Former secretary for clergy sentenced to three to six years in prison
Published: July 25, 2012
PHILADELPHIA (CNS) -- Common Pleas Court Judge Teresa Sarmina closed the latest chapter in the clergy sexual abuse scandal in Philadelphia by sentencing Msgr. William Lynn to three to six years in state prison. During the sentencing hearing July 24, after more than two hours of arguments and letters presented from victims and Msgr. Lynn's defense, Sarmina handed down a sentence just shy of the maximum seven years. The former secretary for clergy, who recommended priest assignments to the archbishop of Philadelphia and investigated claims of sexual abuse of minors by clergy, was found guilty of one felony charge of endangering the welfare of a child June 22. He became the first official of the U.S. Catholic Church to be convicted of a felony not for abusing a child, or even witnessing it, but for his responsibilities in managing priests, some of whom abused children. District Attorney Seth Williams said the fact that Msgr. Lynn, 61, was convicted not for abuse made this "a very different case," one that is "unprecedented in American jurisprudence. We held responsible a man who did not abuse children himself, but who did not do enough to protect children," Williams said outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia. The priest's defense lawyer, Thomas Bergstrom, incredulously referred to the sentence as "grossly unfair" and "unbelievable." Fellow defense lawyer Jeffrey Lindy told reporters that Msgr. Lynn must now report to the State Correctional Institution Graterford, Montgomery County for processing, then to another prison in Camp Hill, Pa.
Copyright (c) Catholic News Service /U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The CNS news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed, including but not limited to such means as framing or any other digital copying or distribution method, in whole or in part without the prior written authority of Catholic News Service .