D.A. Williams files graphic appeal to reinstate Msgr. William Lynn’s conviction

william lynn
Msgr. William Lynn. Credit: Metro file photo

As previously pledged, the office of district attorney Seth Williams filed an appeal Monday to the state Supreme Court asking them to re-convict Msgr. William Lynn on child endangerment charges.

Lynn, 62, was released Dec. 26 after a three-judge appeals court reversed his 2012 conviction.

The appeals panel ruled that child endangerment laws were not applicable to a supervisor like Lynn until the state legislature changed those laws to include supervisors in 2007. The conduct for which Lynn was convicted occurred in 1998.

The appeals papers from the D.A.’s office argue legally that child endangerment statutes should not have been read as a “strict construction.”

The appeal also details what they say was Lynn’s knowledge of past molestations of Father Edward Avery, his decision to return him to a Philadelphia parish rectory near a grade school over a therapist’s concerns, and Avery’s reported molestation at that parish.

Lynn sent Avery to Saint John Vianney, an Archdiocese-operated mental health facility, in 1992, after a male reported that he had been molested by Avery in the late 70s, according to appeals paper.

Prosecutors say that Lynn concealed the nature of Avery’s activities in a referral letter, reportedly only saying that he took a minor to a place that served alcohol and had been drinking.

“The therapist reported ‘concerns about the existence of other victims,’ and the facility recommended that as part of ‘continued outpatient treatment’ Avery be placed in an assignment ‘excluding adolescents,’” the papers state.

However, the papers claim Lynn then assigned Avery to live at St. Jerome’s Parish, where Avery encountered a 10-year-old boy who had previously been molested by Father Charles Englehardt.

The papers state that in 1999 Avery told the child he knew about his “sessions” with Englehardt and would begin the same with the child; and a week later told the child their “sessions would begin,” led the child to a storage room, played music, and forced the child to do a “striptease” while “watching with an ‘eerie smile.’”

Avery reportedly then told the child that “this was what god wants” and that it was “time to become a man,” then molested the child, the appeal states.

Avery was previously sentenced to two-and-a-half to five years in prison for the molestation.

Lynn was sentenced to three to six years in prison for child endangerment and had served 18 months before being released from prison earlier this month.

Lynn is currently free on bail, was required to surrender his passport and is under court order to wear a GPS-monitoring bracelet while this appeal is pending.

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