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PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- The first U.S. church official convicted of covering up sex-abuse claims against Roman Catholic priests has been sentenced to three to six years in prison by a Pennsylvania judge.
Monsignor William Lynn is the former secretary for clergy at the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Judge Teresa Sarmina said Lynn "enabled monsters in clerical garb ... to destroy the souls of children."
Lynn, who handled priest assignments and child sexual assault complaints from 1992 to 2004, was convicted last month of felony child endangerment for his oversight of now-defrocked priest Edward Avery. Avery is serving a 2 1/2- to five-year sentence for sexually assaulting an altar boy in church in 1999.
Lynn's lawyers had sought probation. They argued that few Pennsylvanians serve long prison terms for child endangerment and that their client shouldn't serve more time than abusers like Avery. They plan to appeal the landmark conviction and seek bail while the lengthy appeals process unfolds.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)