Defrock Lynn Sex Abuse Victims Urge Archbishop Chaput To Laicze Convicted Priest.

(RNS) The leading advocacy group for victims of sexual abuse by clergy is urging Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput to defrock the priest convicted last week of shielding other clerics who preyed on children. But laicizing Monsignor William Lynn is not as simple as it sounds.
Lynn oversaw clergy assignments in the Philadelphia archdiocese for a decade and is the first high-ranking church official ever found guilty of covering up for abuse, not committing it.
Lynn, 61, was convicted on one charge of child endangerment and was acquitted of conspiracy and a second endangerment charge after a closely watched three-month trial. He is in custody and could face up to seven years behind bars when he is sentenced on Aug. 13.
The request by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, came in a letter sent Wednesday (June 27) to Chaput. It highlights the unusual challenge of what punishment the church should levy on Lynn, if any.
"This is not about being vindictive. It's about being prudent," SNAP leaders David Clohessy and Barbara Dorris write in their letter. "It's about sending the most clear and severe message possible to current and future church employees who ignore, conceal and enable heinous crimes against kids."
"That message should be a 'no brainer' -- if you protect predators and hurt kids by hiding known and suspected crimes, you will be out of a job."
The first difficulty in trying to laicize Lynn, though, is that his case is unique. There appear to be few provisions in canon law or in the policies adopted by the American bishops a decade ago for defrocking a priest who is not guilty of the actual abuse.