U.S. court overturns senior Catholic priest’s conviction in sex cover-up
A Pennsylvania court overturned the conviction of the first senior U.S. Roman Catholic Church official to be found guilty of covering up child sex abuse by a priest and ordered he be freed on Thursday.
Monsignor William Lynn was convicted in June 2012 of endangering the welfare of a child by reassigning a priest with a history of sexual abuse to a Philadelphia parish that was unaware of his past.
That priest, Edward Avery, later pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 10-year-old altar boy in the Philadelphia parish. Lynn, who was not accused of personally molesting children, was sentenced to a three-to-six-year prison term.
On Thursday, a unanimous Superior Court of Pennsylvania appeals panel reversed Lynn’s conviction and ordered him discharged from prison, saying the case was “not supported by sufficient evidence.”
Lynn’s attorney, Thomas Bergstrom, said the ruling demonstrated Lynn should never have been prosecuted, and added he expects Lynn to be released within days.
Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said in a statement he would most likely appeal.