Pa. Court Reverses Conviction Of Church Official

A Roman Catholic church official was released this Thursday after spending more than a year in jail for his handling of complaints related priest sex abuse. The unanimous decision of the three judges part of the Superior Court panel rejected all arguments that Monsignor William Lynn, 62, supervised the welfare of any particular child.

Monsignor William Lynn was the first U.S. church official who was convicted or ever charged with the handling of clergy abuse complaints. ‘He’s been in prison 18 months for a crime he didn’t commit and couldn’t commit under the law,’ said Thomas Bergstrom, Lynn’s attorney. ‘It’s incredible what happened to this man.’ Lynn is currently serving a three to six year sentence after his child endangerment conviction made last year. His lawyers are bent upon getting Lynn released as early as Thursday  from Waymart’s state prison.

Prosecutors blamed Lynn for using his position as the archdiocese’s secretary for clergy from 1992 till 2004. They argued that Lynn reassigned predators in Philadelphia to new parishes. Lynn’s conviction branches out from the Avery case. Edward Avery was a priest who after his transfer was found to have abused a child in 1998. Common Pleas Judge, M. Teresa Sarmina, had overruled the argument presented by Lynn’s attorneys that the state’s child endangerment law at the time was only applicable to parents and caretakers. The Superior Court panel reversed the decision by Sarmina and agreed that child endangerment at the time was not applicable to supervisors like Lynn.

 

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