PA Supreme Court Reinstates Msgr. Lynn’s Conviction

Click here to read: “Pennsylvania Top Court Reinstates Monsignor’s Conviction,” by MaryClaire Dale, Associated Press,, April 27, 2015

Excerpt: The state’s highest court on Monday reinstated the landmark child-endangerment conviction of a Roman Catholic monsignor who was the first U.S. church official ever prosecuted over his handling of sex abuse complaints.

28 thoughts on “PA Supreme Court Reinstates Msgr. Lynn’s Conviction

  1. Wow! I really didn’t expect the courts decision to go in that direction. I am really surprised. I have mixed feelings about this decision.William Lynn and I went to the same grade school-_St. John of the Cross in Roslyn. He was two years behind me. He was in the same grade as one of my sisters.This was the same Church where I was molested. I am pretty sure that he knew the priest who abused me.Father Albert Kostelnick was also on staff there at the time.He went on to become one of the worst serial molesters in Archdiocese of Philadelphia history. Later on ,I worked for a short period of time with one of Father Lynns brothers. He appeared to me to be a good person. In many ways Father Lynn became the scapegoat for the ills committed by Anthony Bevilaqua, who was both a civil and cannon law lawyer.He was one who death saved from having to deal with his wrongdoings. In some ways the Monsignor was in over his head. There is no doubt in my mind that what he did was wrong and he should have known better. But he was one of many thousands who could be seen in that light.

    1. Jim, I have wrestled with the fact that a lot of “nice” people do bad things, or fail to do good things …. don’t protect kids etc. “Nice” people are not always good and good be are not always nice. I use to be “nice” but I changed and I am kinda “bitchy” at times. I will never be the same. Does anyone know if Lynn was a victim of this priest? I ask because in my previous experience and recently I have come in contact with “nice” people who failed to protect kids because there was strong evidence or they admitted they had also been abused as a child. I am not taking away their responsibility but it has made me more compassionate towards certain people and also reinforces that so much education is needed. I was very angry for many years at a certain person and it was hard for me to forgive them til I realized they most likely had been abused too and they were shutdown emotionally.

      1. Another thing I learned is that you can forgive someone but there should still be consequences for their actions.

      2. Beth: I have wondered about Lynn being molested by the same priest who molested me.But it is strickly conjecture on my part. The way that he covered for others kind of makes me believe it is possible. As far as I know, I am the only one who has gone public about this priest. But I also know there were others who he molested. That is not conjecture. I really didn’t know Billy Lynn as a kid.My understanding is that he was a very bright kid. Understand, I am not trying to make Lynn out to be an innocent bystander. He clearly was responsible for moving priests to avoid their having to pay for their crimes.But I firmly believe that this was Church policy and it came from the Vatican. I remember reading that several Irish Bishops asked the Vatican and specifically Cardinal Ratzinger for direction on handling accused priests in their country. There was no response.But I find it extremely difficult to believe that there was not a policy in place, probably verbal and not written to move priests to avoid detection. I don’t think that all the Bishops came up with the same policy independently. Yet it was almost universal, not only here in the United States but also abroad. Protect priests at all cost.Victims be damned . I do believe that Father Lynn was following orders. How far up the chain of command that went., we probably will never know. But I truly believe that all of the popes in the twentieth century knew of and approved this policy..

  2. Msgr. Lynn,

    “It is not enough to do your best; you must know what to do, and then do your best.”

  3. Kate when I heard this news today I was thinking bak to three years ago when you and I sat in the courtroom and heard the explanation from Lynn that the children were lined up to go to Avery for confession “out in the open” and not in a confessional. This made sense to made sense to send little children to confession to a known abuser.

    1. Kathy, I’m just speechless right now. Just consumed with memories, words, and visuals from Lynn’s trial. That you touched base with me, means a lot to me.

      I don’t know where I buried my experiences from Lynn’s trial for the last three years but all of a sudden, quite literally, I am sitting right there.

  4. This is the right thing to do! They all need to be held accountable. Makes me physically sick to think the SOL has run out on so many of them. However I do believe their day will come in one way or another.

  5. Good. I’m sure more appeals will be forthcoming, but maybe more will start to see actions such as his, as wrong. At least it has been acknowledged that he had direct supervision of children. As pastor of that church and school, nothing happened with the school that didn’t Involve him, to the point they were incapacitated when he was first arrested.

  6. What??? “Retired” Finn will preside over the May ordinations of several deacons in his “former” diocese because the acting bishop has other ordinations to preside over on the same day, and because the deacons (having been trained well in clericalism) really, really, really want their long time spiritual mentor and pal, Finn, to ordain them… or they’ll be crushed beyond belief.

    Say you were running the Diocese of Kansas City. Is that how you would resolve the problem?

    1. Does this mean that Finn will preside at select ceremonial events while enjoying a bishop’s full retirement benefits? Nice gig if you can get it!

    1. Ayres was a seminarian when he began serving in 1996 at Incarnation, a parish along North 5th Street, according to the lawsuit and previous statements by the archdiocese. He was ordained in 1999, and remained at Incarnation until 2002.

      According to the lawsuit, the student said he told the pastor at Incarnation last fall that Ayers had abused him, and that priest allegedly told him Ayres “was already under investigation and there had been reports filed before (his) abuse had occurred.”

  7. With the removal of Bishop Finn from service and the confirmation of the Lynn verdict, I read it as confirmation the Church and law enforcement finally recognize the serious nature of the crime of COVER-UP. I have been in extensive communication with Archbishop Chaput (not recently) since the Lynn verdict. I presented to him how there are members currently in clergy in leadership positions that played major roles in hiding these pedophiles, yet they remain in leadership positions. The last sentence by the Phila. DA in his comments about reinstating the Lynn verdict says it all: “Today’s announcement sends the clear message that if anyone — priest, layperson, citizen, police officer or elected official — knowingly puts children at risk of being sexually molested, they will be held accountable,”

  8. Posted the comment (below) at the above-mentioned article by Archbishop Chaput. Of course, objective and meaningful statements such as these are never accepted for permanent posting at

    “Let’s not forget that the following proposals would be a valuable and important step to further enhance the protection of the children of the Commonwealth as well as to ensure legal access and redress for past and future child victims of sexual abuse regardless of the environment, public or private, religious or secular.

    House Bill 661 and Senate Bill 582, introduced by Rozzi and state Sen. Rob Teplitz, D-Dauphin, in their respective chambers, which would raise the age at which an adult victim of child sex abuse could file a civil claim from 30 to 50 years old. Previously time-barred victims would be permitted to bring suit. Rep. Louise Williams Bishop’s House Bill 655 would eliminate the statute of limitations for criminal and civil cases of child sex abuse, and Rep. Tom Murt’s H.B. 951 calls for a two-year window for past victims to have the opportunity to file civil suits.

    Both Rep. Williams and Rep. Rozzi are victims of sexual abuse during their adolescent years.”

    1. Yes, and I wrote this but I don’t think it will be posted either on –

      Your comment has been submitted.

      Dear Archbishop Chaput,

      Accountability and transparency, or promises thereof, for the crimes and sins of the present and the future absolves no individual or institution, religious or secular, from the required accountability and transparency for those crimes and sins of the sexual abuse of children committed in the past whether it is two, three or four years or two, three or four decades. The victim/survivors of such criminal sexual abuses deal with it every day.

      Archbishop Chaput:

      Why aren’t you along with all the bishops in Pennsylvania aggressively and publicly supporting the current proposed PA legislation?

      1) House Bill 661 introduced by Representative Mark Rozzi

      2) Senate Bill 582 introduced by Senator Rob Teplitz

      3) House Bill 655 introduced by Representative Louise Bishop


      Sister Maureen Paul Turlish

      By: Sister Maureen Paul Turlish on April 29, 2015 at 2:59 pm


    Powerful and important story here from the front page of today’s Philadelphia Inquirer.
    Makes me wonder whether or not Archbishop Chaput could learn a thing or two about the suffering, devastation and heartache of sexual abuse victims if he took the time to sit down and talk with Aaron Fisher. Next time, Chaput takes the trip to Harrisburg to lobby AGAINST the sexual abuse and SOL proposals, he should ask that Mr. Fisher accompany him on the trip west. Do you think that would change our spiritual leader’s mind about PA children and these vital legislative proposals he currently OPPOSES?

  10. An Augustinian priest, Rev Paul Morrissey has just published a book ” The Black Wall of Silence” and although it is technically a novel, it addresses the issues of sexual abuse by priests, cover- ups by Bishops and the pain many gays endure in the Church. It will be interesting to see how it is viewed by the hierarchy.

  11. Kudos to SNAP, BishopsAccountablity, Voice of the Faithful and other organizations for expressing outrage via letters to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on the issue of disgraced and resigned Finn presiding at ordinations this month. The clerics still don’t get it! Get what? THE CHILDREN. They can’t see beyond themselves. Clericalism sucks.

    Meanwhile, in my own neck of the woods, half of the graduating class at La Moyne College in Syracuse, NY, have expressed outrage at the 2015 Commencement speaker– Cardinal Dolan! Eee gads! NOT Dolan! In response to the outrage expressed by half of the 2015 graduating class, La Moyne’s president, Ms. Linda LaMura, suggested the students do more research about what happened and said, “He’ll be great.” How ignorant and lame is THAT??? When half the graduating class is smarter than the college president it’s scary.

    1. If any of you went to school in the Baltimore Diocese, in particular Archbishop Keough High School (now Seton Keough), you might be interested in a Facebook page “Justice for Catherine Cesnik and Malecki.” Even if you didn’t go there, you might want to give your support to some brave women on that page. I hope it’s appropriate to post this.

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