A couple of years ago, The Stranger wrote about a pack of pedophile priests who were reassigned to remote Native Alaskan villages (no cops, no schools, almost no telephones) where they could hide from their crimes in the lower 48 and continue to abuse children without being caught. At the time, lawyers called the Church's arrangement "a pedophile's paradise"—get caught abusing, and you get rewarded with a license to abuse.

At the time, there was some suggestion that the scandal might go all the way up to Stephen Sundborg, who is the current president of Seattle University and was the head of the northwest Jesuits from 1990 through 1996. But that evidence, like much of the evidence pointing up the Catholic chain of command in this decade-long child abuse scandal, was slim, old, and insufficient.

Well it looks like the Philadelphia DA has been finding his way up the chain. Yesterday he announced some high-level indictments:

EIGHT YEARS after the American-clergy sex-abuse controversy erupted, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams yesterday lobbed a bombshell into the still-simmering scandal.

Williams announced the grand-jury indictment of one of former Archbishop Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua's top aides for allegedly endangering children by shielding pedophile priests from detection and shuffling them into unsuspecting parishes where they could continue the perversions of which they are accused.

It's believed to be the first time a high-ranking Catholic official has been accused of being criminally accountable for covering up priest abuse.

And a word straight from the office of DA Seth Williams, who is a Catholic, on how they've brought new charges against one Monsignor Lynn, who is accused of being instrumental in protecting abusive priests.

A word about Monsignor Lynn, the former Secretary of Clergy for the Archdiocese who was not himself an abuser but is being charged today for knowingly endangering the children he was supposed to defend. The previous grand jury concluded that prosecution of high-level Archdiocese officials would be inappropriate on the evidence then available. The primary problem was the statute of limitations. In addition, in the absence of evidence that the actions of these officials led to the abuse of any juveniles who could be identified at that time, it would be difficult to meet our statutory burden of proving that the officials had a supervisory role in relation to the victims.

This time, however, we have far more specific evidence, within the statute of limitations, directly linking Monsignor Lynn’s actions to the abuse of two new victims. He had all the information he needed to protect them. Instead, he lied to parishioners and went out of his way to put known abusers into contact with adolescents, resulting in assaults against at least two more young boys. Let this be a clarion call. This behavior will not be tolerated.

I love my church but I detest the criminal behavior of priests who abuse or allow the abuse of children. I know ultimately they will be judged by higher authority. For now, it is my responsibility as the elected District Attorney, of all the citizens of Philadelphia, to hold them accountable.