Senior US priest defends response to sex abuse complaint

By REUTERS
May 25, 2012 00:37

PHILADELPHIA - A senior church official on Thursday defended his response to a child abuse victim who was told that a predator priest could not be punished because he had sex with women too and therefore was "not a pure pedophile."

Under intense cross-examination by the prosecution, Monsignor William Lynn of the Philadelphia Archdiocese testified in his own defense for the second day at his trial on charges of child endangerment and conspiracy. He is accused of covering up child sex abuse allegations against priests, often by transferring them to unsuspecting parishes.

Lynn, 61, the former secretary of the clergy in the archdiocese, is the highest-ranking US clergyman to go to trial in the Roman Catholic church's pedophilia scandal. His job was to supervise 800 Philadelphia priests, including investigating sex abuse claims against them, from 1992 to 2004.

The pedophilia scandal has rocked the Philadelphia Archdiocese, with 1.5 million members the sixth largest in the country. Nationwide, more than 10,000 allegations of child sex abuse were brought against priests between 1950 and 2002, according to a report commissioned by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.


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