Bail hearing set for church cleric
PHILADELPHIA -- Lawyers for a Roman Catholic church official will demand his immediate release from prison Monday after an appeals court overturned his conviction in a novel priest-abuse case aimed squarely at the church hierarchy in Philadelphia.
Monsignor William Lynn, 62, is the first Catholic official ever prosecuted over his handling of priest sex-abuse complaints. He has served 18 months of the 3- to 6-year sentence handed down by a judge who said he helped predators remain in ministry, endangering new victims.
But the Superior Court threw out the conviction Thursday, ruling that the state's child-endangerment law did not apply in the late 1990s to supervisors like Monsignor Lynn. The Superior Court said the case never should have been filed.
Prosecutors on Monday will seek to keep Monsignor Lynn, the former clergy secretary for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, in prison while they appeal the Superior Court's ruling.
The defense has long argued that Monsignor Lynn was charged retroactively under a 2007 law that broadened the scope of the child-endangerment law to include those who supervise predators.
Man pleads guilty to terror
LOS ANGELES -- A California man who used the Internet and Facebook to connect with al-Quaida pleaded guilty Friday to a federal terrorism charge after admitting he attempted to assist al-Qaida by providing weapons training, the U.S. attorney's office said.
Sinh Vinh Ngo Nguyen, 24, of Garden Grove unexpectedly entered the plea before U.S. District Court Judge John F. Walter, who scheduled sentencing for March 21, prosecutors said in a statement. Mr. Nguyen faces a maximum of 15 years in federal prison.
Mr. Nguyen had confessed to federal agents after he was unmasked by an undercover FBI agent posing as a recruiter for the terrorist group.
Military sexual assaults rise
WASHINGTON -- The number of reported sexual assaults across the military shot up by more than 50 percen this year, an increase that defense officials say may suggest that victims are becoming more willing to come forward after a tumultuous year of scandals shined a spotlight on the crimes and put pressure on the military to take aggressive action.
According to early data obtained by The Associated Press, there were more than 5,000 reports of sexual assault filed during the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, compared to the 3,374 in 2012. Of those 2013 reports, about 10 percent involved incidents that occurred before the victim got into the military, up from just 4 percent only a year ago. That increase, officials said, suggests that confidence in the system is growing and that victims are more willing to come forward.
Obama backs new jobless aid
HONOLULU -- President Barack Obama has told two senators proposing to extend expiring federal unemployment benefits that he plans to push Congress to do it quickly.
More than 1 million Americans will lose benefits today because Congress didn't extend them. Republican Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada and Democratic Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island have proposed extending the benefits for three months..
McDonald's removes website
CHICAGO -- McDonald's, under pressure to increase pay for its workers, is removing a resources website for employees, after critics pummeled the burger maker for such tips as breaking food into small pieces to feel more full.
The McResource website, which had information for McDonald's workers about health and wellness, as well as child and senior care, was created by an independent third party.