Archdiocese official’s conviction reversed, ordered freed from jail

Monsignor William Lynn
Monsignor William Lynn. Credit: provided

Monsignor William Lynn, 62, a former administrator in the Philadelphia Archdiocese convicted of child endangerment last year, was ordered released today.

A three-judge panel hearing Lynn’s appeal released a decision Thursday overturning his conviction on the grounds that the state’s child-endangerment laws do not apply to supervisors like Lynn, the Associated Press reported.

Lynn was serving a three-to-six year prison sentence after being convicted last year in Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court.

Lynn served the Archdiocese as secretary of clergy from 1992 to 2004. Prosecutors said that during that time, he assigned predators to parishes in Philadelphia — specifically one priest, Edward Avery, who allegedly abused a child in after a transfer by Lynn. Avery is currently serving a tw0-and-a-half to five-year sentence.

Lynn’s attorney Thomas Bergstrom argued in appeals paper that the conviction involved a child Lynn “never knew and certainly never touched.”

“The [appeals court] was very adamant about the fact that this statue didn’t apply to him,” Bergstrom said. “You can’t mix Lynn’s conduct with what Avery did.”

Lynn reportedly assigned Avery to a parish in 1993. Avery allegedly abused a victim in 1999, according to Bergstrom’s papers.

Lynn is currently being held in state prison in Waymart.

Bergstrom said he is putting together paperwork to set up Lynn’s release, and believes Lynn could be released as early as tomorrow.

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams released a statement saying that his office is “likely to appeal” the Superior Court’s decision.

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