The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

New York (AFP) – A U.S. appeals court on Thursday overturned the conviction of a senior American church official found guilty of covering up child sex abuse and ordered him freed from prison.

Monsignor William Lynn was found guilty in June 2012 on one count of child endangerment and sentenced to between three and six years in jail in the U.S. city of Philadelphia.

Lynn, whose job had been to investigate reports of abuse in the archdiocese from 1992 to 2004, was not charged with molesting children, rather with covering up the crimes of priests who did.

But Thursday’s ruling from the Pennsylvania appeals court concluded that theories of accomplice liability applied by the trial court “were not supported by sufficient evidence.”

“In sum, the evidence was insufficient to demonstrate that appellant ‘acted with the intention of promoting or facilitating'” the offense, it said.

“Judgment of sentence reversed. Appellant is discharged,” it added.

The trial, the first in the United States involving such a senior official in the Catholic Church, had been hailed by victims’ groups as a major step forward.

Lynn argued that he may have been out of his depth, but had never acted criminally.

The trial also centered on two more Philadelphia priests.

Reverend James Brennan, who was suspended from his duties as a priest, stood accused of attempting to rape a teenage boy in the 1990s. The jury was hung over the charges dealing with Brennan.

Defrocked priest Edward Avery pleaded guilty on the eve of trial. Avery was sentenced to between 2.5 and five years in prison.

The court heard graphic testimony describing sexual abuse in the Philadelphia archdiocese.

Lynn’s lawyer had described him as a low level functionary who struggled within a rigid church hierarchy to act against abuse.

Prosecutors portrayed Lynn as a keeper of secrets and that, by failing to remove abusive priests from positions where they had contact with minors, Lynn put children in danger.

AFP Photo/Stan Honda


Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

MAGA Children's Books

The GOP descent into full-blown conspiracy and fascist hell has not gone unnoticed as of late. With the right-wing dominated Supreme Court poised to finally overturn Roe V Wade and 2022 races focusing on backing Republicans who support Trump's 2020 election lies, democracy and decency are all but dead and Democrats are going to have to turn out big in the midterms to prevent a GOP takeover over the House or Senate.

But while the focus of progressive ire has been over the GOP's assault on reproductive rights, Republicans have also been waging a war on facts and education quite well. After all, they need their voters nice and ignorant to remain in power. Book banning and, sickeningly, book burning is a thing for the GOP in the year 2022. The state of Tennessee, for example, is banning books. In fact, a psychotic trump zealot pastor led an actual book-burning event.

Keep reading... Show less

Pat McCrory

Youtube Screenshot

If former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory is any indication, the GOP primary wounds wrought in the last several months stand a good chance of bleeding into the general election this fall.

McCrory, who lost his bid Tuesday to become the Republican nominee for the Tar Heel State's open Senate seat, declined to endorse his GOP rival, Rep. Ted Budd, the Trump endorsee.

Keep reading... Show less
{{ }}