PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A Roman Catholic church official has been convicted of child endangerment but acquitted of conspiracy in a landmark clergy-abuse trial, making him the first U.S. church official branded a felon for covering up abuse claims.
Prosecutors say Monsignor William Lynn helped the Philadelphia archdiocese keep predators in ministry, and the public in the dark, by telling parishes their priests were being removed for health reasons and then sending the men to unsuspecting churches.
The 61-year-old monsignor served as secretary for clergy from 1992 to 2004.
Lynn had faced about 10 to 20 years in prison if convicted of all three counts he faced -- conspiracy and two counts of child endangerment. He was convicted of only a single endangerment count, which carries a possible 3 1/2- to seven-year prison term.
The jury could not reach a verdict for Lynn's co-defendant, the Rev. James Brennan, who was accused of sexually abusing a 14-year-old boy in 1999.
The judge revoked Lynn's bail and he was taken to jail, although his lawyers plan to ask on Monday that he be granted house arrest until sentencing. No date was set, but the judge scheduled an Aug. 13 presentencing hearing.
The defense also pledges to appeal the conviction.