Monsignor William Lynn is staying in jail.
A judge on Monday denied Lynn’s request to be freed on bail. Lynn is the first member of the nation’s Roman Catholic hierarchy to be convicted and sentenced to prison for shielding a pedophile priest.
Lynn has been behind bars at the Curran Fromhold Correctional Facility since he was found guilty on June 22 after a three-month trial. Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina later sentenced him to three to six years in prison. It was Sarmina who denied defense attorneys’ request to grant Lynn bail, pending his appeal.
The monsignor’s attorneys said they will appeal and have 30 days from Lynn’s July 23 sentence date to do so.
Lynn, once the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s secretary for clergy, was convicted of one count of child endangerment because he assigned a priest he believed to be a pedophile to live in the St. Jerome parish in the Northeast, where he subsequently molested a 10-year-old altar boy.
That priest, Edward Avery, was to be tried with Lynn and the Rev. James Brennan, but in March he pleaded guilty to sexual abuse charges. Avery, who is defrocked, was sentenced to two and a half to five years imprisonment.
Before the trial began on March 26, Lynn’s attorneys maintained the monsignor couldn’t be charged with child endangerment because he didn’t directly supervise children, and during the trial, they said Lynn never had the power to reassign priests, so he couldn’t be held accountable for Avery’s criminal acts.
One of the monsignor’s attorneys, Alan Tauber, on Monday said part of Lynn’s appeal will be based on the defense claim that Pennsylvania’s child endangerment law was incorrectly applied to Lynn.
Also, Tauber said, 80 percent to 90 percent of what the prosecution presented during the lengthy trial had nothing directly to do with the charges against Lynn. Twenty cases were presented during the trial, Tauber said, that showed how the archdiocese handled child molestations allegations against priests before the monsignor was appointed to the position in which he investigated those complaints.
“All those prior cases made it unbelievably hard for Monsignor Lynn to get a fair trial,” Tauber said.
“It was to show the way the archdiocese did business and that Lynn followed suit, which was not accurate,” Tauber said.
Also, another reason for an appeal is that defense attorneys believe Sarmina improperly instructed jurors on the state’s child endangerment law, Tauber said.
Tauber and Jeff Lindy are just two of the lawyers the archdiocese paid to represent Lynn. Going forward, though, the monsignor will be represented only by Thomas Bergstrom and his firm, Buchanon Ingersoll, Tauber said.
In a news release, the archdiocese stated:
“Monsignor Lynn’s counsel is strongly convinced that there were many errors at trial and the sentence is disproportionate to other punishments meted out to administrators for this same charge. This strong belief and care for Msgr. Lynn and his family has resulted in Monsignor Lynn’s primary counsel, Tom Bergstrom, deciding to complete the appeal for Monsignor Lynn largely on a pro bono basis. “
On Tuesday, Lindy said it is possible he might again represent Lynn some time in the future, but said his two-person firm couldn’t handle Lynn’s appeal pro bono.
Lindy said he began representing Lynn in 2004, after he already had testified several times before a grand jury investigating sexual abuse by Catholic clergy. It was Lindy, the attorney said, who advised Lynn to stop testifying and invoke his Fifth Amendment rights.In June, jurors were unable to make a decision on attempted rape and child endangerment charges against Brennan. Prosecutors have announced they will retry him. A trial date will be decided Aug. 14. ••EndFragment