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Centre Co. experts weigh in on Lynn case's impact on accused Penn State official's future

By: Lauren Hensely

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- A former Philadelphia church official whose child endangerment conviction was overturned by the Superior Court last week could affect the prosecution against three former Penn State administrators.

Prosecutors argued Monsignor William Lynn shuffled predator Priests from one parish to another in the 1990's. He was serving a three to six year sentence in state prison for child endangerment but a ruling said he was convicted on a 2007 law that only applied to parents or caregivers not a supervisor.

That ruling could affect the case for Graham Spanier, Tim Curley, and Gary Schultz, who are accused of covering up the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal in 2001. Local officials said the Lynn case shows weakness of child abuse laws in the state.

According to Andrea Boyles CEO at Centre County Youth Service Bureau said there is a lot of work ahead to keep children safe. This ruling by the Superior Court in the Lynn case really shows the weakness of child abuse laws in the state of Pennsylvania. Boyles said until 2007 those who were legally responsible for reporting child endangerment was very limited.

I remember this change in the law, Boyles said. But to be a mandated reporter, again anyone can report child abuse and should, but to be a mandated reporter prior to 2007, the child had to tell you directly.

Even though the laws have toughened up in 2007, Boyles said there are still some loopholes in the system. Nine bills signed by the Governors Office are working to close these loopholes. But still, Boyles said Pennsylvania has a lot of work to do tightening child endangerment laws.

I think Pennsylvania did a great job making these changes and moving forward, Boyles said. We are still behind so many states. I am happy we have laws that have been signed but we need to keep moving and make sure all of these issues are addressed in some way, Boyles said.

The center of the debate is whether the case against the Penn State Officials accused of covering up Sanduskys crimes will continue because the laws did not take effect until 2007. There is no word on when the court will reach a decision.

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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times