PA--Philly Catholic “enabler’ is freed

For immediate release: Tuesday, Aug. 2

Statement by Karen Polesir, Philadelphia area volunteer director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests ([email protected])

A Philadelphia church staffer who repeatedly refused to call 911 about child molesting clerics will soon be released from prison. We applaud prosecutor Seth Williams’ vow to retry him.   

For the morale of deeply suffering Philly area Catholics, victims, witnesses and whistleblowers, it's important to see the glass as “half full” - finally, a Catholic enabler - a church official who put kids in harms' way - has been punished. And he may be punished further. That should make many employers think again when they're tempted to hide known or suspected child sex crimes.

However, some who are hiding child sex crimes will be relieved or maybe even emboldened by this news. They’re both wrong and stupid. Increasingly, law enforcement officials are pursuing both those who commit and those who conceal sexual violence.

We hope Msgr. William Lynn is convicted again. That will be even more effective at deterring cover ups of child sex crimes.

Since Lynn will be re-tried, it’s critical that every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes and cover ups in Catholic churches or institutions to protect kids by calling police, get help by calling therapists, expose wrongdoers by calling law enforcement, get justice by calling attorneys, and be comforted by calling support groups like ours. No matter how small, old or seemingly insignificant your information or suspicions might be, you have a moral and civic duty to call the independent professionals in law enforcement now. Staying silent hurts kids, adults and the church itself.

This is how kids will be safer, adults will recover, criminals will be prosecuted, cover ups will be deterred and the truth will surface.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, [email protected])     

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