Date set for appeal of convicted priest's conviction

Posted: August 11, 2013

Pennsylvania's Superior Court has set Sept. 17 for oral arguments on the appeal by Msgr. William J. Lynn, convicted last year of child endangerment for his role supervising Catholic priests accused of sexually abusing children.

A letter setting the date was filed Monday by the intermediate court for criminal and civil appeals. The hearing will be in Philadelphia before a three-judge panel.

Lynn's conviction was a landmark: He became the first church official criminally charged for his role supervising Catholic priests accused of child sexual abuse.

On July 24, 2012, Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina sentenced Lynn to three to six years in prison.

Lynn, 62, was not accused of personally molesting children. His job as secretary for clergy in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia required him to investigate allegations against priests and recommend action to the archbishop.

The 11-week trial was hotly contested by lawyers for Lynn, hired by the archdiocese. They argued that the state child-endangerment statute in effect when he was secretary for clergy required direct supervision of a child.

In her April 12 opinion affirming Lynn's conviction and sentence, Sarmina wrote that even before it was amended in 2007, the child-endangerment law was not meant to be limited to personal supervision of a child.

Sarmina wrote that the statute could also be read to include a person who "oversaw, managed, or had authority over the well-being of children."


Contact Joseph A. Slobodzian at 215-854-2985, jslobodzian@phillynews.com, or @joeslobo on Twitter.

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