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Lynn had deemed Avery “guilty” of an earlier complaint on the 1994 list, and helped steer him into an inpatient treatment program run by the archdiocese. But Lynn knew that Avery later was sent to live in a northeast Philadelphia parish, where the altar boy was assaulted.

The victim alleges that he was also assaulted by another priest and his Catholic school teacher. They are expected to be tried later this year.

After the verdict, the archdiocese apologized to clergy-abuse victims and said the church was on a “journey of reform and renewal that requires honesty and hope.”

“We are committed to providing support and assistance to parishioners as they and the church seek to more deeply understand sexual violence, and to create an environment that is safe and welcoming to all, including past victims,” read the church’s statement, which did not reference Lynn directly.

Terence McKiernan, president of BishopAccountability.org, called the verdict “a watershed moment” in the priest sex-abuse crisis.

Lynn was a smart, able manager who at any time could have called the police, warned parishes, or threatened to blow the whistle,” McKiernan said. “He was not a helpless good guy. The only helpless people in this ongoing catastrophe were the children, the many hundreds of boys and girls who were sodomized and terrorized by the men Lynn managed.”

More than 500 Roman Catholic priests have been convicted of abuse charges across the U.S., according to his group’s count. Lynn is the first church official to be convicted for his administrative actions.

Defense lawyers say Lynn alone tried to document the complaints, get priests into treatment and alert the cardinal to the growing crisis. Church documents show therapists had called one accused priest a ticking “time bomb” and “powder keg.”

During the 10-week trial, more than a dozen adults testified about wrenching abuse they said they suffered at the hands of revered priests.

A former seminarian said he was raped by a priest throughout high school at the priest’s mountain house.

A nun testified that she and two female relatives were sexually abused by a priest described by a church official as “one of the sickest people I ever knew.”

A troubled young man described being sexually assaulted in the church sacristy in 1999 by Avery after the 10-year-old altar boy served Mass. Avery is serving a 2½- to five-year prison term.

“I can’t explain the pain, because I’m still trying to figure it out today, but I have an emptiness where my soul should be,” another accuser testified.

Seven men and five women sat on the jury, along with eight alternates. Many have ties to Catholic schools or parishes, but said they could judge the case fairly. There are about 1.5 million Catholics in the five-county archdiocese.

Defense lawyers argued that Lynn was merely a middle manager, and perhaps a fall guy for the archdiocese. Lynn himself, during three grueling days on the stand, mused about a question he was asked: “You want me to answer for the whole church?”

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