By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Monsignor William Lynn, the Philadelphia archdiocesan official who has been jailed for more than a year for shuffling predator priests among parishes, had his conviction reversed on Thursday. Legal experts predict the decision will have major implications for the criminal case against three Penn State administrators connected to the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
A superior court judge ruled that Monsignor Lynn should not have been retroactively charged for child endangerment under a 2007 law because his actions took place in the 1990’s.
“You can’t be convicted of something if at the time you would have done it it wasn’t against the law,” says James Funt, a criminal defense attorney and partner at Greenblatt, Pierce, Engle, Funt & Flores.
He says the appeals ruling striking Lynn’s conviction could result in dismissal of some of the child endangerment charges against former Penn State president Graham Spanier, former VP Gary Schultz and former athletic director Tim Curley- who are charged under the same law. Prosecutors say the trio failed to report a sexual abuse claim against Jerry Sandusky in 2001 through 2008, endangering boys for more than seven years.
“The timeframes that they are being accused of both predate 2007 and are after 2007,” says Funt, “So I think it’ll have a significant impact, but I don’t think it will kill the case ”
Funt says the case would continue since Spanier, Schultz and Curley also other changes, including perjury and obstruction of justice.