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Court overturns Monsignor William Lynn's child endangerment conviction

DA says judges showed disregard for child victims of pedophile priests

Lynn's bail has been posted

CNN  — 

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said Monday he will appeal a Superior Court’s decision to reverse Monsignor William Lynn’s conviction for covering up crimes of offending priests.

A three-judge panel ruled Thursday that Lynn – who had been the first Roman Catholic priest in the United States to be convicted of covering up the abuses of others – should be released, reversing his 2012 conviction for one count of child endangerment. He originally was sentenced to three to six years.

“There is something wrong with this Superior Court panel,” Williams said.

Lynn’s conviction was for not removing a defrocked priest, Edward Avery, from active ministry in the 1990s after learning Avery had molested a teen. Avery pleaded guilty in March 2012 to sexually assaulting the 10-year-old altar boy during the 1998-99 school year and remains in prison.

Williams adamantly expressed his disapproval of the Superior Court’s decision.

“I am disgusted by the Superior Court’s cavalier, disregard for the child victims of pedophile priests and Monsignor Lynn’s role,” Williams told reporters. “Monsignor William Lynn knew Father Avery had sexually molested children.”

Lynn’s attorneys had convinced the Superior Court panel that the laws at the time only applied to people who directly supervised children.

“Certainly, he (Williams) has a prerogative to appeal. I don’t think his appeal will be successful, but he certainly has the right,” Lynn’s attorney, Thomas Bergstrom said.

A spokesman for the State Correctional Institution at Waymart, Pennsylvania, told CNN that Lynn’s bail had been posted, but he hadn’t been released, because of pending paperwork.

Lynn’s bail was $250,000, Bergstrom said.

Williams said it is undeniable Lynn, now 62, was responsible for endangering the child.

“We will charge everyone that we believe we have sufficient evidence within the statute of limitations to prosecute,” Williams said, “No one is protected or untouchable – wherever the evidence leads us we will go.”

Lynn, now 62, made no statement after last week’s ruling. After he was convicted 18 months ago, he said: “I’ve tried to serve God as best I could. My best was not good enough.”

CNN’s Steve Almasy contributed to this report.