A Roman Catholic church official was convicted today of child endangerment but acquitted of conspiracy in a groundbreaking clergy-abuse trial, becoming the first US church official convicted of a crime for how he handled abuse claims. Monsignor William Lynn of Philadelphia helped the archdiocese keep predators in ministry, and the public in the dark, by telling parishes their priest was being removed for health reasons and then sending the men to unsuspecting churches, prosecutors said.
Lynn, 61, 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 only on one of the endangerment counts, leaving him with the possibility of 3.5 to seven years in prison. Lynn, who has been on leave from the church since his arrest last year, served as secretary for clergy from 1992 to 2004, mostly under Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua. (Read more Philadelphia stories.)