After bailing out Lynn, Philadelphia Archdiocese keeps him on leave

    A Catholic Church official whose child-endangerment conviction was overturned last month will stay out of public ministry for now.

    Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput said in a statement that Monsignor William Lynn will remain on “administrative leave” and therefore “may not function publicly as a priest.” 

    This week, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia provided the 10 percent of the $250,000 bail needed to release Lynn from prison.

    Lynn was convicted in 2012 for his lax oversight of a priest accused of sexual assault. But a Superior Court panel found that the child-endangerment law at the time did not apply to supervisors such as Lynn.

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    Chaput defended the archdiocese’s decision to bail out Lynn.

    “Msgr. Lynn has already spent 18 months in prison on a conviction which Pennsylvania’s state appellate court has reversed — unanimously — as ‘fundamentally flawed,'” he said. “This reversal is not a matter of technicalities but of legal substance.”

    Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams intends to appeal the Superior Court ruling.

    David Clohessy, executive director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said he is relieved that Lynn will not be put back on the job at this time.

    “But it’s troubling that Archbishop Chaput continues to pretend that things are different in the archdiocese these days, when they’re really not,” he said. “He refuses to explain why he took the generous donations from Catholics and used them for bail money for someone who virtually everybody acknowledges acted dreadfully recklessly.”

    Chaput said the bail funding did not come from any parish or school resources.

    When asked if Lynn could return to public ministry in the future, archdiocese spokesman Ken Gavin said, “I can’t speculate as to when there might be a change in his status or about a possible return to active ministry at this time.”

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