By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - The person at the center of the three-month-long clergy-abuse case in Philadelphia is to be sentenced today. Prosecutors are asking that the maximum sentence be imposed on Monsignor William Lynn, who was convicted of felony child endangerment.
The Philadelphia District Attorney's office calls the Monsignor the 'central actor' in the scandal, while he served as the secretary for clergy under the late Cardinal Bevilacqua from 1992-2004.
The DA's office argues 'a maximum sentence may be the only way to impress upon the defendant that he committed a serious crime.' Prosecutors contend 'the protection of children trumps the reputation of abusers and the institution that harbors them.'
Lynn faces 3.5-7 years in prison.
Defense lawyers argue a long prison term was unfair and legally flawed, because most defendants convicted of a third-degree felony have been spared state prison terms.
Lynn is the first American church official who has not actually abused children to be convicted of endangering the welfare of a child.
Meantime, prosecutors will retry his co-defendant, the Reverend James Brennan, after the same jury was deadlocked on Brennan's portion of the priest sex-abuse case.
The retrial is not expected to happen until at least next February.
for more features.