Thursday, December 26, 2013
From The New York Times:
The reversal of Monsignor Lynn’s conviction turned on disputed interpretations of Pennsylvania’s former child welfare law and does not have legal implications for other states. Prosecution of supervising officials for their handling of priests accused of abuse in past decades remains a rarity; grand juries in Boston and Los Angeles are known to have explored the issues but have not issued indictments, apparently because of legal constraints.
. . .
In Thursday’s reversal, the appeals court said that the state had provided “more than adequate” evidence that Monsignor Lynn “prioritized the archdiocese’s reputation over the safety of potential victims of sexually abusive priests.” But it rejected the argument, accepted by the 2012 trial judge and jury, that a child welfare law applied to a “parent, guardian or other person supervising the welfare of a child” could be used to prosecute Monsignor Lynn. To eliminate any ambiguity, that law was modified in 2007, after his retirement, to explicitly apply to employers and supervisors as well.