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….
Neighbor of Ariel Castro pleads guilty to murders, rapes, kidnappings; Priest Released, Monsignor William Lynn, Priest Formerly Convicted In Child Abuse Scandal, Released
January 4, 2014 Comments Off on Neighbor of Ariel Castro pleads guilty to murders, rapes, kidnappings; Priest Released, Monsignor William Lynn, Priest Formerly Convicted In Child Abuse Scandal, Released
Neighbor of Ariel Castro pleads guilty to murders, rapes, kidnappings
By Elisha Fieldstadt, NBC News 12/30/13
A man nabbed by Cleveland police because of the proximity of his house to the late serial rapist and kidnapper Ariel Castro pleaded guilty to murder and rape charges on Monday in connection with the killings of two women.
Elias Acevedo Sr. was sentenced to 445 years in prison without parole for the murders of the women and multiple counts rape that date back as far as two decades, according to NBC affiliate, WKYC….
Acevedo, who lived doors away from Castro, pleaded not guilty in October to 293 counts, including 173 counts of rape and 115 counts of kidnapping.
On Monday, in a plea deal, Acevedo pleaded guilty to strangling Pemberton in 1994 and killing a pregnant Adkins the following year. Adkins’ body was discovered in October….
Monsignor William Lynn, Priest Formerly Convicted In Child Abuse Scandal, Released
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A church official who recently won an appeal of his landmark conviction in the priest-abuse scandal was released from custody Friday, and the city’s Roman Catholic archbishop defended the decision to use church funds to help with bail.
Monsignor William Lynn was staying at an undisclosed location in Philadelphia after being processed at a city jail and being fitted with an electronic monitoring device Friday morning, defense attorney Thomas Bergstrom said. He was due in court Monday for a bail hearing.
Lynn, who left a state prison on Thursday after 18 months behind bars, is the first U.S. church official to have been charged for hiding complaints that priests were molesting children.
City prosecutors had charged him with felony child endangerment, but the state Superior Court ruled that the law that existed at the time did not cover people who did not directly supervise children.
December 29, 2013 Comments Off on Pa. court reverses conviction of Roman Catholic church official jailed in clergy abuse scandal
Pa. court reverses conviction of Roman Catholic church official jailed in clergy abuse scandal
December 26, 2013
PHILADELPHIA – A Pennsylvania appeals court has ruled that a Roman Catholic church official was wrongly convicted for his handling of priest sex-abuse complaints.
The unanimous decision released Thursday by the state Superior Court also dismisses the criminal case against Monsignor William Lynn.
Lynn has been serving three to six years in prison after his child-endangerment conviction last year. Prosecutors had argued that Lynn reassigned predators to new parishes in Philadelphia when he was secretary for clergy from 1992 to 2004….
But Lynn’s attorneys contended the state’s child-endangerment law at the time applied only to parents and caregivers, not supervisors like Lynn.
January 31, 2013 Comments Off on Priest, teacher convicted in Philadelphia sex abuse case
Priest, teacher convicted in Philadelphia sex abuse case
Associated Press January 30, 2013
PHILADELPHIA — A jury convicted a priest and teacher today in a pivotal church-abuse case that rocked the Philadelphia archdiocese and sent a church official to prison for child endangerment.
The verdict upholds the stunning account from a troubled 24-year-old policeman’s son that he was sexually abused as a boy by two priests and his sixth-grade teacher. One priest took a plea deal before trial, while the jury convicted the Rev. Charles Engelhardt and former teacher Bernard Shero of all but one count.
The 2009 complaint describing the abuse led to the landmark conviction last year of Monsignor William Lynn, the longtime secretary for clergy in Philadelphia. Lynn is serving three to six years in prison for his role transferring an admitted pedophile priest to the accuser’s northeast Philadelphia parish. A string of priest victims testified in Lynn’s case, but none said they had been passed around like the policeman’s son….
The jury convicted Shero, 49, of Levittown, of rape, indecent sexual assault and other charges. They convicted Engelhardt, 66, of Wyndmoor, of charges including indecent assault of a child under 13, corruption of a minor and conspiracy with Avery. The jury deadlocked on one count, an indecent sexual assault count against Engelhardt, after deliberating since late Friday.
Jury finds Jerry Sandusky guilty on dozens of child sex abuse charges, Philadelphia Priest Trial: Jury Reaches Split Verdict In Case Of Monsignor William Lynn
June 23, 2012 Comments Off on Jury finds Jerry Sandusky guilty on dozens of child sex abuse charges, Philadelphia Priest Trial: Jury Reaches Split Verdict In Case Of Monsignor William Lynn
Jury finds Jerry Sandusky guilty on dozens of child sex abuse charges
By the CNN Wire Staff June 22, 2012
Bellefonte, Pennsylvania (CNN) — Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was found guilty Friday on 45 of 48 counts related to sexual abuse of boys over a 15-year period.
Jurors delivered the verdict around 10 p.m. after deliberating for about 21 hours. There were convictions related to all 10 sexual abuse victims, with the three not-guilty verdicts applying to three different individuals….
During closing arguments, prosecutors described the ex-Nittany Lions defensive coordinator as a pedophile who preyed on victims using a charity he founded for troubled children, repeatedly abusing young boys in his care.
Sandusky, 68, had pleaded not guilty to the 48 charges of child sex abuse that spanned a 15-year period….
After a week of testimony, during which time witnesses graphically described sexual encounters with Sandusky that they said occurred durijng their boyhoods, jurors made their decision without ever having heard from Sandusky on the witness stand….
Eight young men testified, often in disturbingly graphic detail, of how Sandusky forced them to engage in sexual acts in various places, including showers in the Penn State coaches’ locker room, hotel rooms and the basement of his home.
One told jurors that Sandusky — whom he met, like many of the accusers, through The Second Mile foundation that the ex-coach founded — had threatened him if he told others about the abuse. Another said Sandusky warned him that he might send him home from a trip to Texas, where they’d gone to watch a Penn State bowl game.
The defense challenged the accusers’ timetable, questioned the various allegations and called multiple character witness to defend Sandusky’s stellar reputation in the community. http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/22/justice/pennsylvania-sandusky-trial/index.html
Philadelphia Priest Trial: Jury Reaches Split Verdict In Case Of Monsignor William Lynn
By MARYCLAIRE DALE 06/22/12
PHILADELPHIA — A Roman Catholic church official was convicted of child endangerment but acquitted of conspiracy Friday in a landmark clergy-abuse trial, making him the first U.S. church official branded a felon for covering up abuse claims.
Monsignor William Lynn helped the archdiocese keep predators in ministry, and the public in the dark, by telling parishes their priests were being removed for health reasons and then sending the men to unsuspecting churches, prosecutors said.
Lynn, 61, served as secretary for clergy from 1992 to 2004, mostly under Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua….
Lynn had faced about 10 to 20 years in prison if convicted of all three counts he faced – conspiracy and two counts of child endangerment. He was convicted of only a single endangerment count, which carries a possible 3 1/2- to seven-year prison term.
The jury could not reach a verdict for Lynn’s co-defendant, the Rev. James Brennan, who was accused of sexually abusing a 14-year-old boy in 1999.
Despite Lynn’s acquittal on the conspiracy charge, the trial exposed how deeply involved the late cardinal was in dealing with accused priests.
Bevilacqua had the final say on what to do with priests accused of abuse, transferred many of them to new parishes and dressed down anyone who complained, according to testimony. He also ordered the shredding of a 1994 list that Lynn prepared, warning that the archdiocese had three diagnosed pedophiles, a dozen confirmed predators and another 20 possible abusers in its midst.
Church lawyers turned over a surviving copy of the list days after Bevilacqua died….
With the verdict, after 13 days of deliberations, jurors concluded that prosecutors failed to show that Lynn was part of a conspiracy to move predator priests around.
The jury, however, did find that Lynn endangered the victim of defrocked priest Edward Avery, who pleaded guilty before trial to a 1999 sexual assault. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/22/philadelphia-priest-trial_n_1619355.html
Etan Patz Case – Pedro Hernandez Charged With Second Degree Murder, Philadelphia Priest Trial: Monsignor William Lynn Takes Stand In Own Defense
May 26, 2012 Comments Off on Etan Patz Case – Pedro Hernandez Charged With Second Degree Murder, Philadelphia Priest Trial: Monsignor William Lynn Takes Stand In Own Defense
Pedro Hernandez Charged With Second Degree Murder In Etan Patz Case
By COLLEEN LONG and LARRY NEUMEISTER 05/25/12 AP
NEW YORK — Thirty-three years to the day after 6-year-old Etan Patz vanished without a trace while walking to catch a school bus, a man accused of strangling him and dumping his body with the trash was arraigned on a murder charge on Friday in a locked hospital ward where he was being held as a suicide risk.
A lawyer for Pedro Hernandez, who was a teenage convenience store stock clerk at the time of the boy’s disappearance, told the judge that his client is mentally ill and has a history of hallucinations….
Hernandez, a churchgoing father now living in Maple Shade, N.J., was arrested Thursday after making a surprise confession in a case that has bedeviled investigators and inspired dread in generations of New York City parents for three decades.
Etan disappeared on May 25, 1979, on his two-block walk to his bus stop in Manhattan. It was the first time his parents had let him walk the route by himself.
Next to the bus stop was a convenience store, where Hernandez, then 18, worked as a clerk. When police, acting on a tip, interviewed him this week, he said he lured Etan into the basement with a promise of a soda, choked him to death, then stuffed his body in a bag and left it with trash on the street a block away, police said….
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Hernandez gave a detailed confession that led police to believe they had the right man. He also said Hernandez told a relative and others as far back as 1981 that he had “done something bad” and killed a child in New York.http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/25/pedro-hernandez-charged-etan-patz_n_1546858.html
Philadelphia Priest Trial: Monsignor William Lynn Takes Stand In Own Defense
By MARYCLAIRE DALE 05/24/12
PHILADELPHIA — A Roman Catholic church official testified Thursday that he typed a list of suspected pedophile priests on his computer, but couldn’t find it 10 years later to show a grand jury.
Monsignor William Lynn endured a second day of searing cross-examination as he fights charges he endangered children by protecting priests. He’s due back on the stand Tuesday.
Lynn denies locking the 1994 list in an archdiocese safe, where church employees say it was found in 2006 and then buried in a lawyer’s files until this year.
The list was turned over to city prosecutors in February, days after Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua died. They’ve made it something of a smoking gun since the trial started in March.
Prosecutors believe it shows the Philadelphia archdiocese knew it had diagnosed pedophiles and other predators on duty, but left them in jobs with access to children….
Lynn is charged with endangering two children by leaving the Rev. James Brennan, a co-defendant charged with attempted rape, and former priest Edward Avery, who pleaded guilty to sexual assault, in ministry despite earlier red flags….
On Bevilacqua’s orders, Molloy shredded Lynn’s list of predators in February 1994, an act witnessed by Cistone, according to the “shred memo,” which was shown in court….
the case of a priest accused of having sex with a 17-year-old girl in Venezuela years earlier. “The cardinal did not consider that pedophilia, because it was a different culture and a different atmosphere,” Lynn recalled. The priest remained in ministry until March, when he was removed from the South Philadelphia parish he led.http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/24/philadelphia-priest-trial-parishioners-told-accused-priests-had-health-problems-monsignor-william-lynn-testifies_n_1542218.html
May 18, 2012 Comments Off on Prosecution rests in Philadelphia Archdiocese child sex abuse trial
Prosecution rests in Philadelphia Archdiocese child sex abuse trial
Dave Warner Reuters May 17, 2012
PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – The prosecution rested its case on Thursday against Philadelphia Archdiocese Monsignor William Lynn, the most senior U.S. clergyman to go to trial in the Roman Catholic Church’s pedophilia scandal.
During nearly eight weeks of startling testimony about the lurid lives of predatory priests, Lynn, a former secretary of the clergy, has sat stoically in his clerical garb as the case unfolded in an often-packed courtroom.
Lynn, 61, is charged with child endangerment and conspiracy over accusations he covered up child sex abuse allegations against priests, many of whom were simply transferred to unsuspecting parishes.
He faces the possibility of 28 years in prison if convicted.
The trial that started on March 26 has drawn a spotlight on the Philadelphia Archdiocese, the nation’s sixth largest with 1.5 million members, in a case experts say is likely being watched by the Vatican.
Defense lawyers promised to begin their case on Tuesday to bolster Lynn’s argument that he acted responsibly, reporting allegations to higher officials, but was overruled.
Lynn served in essence as the personnel director of the archdiocese under the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, the long-time archbishop of Philadelphia….
A grand jury that indicted Lynn and four others said in its January 2011 report that “Over the past two decades, Msgr. Lynn has put literally thousands of children at risk of sexual abuse by placing them in the care of known child molesters.”