Lynn expected to be released today

Monsignor Wil­li­am Lynn, in cus­tody since his his­tor­ic June 2012 child en­dan­ger­ment con­vic­tion, is ex­pec­ted to be a free man some­time this morn­ing.

But the monsignor’s free­dom has con­di­tions.

While the Phil­adelphia Dis­trict At­tor­ney’s of­fice is ap­peal­ing the Dec. 26 Su­per­i­or Court re­versal of Lynn’s land­mark con­vic­tion, the monsignor must weekly re­port to the courts in Phil­adelphia, he must reside in the city and he must wear an elec­tron­ic mon­it­or­ing device.

Lynn, the first mem­ber of the Ro­man Cath­ol­ic Church’s U.S. hier­archy con­victed of shield­ing a child-mo­lest­ing priest, was re­leased from Way­mart Cof­fec­tion­al in North­east­ern Pennsylvania Thursday morn­ing. He ar­rived at the Phil­adelphia pris­ons by noon yes­ter­day, ac­cord­ing to pris­ons spokes­wo­man Shawn Hawes.

Lynn was kept there while he was fit­ted by an elec­tron­ic mon­it­or­ing device and met with a pro­ba­tion of­ficer, she said. Both Hawes and Lynn’s at­tor­ney, Thomas Bergstrom, last night told the North­east Times they ex­pec­ted the monsignor to be re­leased today.

On Tues­day, the Arch­diocese of Phil­adelphia put up the $25,000 needed to cov­er the re­quired 10 per­cent of the $250,000 bail set Dec. 30 by Com­mon Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina.

The same judge had presided over Lynn’s three-month tri­al in 2012 and had sen­tenced him to three to six years im­pris­on­ment after the monsignor was found guilty of en­dan­ger­ing chil­dren for keep­ing a priest Lynn knew was a child mo­lester in act­ive min­istry.

Where in Phil­adelphia Lynn will reside once he is out of cus­tody was not known by the arch­diocese, spokes­man Ken Gav­in told the pa­per.

“If as­sist­ance in that re­gard is needed, the arch­diocese would work to provide it,” Gav­in stated in an email to the pa­per.

Will the monsignor get a church as­sign­ment?

“He has been on ad­min­is­trat­ive leave since March of 2011 and will re­main so at this time as there is still a pending leg­al pro­cess,” Gav­in stated. “It is far too early to  com­ment with any au­thor­ity about a pos­sible re­turn to act­ive min­istry giv­en those cir­cum­stances.”

Ac­cord­ing to court re­cords, the monsignor was sched­uled for a 9 a.m. Monday hear­ing be­fore Com­mon Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina.

That Phil­adelphia’s Ro­man Cath­ol­ic Arch­diocese pos­ted Lynn’s bail out­raged Dis­trict At­tor­ney Seth Wil­li­ams, who learned of the pay­ment New Year’s Eve.

Wil­li­ams’ spokes­wo­man, Tasha Jamer­son, said Bergstrom stated on the re­cord that the arch­diocese would be pay­ing the bail.

“I am shocked and dis­mayed that the Arch­diocese has made it pos­sible for Wil­li­am Lynn to get out of jail,” the DA said in a state­ment re­leased Dec. 31. “This is a man who was ba­sic­ally an ac­com­plice to seri­al pe­do­philes by look­ing the oth­er way while they tor­men­ted in­no­cent chil­dren for years. The church has sent a hor­rible mes­sage today to all sexu­al ab­use vic­tims that their pain doesn’t mat­ter. And this ac­tion shows that things haven’t changed and it’s busi­ness as usu­al at the Arch­diocese of Phil­adelphia.”

Wil­li­ams has vowed to ap­peal what he called the Su­per­i­or Court’s “puzz­ling” rul­ing.

“This of­fice will do whatever we can to make sure this de­cision does not stand,” he said.

Al­though Lynn’s case was a res­ult of a Phil­adelphia grand jury in­vest­ig­a­tion of sexu­al ab­use of minors by Cath­ol­ic clergy, the monsignor nev­er was ac­cused of mo­lest­ing a child. Rather, pro­sec­utors had main­tained that the monsignor nev­er re­por­ted child-ab­use al­leg­a­tions to au­thor­it­ies and that he put chil­dren at risk by al­low­ing priests he knew to be mo­lesters to con­tin­ue in roles that would bring them in con­tact with minors. ••

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