PHILADELPHIA — The first senior official in the Catholic Church in the United States convicted of endangering children in the priest-abuse scandal asked Thursday for probation instead of prison, saying he had already experienced months of scrutiny, vilification, and shame.
Monsignor William Lynn, 61, of Philadelphia awaits sentencing on Tuesday.
Lynn, the former secretary for clergy at the city’s Roman Catholic archdiocese, handled priest assignments and child sexual-assault complaints from 1992 to 2004.
He faces up to seven years in prison after a jury convicted him last month of felony child endangerment for his oversight of now-ousted priest Edward Avery. Avery is serving a 2½-to five-year term after pleading guilty before trial to sexually assaulting an altar boy in church.
Lynn’s lawyers argue few Pennsylvanians serve long prison terms for child endangerment and said he should not serve more time than abusers.
“Monsignor Lynn has never harbored any intent to harm a child,” lawyers Thomas Bergstrom and Jeffrey Lindy wrote. They said Lynn never thought the abuse would take place.
Prosecutors are expected to seek the maximum sentence.
Common Pleas Judge M. Teresa revoked Lynn’s bail after the June 22 verdict, sending the dazed cleric straight to prison. He now seeks a sentence of time served combined with house arrest, community service, work release, or probation.
Lynn plans to appeal his landmark conviction and seek bail immediately after he is sentenced Tuesday.
Prosecutors are expected to file their sentencing memo Friday.