Judge is told to file opinion in appeal of priest sex-abuse trial

Pennsylvania’s Su­per­i­or Court on Tues­day ordered Com­mon Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina to file an opin­ion of the ap­peal of a priest’s child en­dan­ger­ment con­vic­tion that res­ul­ted from last year’s his­tory-mak­ing sex-ab­use tri­al.

Law­yers for Monsignor Wil­li­am Lynn ap­pealed his June 22 con­vic­tion to Su­per­i­or Court, but needed Sarmina to file her opin­ion of that ap­peal with the high­er court for it to pro­ceed, said Lynn’s at­tor­ney, Thomas Bergstrom.

On Jan. 14, Lynn’s law­yers asked Su­per­i­or Court to or­der Sarmina to file that opin­ion. The high­er court’s or­der stated that Sarmina’s opin­ion was due Oct. 9, 2012, and she should file it “forth­with.”

Al­though Lynn was nev­er ac­cused of mo­lest­ing any minors, he be­came the fo­cus of the arch­dioces­an sex-ab­use scan­dal when he was charged with en­dan­ger­ing chil­dren. He was the first mem­ber of the Ro­man Cath­ol­ic Church’s Amer­ic­an hier­archy to be so charged. Pro­sec­utors said Lynn had al­lowed priests he knew to be mo­lesters to re­main in min­is­tries in which they would have ac­cess to chil­dren.

Lynn went on tri­al be­fore Sarmina in March 2012 along with the Rev. James Bren­nan, who had been ac­cused of mo­lest­ing a Bucks County teen. After a two-month tri­al and a month of de­lib­er­a­tions, the jury was dead­locked on charges against Bren­nan. On June, 22, the pan­el ac­quit­ted Lynn of one en­dan­ger­ment count and of con­spir­acy, but con­victed him of an­oth­er en­dan­ger­ment count.

Sarmina sub­sequently sen­tenced the monsignor to three to six years im­pris­on­ment. ••

You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

comments powered by Disqus