State high court asked to reject appeal in priest abuse case
March 22, 2016
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Attorneys for a Roman Catholic church official are asking the state Supreme Court to reject prosecutors’ appeal of a decision granting him a new trial.
Monsignor William Lynn’s attorneys on Tuesday called the request “breathtakingly dishonest,” saying there were no grounds for an appeal under state rules, The Philadelphia Inquirer (http://bit.ly/1pHmvLC) reported.
Lynn was the first U.S. church official charged for keeping accused priests on the job. A Philadelphia jury found in 2012 that he endangered an altar boy by sending a known pedophile priest to the boy’s parish in the late 1990s. The priest was at the top of a list of known or suspected predators that Lynn prepared while he was secretary for clergy at the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, a post he held from 1992 to 2004.
The Superior Court has twice thrown out the conviction after finding that Lynn, 65, was wrongly charged or did not get a fair trial.
The Philadelphia district attorney’s office argued in its appeal to the state’s highest court that jurors needed to hear historical evidence of child abuse in the archdiocese. But defense attorney Thomas Bergstrom accused prosecutors of using emotions and the case’s high profile to persuade the court to hear a “passion-based” appeal.
The defense petition also contends that the appeal includes “inaccurate, uncharged, and unproven allegations” about the priest Lynn supervised.
Lynn, who is in prison, has served more than two years of a three- to six-year sentence and another 16 months of house arrest at a city rectory.