DA office to file Supreme Court brief in Lynn case

The Dis­trict At­tor­ney’s of­fice will be fil­ing its state Su­preme Court brief in the case of Monsignor Wil­li­am Lynn, the most high-rank­ing U.S. Cath­ol­ic cler­gy­man con­victed in a sex ab­use case, by Ju­ly 14. The cler­ic’s law­yers must file their brief 30 days later, Lynn’s at­tor­ney, Thomas Bergstrom, said.

The monsignor, nev­er ac­cused of even touch­ing a child, re­mains free on bail while the DA tries to get the re­versal of his his­tor­ic 2012 child en­dan­ger­ment con­vic­tion it­self re­versed. 

Lynn was ar­res­ted in early 2011 along with four oth­er de­fend­ants after a Phil­adelphia grand jury is­sued its find­ings in the city’s second probe of al­leg­a­tions of sexu­al ab­use of minors by Cath­ol­ic clergy. Three priests and a Cath­ol­ic lay teach­er were charged with mo­lest­ing chil­dren in the late 1990s. The teach­er and two of those priests were ac­cused of com­mit­ting those acts in the North­east’s St. Jerome par­ish.

The monsignor, who had served as the sec­ret­ary for clergy for Car­din­al An­thony Bevilac­qua from 1992 to 2004, was charged with con­spir­acy and en­dan­ger­ing the wel­fare of chil­dren. It was part of his job to in­vest­ig­ate al­leg­a­tions against priests, and to re­com­mend treat­ment, con­tin­ued ther­apy and as­sign­ments

The gist of the pro­sec­u­tion’s case against Lynn was that he had in­vest­ig­ated and knew the three priests were pe­do­philes but had kept them in min­is­tries in which they had ac­cess to chil­dren. 

Lynn’s law­yers ar­gued be­fore and dur­ing his three-month tri­al in 2012 that the state’s en­dan­ger­ment stat­ute didn’t ap­ply to the monsignor be­cause he did not dir­ectly su­per­vise any chil­dren. The cler­ic’s at­tor­neys also stated that Lynn could re­com­mend priests’ as­sign­ments, but that it was his boss, Bevilac­qua, who put those priests near chil­dren. ••

You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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