Pa. Court Overturns Catholic Official’s Conviction

A Superior Court ordered Monsignor William Lynn's release

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A Pennsylvania court ordered the release of a jailed church official Thursday, after reversing his conviction for allegedly mishandling a clergy sex-abuse scandal.

Monsignor William Lynn, 62, was the first U.S. Catholic official to face legal action in the cases of Catholic priests accused of sexual abuse and is serving a three to six-year sentence. A Superior Court panel of three judges unanimously struck down prosecutors’ contention that Lynn was guilty of child endangerment, the Associated Press reports.

Prosecutors accused Lynn of concealing abuse by reassigning priests to new parishes while he served as the archdiocese’s secretary for clergy from 1992 to 2004. The jailed church official’s conviction centers on the case of Edward Avery, a priest accused of abusing a child in 1998 after Lynn had relocated him. Lynn’s lawyers argued that the state law at the time was applicable only to parents and caregivers. Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said he would likely appeal the ruling, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Lynn has served 18 months of his sentence and his attorneys will push for his release from state prison as early as Thursday.

[AP]

7 comments
CarolineRedbrook
CarolineRedbrook

This decision is a travesty of justice.  Crimes against children are so heinous that accused pedophiles like Sylvain Kustyan, Jerry Sandusky, etc. and their ENABLERS must be apprehended before they have years to continue to destroy young lives. Sandusky, is now safely behind bars. But unfortunately, Kustyan, who has been formally charged with two counts each of 1st Degree Sodomy and Sexual Abuse of a ten-year-old little boy, fled to avoid imminent arrest. Kustyan, formerly of Tuscaloosa, Alabama and Hermin/ Mazingarbe, France,as an English teacher, has led numerous groups of schoolchildren on trips to the US, the UK and Ireland. Pedophiles condemn their victims to a lifetime of emotional and psychological trauma and often permanent physical ailments as well. Since the average pedophile has 300 different victims in their lifetime and since tvism rate among pedophiles is virtually 100% and since there is no effective treatment and no known cure they must be stopped ASAP!


prieten
prieten

This is another example of the rich or rich institutions getting cushy treatment from our judicial system. The Catholic church hierarchy knows there is no God, so all of their actions go toward preserving their power, wealth and influence in the secular world. They control billions of dollars in real estate, dictate permissible medical procedures in their hospitals, rob the elderly of their life savings for sub-par nursing homes and meddle politically where they can. The church is a playground for pedophiles and sex offenders who get the revolving door treatment. How much longer can Catholics tolerate this behavior? In Europe, Catholic members are leaving in droves. In America, Catholics already don't pay attention to Catholic dogma. When will they completely cut their dependency on the smells and bells of this institutional anachronism? 

luvieski
luvieski

Accountable???............That's what our Church leadership pays their attorneys for......to ensure accountabilty............not THEIRS of course..


But wait, do you actually think that the God and Jesus we all learned about, believe in and have our faith in over these many, many years of Catholic education and instruction actually uses MAN'S LAWS as the ruler by which to judge our behavior, conduct and decision-making?


Michael Skiendzielewski

Captain      (Retired)

Philadelphia Police Dept.

RosemaryMcHugh
RosemaryMcHugh

As a Catholic and as a physician who has met many who have been sexually abused by priests, it saddens me that my church is not interested in protecting the innocence of children, especially from priests who are sexual predators. Their words of caring do not compare with their actions of not caring and of spending large amounts of money to lawyers to protect and defend the predator priests and those who have been complicit in clergy sexual abuse. 


Who are in the Pa court? Who were involved in making the decision to overturn such an important decision? Are the members of the court Catholic? How much pressure was put on the court by the Catholic Church because of the church's abuse of power, in my view? 


Eventhough Pope Francis has called for a commission to investigate the worldwide clergy sexual abuse of innocent children, several of the hierarchy helping him, and the Pope himself when known as Cardinal Bergoglio, have been complicit in protecting sexual predator priests.


Pope Francis wants the right to continue to investigate the church's crimes and the church's criminals. How wrong-headed is that? What is wrong with civil law that lets clergy predators and those complicit in protecting them get away with their crimes.


Where is the outrage of fellow Catholics and the public at large, when they see that the civil law is not protecting innocent children from sexual abuse by clergy?


Sincerely,   Dr Rosemary Eileen McHugh, Chicago, Illinois

MaureenPaulTurlish
MaureenPaulTurlish

What a disgrace!  


Lynn DID conceal abuse  by knowingly "reassigning priests to new parishes while he served as the archdiocese’s secretary for clergy from 1992 to 2004."  There is NO DOUBT ABOUT IT.  Documents and records offered into the record at his trial made that abundantly clear.  I attended Lynn's trial.  It is appalling that the laws in the state of Pennsylvania have been so ineffective that none of these enablers, facilitators and cover-up-ers have gone to jail.  Read the 2005 and 2011 Grand Jury Reports on the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.


I certainly hope and pray that District Attorney Seth Williams WILL APPEAL THIS DECISION.  There should be no "likely" about it.


PENNSYLVANIANS, WAKE UP!  REMOVE ALL STATUTES OF LIMITATION CRIMINALLY AND CIVILLY ON THE SEXUAL ABUSE OF CHILDREN BY ANYONE AND INCLUDE A TWO YEAR CIVIL WINDOW FOR PREVIOUSLY TIME BARRED CASES OF CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE - BY ANYONE - FOR TWO YEARS AS WE ACCOMPLISHED IN THE STATE OF DELAWARE!!!!!!!!!!!!


Shame on the People of Pennsylvania.  What is the point of updating the MANDATED REPORTERS STATUTES if the underlying laws are so poor.?


Sister Maureen Paul Turlish

Advocate for Victim Survivors & Legislative Reform

New Castle, Delaware

maturlishmdsnd@yahoo.com

JudyBlock-Jones
JudyBlock-Jones

This is a very sad day for victims of clergy sex abuse, plus this decision now says to those who enable and empower child predators to sexually abuse more kids, "Hey, you can keep doing it and get away with it"..
How on earth are children to be protected if our own laws don't help to protect them?

Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, 636-433-2511, snapjudy@gmail.com
SNAP "Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests"

DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff

@MaureenPaulTurlish What he did and whether he can be punished for it are two different things based on what the article says.  What he did was immoral and unethical and should have had him defrocked (he wasn't) and excommunicated (again, he wasn't).

But state law at the time apparently didn't mandate that he report the abuse and concealing the crime by reassignment wasn't necessarily abetting it, and that's why he was convicted.

But remember, Catholics - and Christianity - is all about action without responsibility or accountability, since all "sins" can be forgiven.  It's the fundamental flaw in the myth that allows such reprehensible and unforgivable things to happen.