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Monsignor William Lynn, priest convicted of felony child endangerment, awaits sentencing

Monsignor William Lynn walks to the Criminal Justice Center June 19, 2012, in Philadelphia.
Monsignor William Lynn walks to the Criminal Justice Center June 19, 2012, in Philadelphia. AP Photo

(CBS/AP) PHILADELPHIA - Monsignor William Lynn, the first U.S. Roman Catholic church official convicted of covering up child abuse claims, awaits sentencing Tuesday over his handling of complaints that priests were molesting children.

Lynn, 61, faces up to seven years in prison for his felony child endangerment conviction. He was cleared of three related charges at trial.

Bishop Robert Finn and the Kansas City diocese face a misdemeanor charge of failing to report suspected child sexual abuse. Both Finn and the diocese have pleaded not guilty, and are set to go trial next month.

The jury acquitted Lynn of conspiring with a predator-priest and others to cover up the complaints.

Lynn has been in prison since the June 22 jury verdict, when the trial judge revoked his bail.

Defense lawyers call Lynn a scapegoat for the Philadelphia archdiocese, and plan an immediate appeal. They will also ask, perhaps as early as Tuesday, that he be released while the lengthy appeals process plays out.

Prosecutors are pushing for the maximum sentence.

"His active, even eager execution of archdiocese policies - carried out in the face of victims' vivid suffering, and employing constant deceit - required a more amoral character, a striving to please his bosses no matter how sinister the business," prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memo filed Friday. "At any time during those 12 years, he could have had a moment of conscience."

The defense will ask for house arrest, community service, work release or probation.

"The seven-year maximum sentence that the commonwealth advocates would serve no purpose at all - (it) would merely be cruel and unusual," Lynn's lawyers wrote in their sentencing memo.

Complete coverage of Monsignor William Lynn on Crimesider

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