By Maryclaire Dale
A Roman Catholic church official was sent back to prison Thursday after the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court reinstated his 2012 child endangerment conviction over his handling of priest sexual abuse complaints.
Monsignor William Lynn, the longtime secretary for clergy at the Philadelphia archdiocese, is the first U.S. church official ever prosecuted or convicted in the clergy abuse scandal.
A judge on Thursday agreed that Lynn’s case presented a “novel” issue that she could have gotten wrong when she sent the case to trial: the question of whether Lynn actually “supervised” children under the law in 1998, when the boy at issue in Lynn’s case was molested by a parish priest. But in a case full of twists and turns, the state Supreme Court this week said he did and called his conviction legal.
So after 18 months in prison and 16 months on house arrest at a city rectory, the 64-year-old Lynn — wearing jeans and a gray sweatshirt instead of his usual black shirt and collar — found himself back before Common Pleas Judge M. Teresa Sarmina.
The issues raised in Lynn’s case have entangled prosecutors, defense lawyers and at least 10 Pennsylvania judges since 2005, when the city’s top prosecutor blasted the archdiocese after a grand jury investigation into 63 accused priests but concluded the law applied only to parents and caregivers.
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