New trial ordered for Msgr. Lynn, chief defendant in Phila. clergy abuse case

December 29, 2015 Comments Off on New trial ordered for Msgr. Lynn, chief defendant in Phila. clergy abuse case

New trial ordered for Msgr. Lynn, chief defendant in Phila. clergy abuse case
Jeremy Roebuck, Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 23, 2015

A Pennsylvania appellate court on Tuesday ordered a new trial for Msgr. William J. Lynn, overturning for a second time a landmark verdict that was the first conviction nationwide of a Catholic Church official for covering up child sex abuse by priests.

A three-judge Superior Court panel found that Lynn’s 2012 conviction had been tainted by prosecutors’ presentation of nearly two dozen examples of the Philadelphia Archdiocese’s failure to handle pedophilia within its ranks. Lynn, however, was only charged in connection with his supervision of two priests.

Such evidence, said Judge Emeritus John T. Bender, writing for the majority, was “unfairly prejudicial” and effectively turned Lynn into a scapegoat for the wider sins of the church. Some of those crimes predated by decades Lynn’s tenure as the archdiocesan official in charge of handling sex-abuse complaints.

The court’s decision again threw into doubt what District Attorney Seth Williams has touted as a historic prosecution, and raised questions about the 64-year-old cleric’s future, two years into his three- to six-year sentence on child endangerment charges.

His lawyer, Thomas A. Bergstrom, said he intends once again to seek Lynn’s release from prison….

Lynn was convicted after a 13-week trial and 12 days of deliberations of allowing the Rev. Edward V. Avery, who had a history of sexually abusing children, to live in a rectory of St. Jerome Catholic Church in Northeast Philadelphia, where he later assaulted a 10-year-old altar boy. Avery pleaded guilty in the 1999 attack and was sentenced to five years in prison. He is currently at the state prison in Laurel Highlands, Somerset County….

Philadelphia prosecutors seek rehearing in Catholic church official’s clergy abuse case
Published December 28, 2015 Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA –  Philadelphia’s district attorney wants an appeals court to take another look at the case of a Roman Catholic church official whose conviction over his handling of sex-abuse cases was overturned last week.

Monsignor William Lynn has been imprisoned intermittently since his 2012 trial.

District Attorney Seth Williams says in a statement he has filed an application for a re-argument of Lynn’s case before the full state Superior Court. He says the filing is in response to a decision by a three-judge panel on Tuesday to award a new trial to Lynn….

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