An allegation of abuse of a minor brought against Father John J. Lynch has been found “credible and substantiated” by the archdiocese’s independent Lay Review Board, said Cardinal Dolan in a letter to parishioners of Immaculate Conception parish in Woodbourne.
Father Lynch had served as administrator of Immaculate Conception since 1996 until the allegation, which dates back more than 30 years to the 1980s, was made several months ago.
The letter from Cardinal Dolan last month said the review board’s finding “means that it will not be possible for Father Lynch to return to ministry, either at Immaculate Conception or anywhere else.”
“While I regret having to be the one to relate this disappointing development, I know that you would rather hear such news directly from us,” Cardinal Dolan wrote.
“If there are additional developments, I will keep you updated,” the cardinal told parishioners. “Please know that the Immaculate Conception community will have a special remembrance in my prayers. Might I ask your prayers for all those who have been harmed by the sin and crime of sexual abuse, and for Father Lynch as well? These are somber days for all of us. Thank God the Church has the assurance of Jesus that He would be with us all days.”
Father Lynch, who denied the allegation, was placed on administrative leave. The archdiocese first contacted the Orange County district attorney, who was unable to pursue the allegation because the statute of limitations had expired.