Attorneys Will Try to Have Church Official Quickly Freed 12/26/13
PHILADELPHIA - Lawyers for a Roman Catholic church official are going to try to get him released as early as this week from a state prison in Pennsylvania -- now that an appeals court has reversed his conviction for child endangerment.
The appeals panel is ordering the release of Monsignor William Lynn. But prosecutors are planning to fight the ruling, and resist any move to release him.
Lynn is serving a three-to-six-year prison sentence. He was charged over his handling of priest sex-abuse complaints. He was the first U.S. church official ever charged or convicted for the handling of those complaints.
But the appeals panel is rejecting the argument from prosecutors that Lynn was legally responsible for the welfare of an abused child. Prosecutors said he had re-assigned known predators to new parishes in Philadelphia. His conviction stemmed from the case of one priest who was found to have abused a child after one of those transfers.
Lynn's attorneys have argued that the state's child-endangerment law applied only to parents and to caregivers, and not to supervisors like Lynn.