Although Msgr. William Lynn is free from prison after posting $250,000 bail on Tuesday, Aug. 2, he will be retried next year on the same charge of endangering the welfare of a child for which he was convicted and incarcerated for most of the past three years.
The former secretary for clergy of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia was arrested and charged in February of 2011, and convicted by a jury in 2012, for failing to properly supervise a now-laicized priest, Edward Avery.
Avery pleaded guilty at that time to sexually abusing a 10-year-old altar boy in 1999 at St. Jerome Parish in Northeast Philadelphia.
Msgr. Lynn, now 65, was the first high-ranking clergyman to be convicted in the United States for a crime related to the clergy sexual abuse scandal that surfaced in 2002. Locally it led to two Philadelphia grand jury reports, in 2005 and 2011, and a Pennsylvania grand jury report on the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese in March of this year.
He served 33 months of a 36-month sentence at Waymart Correctional Facility in Northeastern Pennsylvania. He remained there even after his conviction was overturned in December 2015 by Pennsylvania Superior Court.
Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams announced Aug. 2 that he will retry Msgr. Lynn in a reprise of the landmark 2012 trial. The retrial date was set for May 2017 following a hearing in a Philadelphia court Aug. 4.
Prosecutors during the three-month trial produced a mountain of evidence from 21 cases dating back to the 1940s and showing how administrators of the Philadelphia Archdiocese reassigned priests known to have sexually abused children to numerous parishes in the archdiocese without the new pastor’s or community’s knowledge.
As secretary for clergy from 1992 to 2004, Msgr. Lynn carried out the clergy assignments at the behest of the archbishop of Philadelphia, including that of Avery, the only case related directly to the charges against Msgr. Lynn.
Superior Court overturned Msgr. Lynn’s conviction on the grounds that the volume of evidence at trial unfairly prejudiced the jury.
Retrial of the child endangerment charge likely will focus only on the case of Avery, who in 2013 recanted his guilty plea of abusing the young man known at the trial as “Billy Doe.”
His identity has since been revealed in a civil lawsuit as Daniel Gallagher. The credibility of the 28-year-old convicted drug dealer has been thrown into question due to the discrepancies he gave for details of his alleged abuse.
Msgr. Lynn remains free on parole and is said to be living with a family member outside of Philadelphia.
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studied with Bill for some six years at Overbrook. WHAT A FINE GUY. His humility was so authentic that the “powers to be”, the organization, used his virtue to protect itself. No wonder so many see the FAITH as distinct from the church. Don’t throw mud at the civil authorities, they keep us from chaos, save your arrows for the self-adulating hierarchy, they keep us from the TRUTH. (we could use a few more Dolans.
I have a lot of problems with that lady trial judge. She had to know that Lynn was a scapegoat for all the alleged priest abuse and the same can be said for Williams. Shame on both of them.
In 1998 I was falsely accused as a teacher here in Abington School District. I was arrested and then suspended without pay from my teaching position here in the district. It took ten long months and lots of negative publicity for the county to declare my accuser was lying and I was exonerated. A good chance she was mentally unbalanced but she was never arrested nor were any law officials held responsible for my arrest. As with the great majority of our priests who have been accused, it is unscrupulous officials who see a chance for ‘career enhancement’ and will stop at nothing to prosecute even with the flimsiest evidence. Seth Williams, in my opinion, is just that type of district attorney. No wonder men do not want to enter the priesthood or the teaching profession!
The miss carriage of justice served to Msgr. Lynn had just as much to do with the lack of support from the Archdiocese as it did from the bigotry of the judicial system and the mainstream media. How much was written in the Archdiocese’s newsletter CatholicPhily.com about the trial? Look at this article and see how unemotional it is about Msgr.’s release. I would hate to be a soldier and get wound under the leadership of this Archdiocese. I would surely be left behind just as Msgr. Lynn was left behind.
I don’t believe that Msgr. Lynn could make any assignment changes without the approval of the Cardinal who became ill and was conveniently not made to testify .D.A. Williams should clean his own house first .
My question is : If Msgr. Lynn goes to trial and is found NOT GUILTY how do they repay him for the time incarcerated ? D.A. Williams would not like my answer .
This poor man a scapegoat for these
Transgressions. Did what he was told
Thanks to the Archdiocese for backing him and his terrific lawyer Tom Bergstrom for never giving up. He should have never spent one day in prison.
My God, My God, have mercy on dear Monsignor Lynn, a scapegoat and lamb of God. Monsignor Lynn is innocent. He has suffered immeasurable torments. The District Attorney of Philadelphia is irrationally and unjustly continuing the torments. How he could retry this priest, whose conviction was overturned, is left to his conscience; it is not justice. The whole treatment of the Catholic Church, and in particular the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, in this matter has been and is wrong, prejudiced, and against Catholic priests. I want to thank Monsignor Lynn for his great, successful and perfect priesthood. I put this petition before God with the help of the Blessed Virgin Mary: that Catholics organize to support Monsignor Lynn with prayer, penance in atonement for what Monsignor has gone through, and financial assistance. – – Emma Kirk