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Philadelphia cleric released after child-endangerment conviction is reversed

Catholic World News - January 06, 2014

Msgr. William Lynn, the Philadelphia archdiocesan official whose conviction on child-endangerment charges was overturned by a unanimous appeals court, has been released after 18 months in prison.

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said that he plans to appeal the ruling that set Msgr. Lynn free, and criticized the Philadelphia archdiocese for helping to arrange bail for the priest. But Archbishop Charles Chaput defend the archdiocesan involvement.

“Msgr. Lynn presents no danger to anyone. He poses no flight risk,” the archbishop observed in a public statement. Archbishop Chaput also pointed out that the appeals court had referred to Msgr. Lynn’s conviction as “fundamentally flawed.” He added: “This reversal is not a matter of technicalities but of legal substance.”

Archbishop Chaput stopped short of defending the actions that had led to Msgr. Lynn’s conviction, saying that the appeals court decision “does not vindicate Msgr. Lynn's past decisions.” He underlined the determination of archdiocesan leaders to “root out the possibility of sexual abuse” and restore the confidence of the public.

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