Monsignor's conviction overturned in abuse case

mobile.nytimes.com/2013/12/27/us/conviction-overturned-for-church-official-accused-of-covering-up-abuse.html

Sadly this man has been held for 18 months and still has not been released even after the case was overturned. Should be interesting to see what the state’s next move will be and how objectively the press may start covering this now.

People are regularly held for after a conviction is overturned, for surprisingly long lengths of time. There’s a long process involved with issuing a release. From that article, it sounds like this case brought about a change in the state law to remove any ambiguity of it’s applicability. The very ambiguity which seems to have been the pillar of his conviction being overturned. With that being the case, this is unlikely to be a PR win for our faith. Championing it as such, might not be the wisest choice.

The state wanted someone to punish and he was picked over all the other possible candidates. (The anti-Catholic haters wanted a test case so they could go after higher ups) Even if he’s released, his ability to function in any type of pastoral role is over. At least in this country.

I take a different view…not having all the details of the case, if the Monsignor knew a priest was an abuser or strongly suspected it and still made assignments to parishes then I have no sympathy for him. Part of the problem we’ve had in the US is that the Church hierarchy has not been held accountable for the cover up.

The Monsignor’s defense of “just following orders” doesn’t pass the smell test. Tell me the Monsignor didn’t know he was assigning abusive priests and never made an attempt to cover up for the Church and I’m sympathetic. Tell me he knew of abusive priests and still made the assignments because the Archbishop told him to and I am unsympathetic.

I find it hard to believe that no one beyond this priest knew that children were being abused and that NOT A SINGLE PERSON bothered to go to the police. The creeps who abused the boys (at least in these cases) could have been rotting in jail for years if someone, anyone would have bothered to report the abuse to the police rather than to the Church, who has absolutely no authority to arrest people.

You can be self-righteous and believe that you would do things differently, but that is likely untrue. It’s been shown time and time again that people will continue to follow orders even if they have reservations.

FYI - His defense is not “just following orders”. His defense is that he is not guilty of the crime he was charge with. The appellate court agreed.

It is reports such as this one that brings much sadness. A child should never be put in harms way. Lord have mercy.

In a unanimous ruling, a Pennsylvania appellate court has overturned the 2012 conviction of Msgr. William Lynn, who served as the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s vicar of clergy from 1992 to …

More…

I don’t believe that was the case. From what I read he was convicted and found guilty of the charges. His appeal defense was structured around the law being ambiguously written at the time of his conviction (in regards to him being responsible) NOT him being not guilty of the charges. The law was specificity rewrote after this case to clarify such, the prosecution likely foresaw this being successfully appealed. If we champion this as a PR win for our Church, we bring about the arguably true drama of him only being released on a legal loophole, which certainly doesn’t sound good.

Yep. From the linked article: But the Pennsylvania court found that “the state’s child-endangerment law at the time of Lynn’s conviction applied to parents and caregivers but did not extend to institutional supervisors,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

I’m going to hold back my happy dance on this one.

From what I read, Monsignor Lynn will be released today.

philly.com/philly/news/breaking/Monsignor_William_Lynn_conviction_overturned_by_Pa_court_DA_most_likely_to_appeal.html

Yes, he was falsely convicted of a crime. You cannot make laws stretch to fit a crime you want punished. There has to be a law in place prior to charges. And there wasn’t.

According to the Judge’s opinion, the ambiguity is part of the State’s argument. The State was trying to argue that the statute in place at the time Lynn was the Secretary applied farther than it did. The appellate court also made note that the trial judge ignored legal precidence in order to come to the decision that they did.

There is no legal loophole. You can’t be guilty of crime that isn’t a crime. :shrug:

You’re right. What the Monsignor did was, (and so always will be) immoral and reprehensible, but at the time it was NOT a crime. (It IS currently) :thumbsup:

So there was indeed no legal loophole.

Would not mind the man being defrocked, though. Keep him in the fold as a Catholic, but defrock him. :thumbsup:

I would rather see him be assigned to minister to the victims of clergy sex abuse. Let him get the full brunt of what his actions caused.

What silly blather. There is no such thing as “defrocking” a priest. It is airheaded slang for who knows what. And, boy, aren’t we the very judgmental ones who are so willing to cast a stone.

This is a good idea.

I believe, though, as an American citizen, that ex post facto laws are unconstitutional and should remain that way, even though what later becomes defined as a crime is (and was) morally heinous.

The acts in question were a crime at the time they were committed. The problem in this case is that priests were considered above this particular law at the time. Its really no different than diplomatic immunity. Its still a criminal act; they’re just immune from prosecution.

This is not true in any facet of law.

Just like mandated reporter laws, in which only certain people are subject to, priests were not subject to the law which parents and caregivers were. Simple as that.

Since it clearly doesn’t fit the mainstream Western media’s agenda, I can see them reluctantly reporting on this with a sigh.

:eek: Would you not perceive that as scarring the victims further? Having them be ministered by a man who turned a blind eye and placed a monster in their midst is quite likely to cause the further suffering and even potentially push them away from our Church. I would think that at this point their healing is more important than his rehabilitation.

Perhaps we’re disputing semantics. Unfortunately I believe a very strong argument can be made that he escaped through a legal loophole. Again his defense wasn’t based on him being innocent of the charges, but that the criminal law did not extend to his persecution at the time of his conviction, as it does now. The appeal decision states that the judges found him to indisputably be guilty of many of the charges, just that the law as was written was too ambiguous to extend to him. By many accounts, that’s the very definition of escaping prosecution due to a legal loophole. Being morally and ethically guilty, but not criminally guilty do to defects or mistakes in the law.

That the district attorney attempted to extend the law to apply to him, and was successful initially, isn’t unprofessional - that’s how case law is challenged and established.

The law has since been rectified, which having a priest be the case study of why a law on child endangerment was strengthened is simply not good. Neither is his defensive statement that he was just following orders, if anything arguing on that just beckons someone to evoke Godwin’s Law.

I’m not commenting on the Monsignor, other than stating that asking for his successful appeal to be celebrated or broadcast may not put our Church in the best light.

It has nothing to do with his rehabilitation. There are many different way to minister to victims. For some victims, having the opportunity to confront him, would give them a chance at peace.

Perhaps we’re disputing semantics. Unfortunately I believe a very strong argument can be made that he escaped through a legal loophole. Again his defense wasn’t based on him being innocent of the charges, but that the criminal law did not extend to his persecution at the time of his conviction, as it does now. The appeal decision states that the judges found him to indisputably be guilty of many of the charges, just that the law as was written was too ambiguous to extend to him. By many accounts, that’s the very definition of escaping prosecution due to a legal loophole. Being morally and ethically guilty, but not criminally guilty do to defects or mistakes in the law.

That the district attorney attempted to extend the law to apply to him, and was successful initially, isn’t unprofessional - that’s how case law is challenged and established.

The law has since been rectified, which having a priest be the case study of why a law on child endangerment was strengthened is simply not good. Neither is his defensive statement that he was just following orders, if anything arguing on that just beckons someone to evoke Godwin’s Law.

I’m not commenting on the Monsignor, other than stating that asking for his successful appeal to be celebrated or broadcast may not put our Church in the best light.

The legal system worked the way it should. He was set free because he was wrongly convicted. That isn’t just a win for him, but a win for everyone. There was plenty of prior case law that clearly defined the extent of the law in question. The attorneys and judge ignored them in order to get a conviction. The government should never have the power to make up things as they go along.

He may be morally guilty, but that’s up to a totally different judge and I think the penalties for that are a bit stiffer than a few years in jail.

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