chapter  14
14 Pages

Bishops in the Dock

Child Abuse and the Irish Law of Complicity
ByJohn Stannard

Monsignor William Lynn, an official in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, was responsible for dealing with complaints of child abuse, and the essence of the case was that he had allowed priests known to be guilty of such conduct to continue in post or had transferred them elsewhere rather than reporting them to the civil authorities. There are four ways in which an individual person in authority might be liable for crimes of this nature, these being: as an accomplice to the main crime; for assisting an offender; for concealment; and other possible heads of liability. In cases of the sort the chapter deals with, the conduct of the church authorities will at least have facilitated the commission of the crime, or even actually caused it, in the sense that it would not have taken place had the perpetrator not been put in that position.