By Phyllis Dolinsky
After thirteen days of deliberation, a jury in Philadelphia reached a split verdict in the case of Monsignor William Lynn. The monsignor. It is the first time a church official was convicted of a sex crime. It is significant that it is a Monsignor and not a Bishop charged and finally offers hope to the countless victims.
The jury reached a split verdict for Lynn (1992-2004). Lynn was convicted of one count of child endangerment but acquitted of conspiracy in the clergy abuse trial. This made him the first United States Church Official convicted of a sex crime. For the crime of mishandling abuse claims, he helped to keep predators in the church. Lynn did this by saying the priests were being removed for health reasons, and they were sent to churches with no knowledge of the situation.
If Lynn, 61, was convicted of all three counts of conspiracy and two counts of child endangerment, he could have faced 10 to 20 years in prison. Since he was found guilty of only one count, he faces 31/2 to seven years in prison.
Monsignor Lynn’s co-defendant, Rev. James Brennan was accused of sexually molesting a 14-year-old boy. The jury could not agree on a verdict, and the judge declared a mistrial on the attempted rape and child endangerment charges.
Lynn has been on leave since being arrested last year. He served mostly under Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua. Bevilacqua, who had the final say on accused priests, transferred or dressed down anyone who complained. The 1996 list that named pedophiles and child predators and abusers was shredded under his orders.
Lynn’s bail was revoked and he was taken to jail. There is a chance he will be given house arrest.
His defense attorney said Lynn tried to document complaints and get priests into treatment and alert the Cardinal of the ongoing problem.
Philadelphia prosecutors have been investigatiing the archdiocese for ten years. 63 child molestors were looked into, but no one was charged because of the legal time limits.
There will likely be an appeal based on the inclusion of evidence.