April 30, 2015 / 4:45 PM / 4 years ago

Philadelphia Catholic monsignor ordered back to prison in child sex abuse case

HARRISBURG, Pa. (Reuters) - A high-ranking Catholic church official in Philadelphia was ordered back to prison on Thursday following the reinstatement of his conviction for turning a blind eye to child sex abuse by pedophile priests.

Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Teresa Sarmina revoked bail for Monsignor William Lynn, 64, and ordered him back behind bars.

Sarmina, who presided over his criminal trial, had sentenced Lynn in 2012 to three to six years in prison for endangering the welfare of children.

One of the highest-ranking clergyman convicted in the U.S. Roman Catholic Church child sex abuse scandal, Lynn is the first church official sent to prison for mishandling sexual misconduct complaints against priests.

Lynn, former secretary of the clergy for the Philadelphia Archdiocese who oversaw the work of 800 priests, was convicted of failing to supervise a pedophile priest who eventually sexually assaulted a 10-year-old altar boy in 1999. He was found guilty of covering up sex abuse, often by transferring predatory priests to unsuspecting parishes.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court this week reinstated Lynn’s conviction, which had been overturned by a mid-level state appellate court. The appellate court had freed him in 2013 after serving about 18 months, and he has been under house arrest while wearing an electronic monitoring bracelet since then.

The Supreme Court found Lynn legally responsible for the “welfare of children” even though he did not directly supervise children but rather supervised priests in direct contact with children.

Lynn’s attorney, Thomas Bergstrom, told Reuters he would seek to have Lynn’s bail restored.

“I’m going to file an emergency petition with the Superior Court,’ Bergstrom said, referring to the mid-level appellate court.

Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Will Dunham

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