1/31/14- The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office filed an appeal to reinstate Monsignor William Lynn’s conviction.
The EWOC charge that he was convicted of was because of the incident that occurred between Edward Avery and a young altar boy, known as D.G. Avery pled guilty to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and conspiracy to commit EWOC. Avery was sentenced to 2 1/2-5 years in prison.
Msgr. Lynn’s defense has always contended that the current EWOC statute did not apply because the statute was changed in 2007 but Msgr. Lynn had left his post as the Secretary of Clergy in June of 2004. The 2005 grand jury report supports that assertion as it stated:
“As defined under the law, … the offense of endangering the welfare is too narrow to support a successful prosecution of the decision-makers who were running the Archdiocese. The statute confines its coverage to parents, guardians, and other persons “supervising the welfare of a child.” High level Archdiocesan officials; however, were far removed from any direct contact with children.”
The prosecution disagrees with that assessment as evidenced by the trial and their outrage over the reversal of Msgr. Lynn’s conviction by a panel of three Superior Court judges (read the Superior Court’s opinion here). Assistant District Attorney Hugh J. Burns, Jr.’s 39 page appeal brief condemns the reversal saying,
“The message sent by the Superior Court’s published opinion in this high-profile case is therefore a dismissal one – victims of child sexual assault at the hands of pedophile priests who reluctantly come forward may do so in vain.”
The response from DA’s Office is offensive and wrong. They are the ones saying that those survivors don’t matter. Considering they are the ones who cut a deal with the man who actually admitted to sexually assaulting a child and sentenced him to less time in prison than Msgr. Lynn who never touched a child. How is that Justice?
In reading the High Court’s decision, it is obvious that they are not dismissing the survivors of clergy abuse. They follow the law and offer their own opinions of Msgr. Lynn and that opinion is not kind. In their interpretation of the law, Msgr. Lynn is not guilty of a crime. Could he have done more to prevent some of the abuse? Of course but as is pointed out in the decision, Msgr. Lynn left the post of Secretary of Clergy in June of 2004 but the assault of D.G. was not reported to the Archdiocese until January 30, 2009. This was the incident that he was convicted of but he had absolutely no knowledge that Avery had assaulted D.G.
It is also pointed out in the decision that Avery’s Psychologist thought that Avery was making positive progress and informed Msgr. Lynn that Avery could decrease the frequency of sessions because of that progress. Also, Avery was living at St. Jerome’s (where D.G. was assaulted) rectory but he was not supposed to be celebrating Mass at the parish. The pastor of St. Jerome’s allowed that but he knew of Avery’s past and knew Avery was not supposed to be celebrating Mass at that parish. The pastor of St. Jerome’s knew Avery was under strict orders from Msgr. Lynn to do nothing outside of his duties as chaplain of Nazareth Hospital.
There are a lot of people who are responsible for the sexual abuse scandal, from the parents who wouldn’t believe their kids to Archbishops. There are a lot of guilty people out there and yet they seem to get a free pass but Msgr. Lynn is the one who needs to be held accountable? Perhaps those saying Msgr. Lynn is a scapegoat might be on to something.