It's a criminal offense for someone who is supervising the welfare
of a child less than 18 years of age, or a person that employs or supervises
such a person, to knowingly endanger the child's welfare by violating
a duty of care, protection or support. That is the general wording of
the current Pennsylvania statute setting
criminal charges for endangering the welfare of children. However, prior to 2007, the statute
did not contain the words "or a person that employs or supervises
such a person..." Prior to that time the statute applied only to
one who directly was supervising the welfare of a child.
From 1992-2004 there was a barrage of complaints in the Philadelphia diocese
of the Roman Catholic Church against priests who were accused of molesting
children in their parishes. The Monsignor handling the complaints during
that time period was sending accused priests to other locations for reassignment.
One of those reassigned raped a former altar boy at his new location.
The Monsignor was also accused of hiding complaints. At some point in 2011,
the Philadelphia district attorney charged the Monsignor with endangering
the welfare of children by hiding files and sending dangerous predators
off to other parishes. He was ultimately convicted of the
felonyof endangerment and sentenced to three to six years of imprisonment.
He appealed the conviction, and it was recently reversed by a panel of
the Superior Court of Pennsylvania. The government is now appealing that
decision to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Pending the appeal, the defendant
was released from prison under supervision. The basis of the Superior
Court opinion is that the charges were based on the pre-2007 version of
All of the criminal charges deal with events prior to 2007 and therefore
the pre-amended statutory version was applicable. The older Pennsylvania
provision only applied to an individual who was directly supervising the
welfare of a child. It was undisputed that the defendant did not supervise
any children who were abused, so that his conviction under the statute
was invalid, according to the Superior Court.
Source: Delaware County Daily Times,
Monsignor Lynn leaves prison after posting bail Thursday, No author, Jan. 2, 2014