We are grateful that Msgr. Lynn was not able to escape with the minimum sentence for his years of concealing heinous crimes against children. But cover ups would be better deterred had he gotten the maximum penalty, and justice would have been better served.
Considering all the kids whose innocence was shattered (or, in some whose lives were lost to suicide), we believe that Msgr. Lynn deserved the harshest punishment.
Still, this sentence sends a powerful message: cover-up child sex crimes and you’ll go to jail. Not house arrest. Not community service. Not a fine. You’ll be locked up.
It says, loud and clear, that child sex crimes are taken extremely seriously, and will be punished as such.
We are grateful to everyone from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office for fighting for the victims from day one and for treating Msgr. Lynn like any other defendant, and not giving him special treatment because of his priestly status or powerful connections. Prosecutors deserve recognition and appreciation from victims, parents and parishioners. We are grateful to them, and the judge, for recognizing that Msgr. Lynn remains a danger to children and for holding him fully accountable for his crimes.
No one, especially victims, witnesses, and whistleblowers, should get complacent now. We suspect that many predators, enablers and crimes in the Philly archdiocese remain concealed. We’re convinced that children there remain at risk. While justice has been served in this case, many other still-suffering victims remain suffering in silence and afraid to come forward.
We hope that those who see, suspect or suffer child sex crimes in any institutional setting will find the strength to come forward and make a report to police, especially now, since the Lynn case shows that sometimes, justice, prevention and healing are possible.