Saturday, January 04, 2014

Pa. archbishop defends helping priest post bail

FILE - In this March 27, 2012, file photo, Monsignor William Lynn leaves the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia. A Pennsylvania prison spokeswoman said Lynn was released from prison on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014, after winning an appeal of his landmark conviction in a priest-abuse scandal. Lynn was the first U.S. church official charged for hiding complaints that priests were molesting children. He handled such complaints in Philadelphia from 1992-2004. The appeals court said the law at the time didn't cover people who don't directly supervise children. Photo: Alex Brandon, AP / APPhiladelphia's Roman Catholic archbishop is defending his decision to use church funds to post bail for a priest who won an appeal of his landmark conviction.

Archbishop Charles Chaput (SHAP'-yoo) said in a Friday letter that helping Monsignor William Lynn with bail was "both reasonable and just." 

He says the money wasn't taken from parish, school or ministry resources.

The letter follows Lynn's release from custody after being fitted with an electronic monitoring device.

Prosecutors had charged Lynn with child endangerment for his handling of complaints about priest abuse. A state appeals court says the law was misapplied.

Chaput says the court's decision wasn't a matter of technicalities but "of legal substance." 

He says the bail decision doesn't diminish his determination to prevent sexual abuse.

Lynn was jailed for 18 months.

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