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The Penn State football dynasty and the Roman Catholic Church both for decades have put their own prestige and privilege ahead of the safety of children. The criminal convictions last night are a measure of justice for children whose words were not believed in the face of denials by the these powerful institutions. In both of these cases it was not only the evil of the child predators that was at issue but the abuse of power by the institutions that allowed child rapes to go on for years.

I hope that these cases are just the first step in protecting children and in holding those responsible for child abuse and the cover ups accountable. Monsignor William Lynn of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia was the first upper level official of the Catholic Church to be held accountable for protecting child rapists and endangering children. From the evidence in that case it is clear that Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua who was Monsignor Lynn's boss was probably even more culpable. Monsignor Lynn was the vicar for clergy under Cardinal Bevilacqua which means that he was authorized to act for and stand in the place of the Cardinal. Monsignor Lynn was the also the personnel manager of the Archdiocese.

The next significant criminal case pending is the child sex abuse cover up case against Bishop Robert Finn in Kansas City. This case against Bishop Finn is only the second criminal prosecution ever against a high level Catholic priest for covering up for another priest child sex abuser. In spite of this charge and the clear underlying evidence that Bishop Lynn failed or refused to follow Missouri law and report child abuse to law enforcement the Vatican still has not removed Bishop Finn.

Another significant move to protect children and provide justice to survivors of past abuse is the pending legislation in a number of states to extend the statute of limitations for civil lawsuits against child predators and the institutions that protect them. Hawaii recently enacted important legislation that provides a "window" of two years for those who were intimidated or who could not come forward to file their civil cases in past years. New York State has had very good legislation proposed in each of the last few years but it has been defeated primarily by lobbying from the Catholic Council of lobbyists that want to continue the cover up.

The criminal prosecutions and civil lawsuits bring some comfort to survivors of childhood sexual abuse and help protect children in the future. These survivors know that they are not alone and that juries in our court system will listen when the prosecutors and witnesses speak truth to the power of institutions that ask people to have blind faith in their authority.


  1. Gravatar for tess

    Thank you for your coverage. Please check paragraph #3. I think you mean Bishop Finn, not (Monsignor) Lynn.

  2. Gravatar for mike ference
    mike ference

    God is not done with PA, just yet.

    Some very interesting articles at this site.

    I would like to talk to any survivors from western PA who may have filed a report concerning clergy sex abuse to Douglas Nowicki when he was the head of catholic schools in the Pittsburgh Diocese.

    I can be reached at 412-233-5491 or email me at

    Mike Ference

  3. Gravatar for Susan Delphine Delaney MD, MS
    Susan Delphine Delaney MD, MS

    Two heroic juries stood up for innocent kids yesterday in Pennsylvania. Let us salute them for speaking truth to power, for cutting to the core of the issue: innocent childrean must be protected; those who endanger children or abuse them must be held accountable. Bravo!

    Susan Delphine Delaney MD, MS, author of "I Didn't Fall, I Was Pushed: Triumphant Recovery from Clergy Sex Abuse"

  4. Gravatar for JeannieGuzman

    Now, since the good people of Philly have exhibited an uncommon degree of common sense in convicting both Lynn and Sandusky, maybe they'll show a little more muscle by making sure that the Bills pass, which will extend the Statute of Limitations in cases of child-sexual abuse!

  5. Gravatar for divakar s natarajan
    divakar s natarajan

    As somebody who has single handedly said no to the pervasive corruption in India, I have to ask, "What took America so long ?"

    These horrific incidents are a wake up call to America. Conscientious citizens must view them not as 'closure' but as a challenge to probe deep within and clear out the accumulated rot of the years.

    My 22 yr continuing sathyagraha against corruption, for the rule of law in India @divakarssathya on twitter

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