Matt Rourke, File, Associated Press
FILE - In this June 22, 2012 file photo, Monsignor William Lynn walks to the Criminal Justice Center before a scheduled verdict reading, in Philadelphia. Lynn, who became the first U.S. church official branded a felon for covering up sex abuse claims against priests was sentenced Tuesday, July 24, 2012 to three to six years in prison.

PHILADELPHIA — A Philadelphia judge says a Roman Catholic church official should have stood up to his bishop rather than let children suffer at the hands of pedophile priests.

Monsignor William Lynn is the first U.S. church official convicted in the church sex-abuse scandal.

The 61-year-old Lynn has been given a three- to six-year prison term for felony child endangerment.

Common Pleas Judge Teresa Sarmina says Lynn "enabled monsters in clerical garb ... to destroy the souls of children."

Defense lawyers want Lynn released on bail while they appeal the conviction. A hearing is set for Aug. 6.

Victim advocates, including Terry McKiernan of, call the sentence a wake-up call for church leaders "to do the right thing."