Judge: Lynn will await appeal in jail


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 

You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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