News Briefing May 1-7, 2015

News Briefing May 1-7, 2015

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PA Supreme Court reinstates monsignor’s convictions

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court reinstated its pivotal child-endangerment conviction of Msgr. William J. Lynn on Monday. Lynn was the first Catholic official found guilty for his supervisory role in the clergy sex-abuse scandal.


In a 4-1 majority opinion, Justice Max Baer wrote that the Superior Court was in error when, on Jan. 2, 2014, it reversed Lynn’s conviction on the basis that the monsignor did not directly supervise children.

An amendment in 2007 to the child-endangerment statue specifically included supervisory personnel as being susceptible to criminal culpability. The state Supreme Court decided that the amendment clarified — not expanded — the original amendment of 1995. Under this interpretation, Lynn’s convictions for acts that predate the 2007 amendment are constitutional.

Lynn has 14 days to decide if he wants to ask the Supreme Court to reconsider its ruling. He also could petition the United States Supreme Court for an appeal.

Community advocate to receive ‘6 over 60’ award

A longtime Philadelphia LGBT community advocate is being honored at the Senior Law Center’s upcoming gala.

David Fair will receive a “6 over 60” award at the May 14 event at the Crystal Tea Room along with five other honorees.

Fair founded several community organizations, including the Philadelphia Gay Cultural Festival and the Philadelphia Lesbian and Gay Task Force, in the 1970s and ’80s, as well as We The People Living with AIDS/HIV in the early ’90s.

Fair also led the creation of a $100-million network of community-based youth services aimed at preventing child abuse and neglect, including more than 200 programs targeting after-school activities, truancy prevention, family support and parenting education. He is currently the deputy CEO of Turning Points for Children.

For more information about “6 over 60” and the other honorees, visit

Mr. Philly Drag King 2015

Get ready to strut your stuff and show off your package.

The Mr. Philly Drag King competition returns next weekend for its 20th anniversary.

The annual fundraiser for the Philly Dyke March will take place 7-11 p.m. May 16 at the William Way LGBT Community Center, 1315 Spruce St. Tickets are $10 in advance, $5-$15 at the door and $20 for VIP reserved seats.

The event will feature performances by Liberty City Kings Drag & Burlesque, Mr. Philly Drag King 2014 Jimmy Two Fingas and more.

First-time and amateur drag kings are encouraged to apply. The application deadline is May 2. Similar to other pageants, there will be four competition categories: Runway, Performance, Q&A and Formal/Fantasy wear.

The winner will receive the title; the crown and tool belt of Mr. Philadelphia Drag King 2015; a sponsor goodie bag; performance opportunities with LiCK; a performance at Dyke March, Pride and Outfest; the title of Mr. Philly Gay Pride; and a ride in the Pride Day parade.

For more information, see

— Ryan Kasley

Settlement talks postpone cop trial

Settlement talks have delayed the upcoming workplace-bias trial of N. Melville Jones, an openly gay Philadelphia police officer.

Jones filed suit against the city in 2013, seeking in excess of $50,000 in damages.

The officer maintains that a supervisor outed him throughout the police department, triggering pervasive harassment and discrimination against him.

A jury trial was scheduled to begin 10 a.m. April 28 in Courtroom 243 of City Hall. But, due to settlement talks, the trial has been postponed until at least July, according to court records.

Neither side had a comment for this update.

Scouts assemblies protested at board meeting

Five members of the Freethought Society, a nontheist organization, attended an Octorara Area School District board meeting last week to protest Boy Scouts of America recruitment assemblies held in the district’s elementary school.

The school district is based in Atglen, Chester County.

FS members urged the school board to prohibit the assemblies, citing BSA membership policies that exclude LGBT adults and nontheist youths and adults.

But school-board members indicated that the assemblies would continue.

“We’re very disappointed that the school board will continue to allow a discriminatory organization to hold on-campus recruitment assemblies,” said FS director Margaret Downey. “We tried to appeal to board members’ sense of decency and fair play, to no avail. So now we’re considering other options. One thing is certain: We’re not going away.”

School-district officials couldn’t be reached for comment.

HIV lawsuit settled

A family of three that allegedly was denied services at a Pennsylvania health-care facility due to HIV/AIDS discrimination has settled its federal lawsuit against the facility.

In October 2013, an HIV-positive member of the family allegedly splattered blood in a restroom of Diamantoni & Associates Family Practice’s medical office in Quarryville. The family member denies splattering blood in the restroom, according to court records.

But the medical practice denied further services to the family on the basis of safety.

The AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania filed suit on behalf of the family last year.

The case was settled April 20 for an undisclosed amount of money for the family, along with the development of antibias policies and staff training at the health-care facility.

Ronda B. Goldfein, executive director of the law project, served as counsel for the plaintiffs.

“Blood on an inanimate surface can’t cause HIV infection,” Goldfein said. “The take-home message is that bodily fluids on any surface should be cleaned. I think that’s self-explanatory. But they don’t present an HIV-infection risk.”

Adrian M. Lowe served as co-counsel for the plaintiffs and added: “It’s important for health-care professionals, as well as the general public, to understand how HIV is transmitted, so they can respond based on science, not fear.”

A spokesperson for the health-care facility couldn’t be reached for comment.

— Timothy Cwiek

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