Northeast Times

Lynn lawyer requests denial of DA’s appeal

The law­yer for a Cath­ol­ic cler­ic whose his­tor­ic 2012 child-en­dan­ger­ment con­vic­tion was re­versed late last year asked the state Su­preme Court on Monday to deny the Dis­trict At­tor­ney’s ap­peal of that re­versal.

In pa­pers filed Monday, Monsignor Wil­li­am Lynn’s at­tor­ney, Thomas Bergstrom, told the high court that Su­per­i­or Court’s re­versal of the priest’s con­vic­tion was “well-reasoned, cor­rect, and con­sist­ent with long-stand­ing pre­ced­ent in that court.” In the same fil­ing, Bergstrom labeled as “dis­hon­est” and “hys­ter­ic­al” the ap­peal pe­ti­tion filed last month by Dis­trict At­tor­ney Seth Wil­li­ams’s of­fice.

In June 2012, Lynn be­came the highest-placed U.S. Cath­ol­ic ad­min­is­trat­or con­victed in the Church’s sex scan­dal that began in 2002. 

The monsignor was ac­cused of en­dan­ger­ing chil­dren by shield­ing a priest who had mo­les­ted minors, mak­ing it pos­sible for him to later sexu­ally ab­use a minor in the North­east’s St. Jerome’s par­ish in the late 1990s.. Su­per­i­or Court judges said the state’s child en­dan­ger­ment stat­ute didn’t ap­ply to Lynn, who had no dir­ect su­per­vis­ory role over chil­dren, which is what the monsignor’s law­yers had main­tained since his early 2011 ar­rest.

In the DA’s pe­ti­tion to ap­peal the re­versal, it was stated the Su­per­i­or Court had dis­reg­arded leg­al pre­ced­ents and had changed words in the en­dan­ger­ment stat­ute.  

In Monday’s re­sponse, Bergstrom said Su­per­i­or Court had made its de­cision on a very nar­row is­sue of the state’s child en­dan­ger­ment law and that the DA’s of­fice was at­tempt­ing to ex­pand the case and is mak­ing “a dis­hon­est at­tempt to de­flect this court’s at­ten­tion from the nar­row is­sue ac­tu­ally be­fore it by shroud­ing the nar­row is­sue in a cloak of hys­teria and emo­tions.” 

As­sist­ant Dis­trict At­tor­ney Hugh Burns yes­ter­day said Lynn’s re­sponse was  an at­tempt to dis­tort the is­sue and make it look like the DA’s of­fice was try­ing to trick the high court.

He said the re­sponse’s word­ing was un­usu­al. Usu­ally, law­yers ap­peal to reas­on, he said. “That’s what ap­pel­late judges like.” ••

You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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