Northeast Times

Monsignor Lynn no longer in custody

Monsignor Wil­li­am Lynn, locked up since his his­tor­ic June 2012 child en­dan­ger­ment con­vic­tion, is no longer in cus­tody.

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, and was re­leased from cus­tody this morn­ing.

The monsignor is as free as he is go­ing to be un­der the con­di­tions of his bail, his at­tor­ney, Thomas Bergstrom, said this morn­ing.

He will have to re­main at a res­id­ence in Phil­adelphia.

“He’s got to stay put,” Bergstrom said. The at­tor­ney said that, for reas­ons of Lynn’s per­son­al se­cur­ity, he couldn’t say with whom the monsignor will reside or even in what part of the city he’ll be liv­ing.

Lynn was kept in Cur­ran-From­hold Cor­rec­tion­al Fa­cil­ity on State Road to be fit­ted by an elec­tron­ic mon­it­or­ing device and meet with a pro­ba­tion of­ficer, she said Thursday.

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.

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.

Now that the monsignor is out of pris­on, will he 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,” said arch­dioces­an spokes­man Ken Gav­in. “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. Bergstrom said the judge will go over the con­di­tions of Lynn’s bail with him in what is likely to be a very short hear­ing.

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.

Bergstrom today called Wil­li­ams’ re­marks un­pro­fes­sion­al and in­tends to file a Bar As­so­ci­ation com­plaint against him.

“I think it’s just out­rageous,” 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. ••

 

You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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