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Priest gets new trial date after child endangerment conviction overturned

By Andrew V. Pestano

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 4 (UPI) -- A Philadelphia judge on Thursday set a new trial date for Monsignor William J. Lynn, previously convicted of protecting pedophile priests, two days after he was released on bail.

Lynn has served nearly three years in prison but a judge granted him bail earlier this week after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned his child endangerment conviction by affirming a lower court decision, which granted him a new trial. Lynn's new trial will begin May 2017, a Philadelphia judge ruled at a hearing.

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Lynn, a Catholic priest who served as the secretary for clergy for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia from 1992 to 2004, was the first person charged in the United States with shielding pedophile priests. He was not accused of abusing children himself.

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said he vowed to re-try Lynn because he endangered thousands of children in the city's Catholic parishes when he knowingly transferred child-molesting priests to cover up sexual abuse, NBC 10 reports.

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Tom Bergstrom, Lynn's attorney, said that if his client is convicted again, he can only be sentenced to a maximum of two months in jail. A parole board previously granted him parole that would have begun in October, when he would have completed three years of his three-to-six-year sentence.

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Bergstrom argued that only those involved in supervising children can be convicted of child endangerment at the time, while prosecutors argued that is a misreading of a Pennsylvania law. The state legislature changed the law in 2009 to allow endangerment charges to be applied more broadly.

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