cover image A Priest on Trial

A Priest on Trial

Bernard Lynch. Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, $29.95 (198pp) ISBN 978-0-7475-1036-9

At a time when allegations of sexual abuse of minors by priests fill the media, it is important to look at the saga of the author, who was unjustly accused of such a crime. A native of Ireland, the teenaged Lynch entered the seminary, where he had his first homosexual experience. Ordained, he was stationed as a missionary in Zambia, but became disenchanted. Eventually reassigned to New York City, he became aware of his own sexual orientation and became politicized as he joined Dignity, a Catholic support group, and founded the organization's AIDS ministry. After several run-ins with the archdiocese, he was forced to resign his position at Mount St. Michael's Academy. Three years later, as he continued his AIDS ministry, he was indicted on first degree sexual abuse charges brought by a former student. Lynch chose a non-jury trial argued before Burton Roberts, a judge known for his bluntness and impartiality. What unfolds in the court transcripts, which take nearly half of the book, is the riveting testimony, which branded Lynch's accuser a pathological liar. Vindicated, Lynch clearly believes that right-wing Catholic groups and John Cardinal O'Connor were behind his indictment. Lynch, who now lives in London, has written a disturbing book about the justice system, and about an uncharitable church which is obsessed with sex. Photos. (Nov.)