Monsignor William J. Lynn, the first Catholic Church official in the country to be charged with harming sexual-abuse victims whose abuse he was responsible for investigating, was sentenced Tuesday to three to six years in state prison.
Prosecutors had sought the maximum of seven years, while the defense sought for Lynn to be sentenced to probation or a shorter amount of jail time that would result in a county jail term.
After 13 days of deliberation, more than two months of testimony and almost 1,900 documents admitted into evidence, 12 Philadelphia jurors said in a June 22 verdict they were firm in finding Lynn had endangered the welfare of a 10-year-old altar boy, D.G., when he was sexually assaulted by a priest who Lynn recommended for his clerical assignment.
Lynn was acquitted of conspiring with that boy's abuser, defrocked priest Edward V. Avery, to endanger the welfare of D.G. or other minors. The Legal is not naming the known and alleged victims.
Lynn received a report in 1992 that Avery had touched a man's genitals when the man was 15 years old and again when he was 18 as he slept in the same bed as Avery. That man, R.F., followed up with Lynn throughout the years on Avery's status.
In 1996, R.F. wrote an email to Lynn, asking: "Will the diocese vouch for the safety of its children?"
But D.G. testified that, at the age of 10, when he was an altar server at St. Jerome Parish in Philadelphia, he was not warned that Avery was a danger to him.
When Avery pled guilty to abusing D.G., he was sentenced to 30 to 60 months in prison.
One of Lynn's attorneys, Jeffrey Lindy of Lindy & Tauber, said in an interview that he told Lynn to expect to be sentenced to two-and-a-half to five years in prison or three to six years in prison, especially in light of the penalties levied Monday by the NCAA against Pennsylvania State University because leaders inside and outside the football program concealed information that could have stopped former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky from sexually abusing youths.
"I don't think it's a just sentence," Lindy said. "Father Avery, who was a co-defendant who pled guilty to raping an altar boy and had at least five other sexual assaults, got less time."