Friday, December 27, 2013

Was Monsignor William Lynn a scapegoat?

Monsignor William Lynn, convicted of child endangerment, was released from prison because of a ruling by an appeals court which dismissed the charge. Most reports I've read indicate that the ruling is based on a technicality.

But Bergstrom says the law states a parent, guardian or other person supervising the child must knowingly endanger that child.

“There must be some direct control over that child, and in this case there wasn’t. I mean Monsignor Lynn never knew this child,” he said.

In the court paperwork, judges explained that Monsignor Lynn did not have control over reassigning priests, and this played a factor in their decision.

Source: Pa. Court Reverses Monsignor William Lynn's Conviction by Steve Tawa

Bergstrom in the quote above is Thomas Bergstrom, Lynn's defense lawyer.

Was Monsignor William Lynn a scapegoat? I think so. My reading of the law is constant will the Pa. Court of Appeals. It appears that the prosecution reached for a conviction using a law that did not cover the Lynn's actions. I think the right course of action here is to change the law. Lynn and the Catholic church should be held accountable for their inaction, they should also be given credit for making structural changes in how they operate, so perhaps the penalty here should be assessed in a civil trial.

Let’s remember what Monsignor William Lynn did. He reassigned sexual predators from one parish to the next which resulted in the abuse of children. He is culpable. If not in a criminal sense due to poorly written statutes, the in a civil sense. His action would never survive a jury and the payout would counted in the millions of dollars.