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. ••