Archdiocese admits to paying all of Lynn's bail

Posted: January 05, 2014

THE ARCHDIOCESE of Philadelphia for the first time yesterday confirmed that it paid the $25,000 needed to bail out Monsignor William Lynn so that he could be released from state prison while prosecutors appeal his recently overturned conviction for child endangerment.

In a statement yesterday, Archbishop Charles Chaput said the decision to provide the $25,000, or 10 percent of Lynn's $250,000 bail, was made at "my direction."

"Monsignor Lynn remains on administrative leave," Chaput said. "As such, he may not function publicly as a priest."

Chaput also explained that the "funding for [Lynn's] bail has been taken from no parish, school or ministry resources, impacts no ongoing work of the church and will be returned when the terms of bail are completed."

The letter comes three days after the Archdiocese paid Lynn's bail, and follows comments made by District Attorney Seth Williams, who said during a Tuesday news conference that he found it "disgusting that would pay to free this man." Williams also said he was "shocked and overwhelmed" that the Archdiocese has closed churches and schools, but nonetheless had money for Lynn.

Lynn, who turns 63 tomorrow, was released from state prison in northeastern Pennsylvania on Thursday after serving 18 months behind bars. He was taken to the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility on State Road so he could be fitted with an electronic-monitoring device. He was released from the city prison yesterday morning, prisons spokeswoman Shawn Hawes said.

Lynn's attorney, Thomas Bergstrom, has said Lynn will live in Philadelphia while on bail.

On Monday, Lynn is to appear before Common Pleas Judge M. Teresa Sarmina for a status hearing so she can review her bail conditions with him face-to-face, Bergstrom confirmed yesterday.

On Dec. 26, a three-judge panel of the Pennsylvania Superior Court unanimously overturned Lynn's conviction on a count of felony child endangerment, finding that the child-endangerment law in effect while Lynn served as the secretary for clergy from 1992 to 2004 applied only to parents and guardians of children.

Prosecutors are appealing the ruling to the state Supreme Court.

In July 2012, Sarmina had sentenced Lynn to three to six years in prison after a jury found that Lynn had moved a pedophile priest from parish to parish.

One father whose son was allegedly sexually abused by two clerics maintained his monthly vigil outside the Archdiocese's headquarters yesterday afternoon despite the freezing, 16-degree chill.

Arthur Baselice Jr., 65, stood alone on 17th Street near Race, hatless, but dressed in a green coat, jeans and boots. He drove into the city from his home in Gloucester County despite the snowfall and blustering winds.

"They treat me like I got leprosy," Baselice said of the higher-ups at the Archdiocese. The Archdiocese's doors were closed yesterday, so Baselice left earlier than his normal one-hour vigil.

His son, Arthur Baselice III, died in 2006 at age 28 of a drug overdose. Baselice Jr. has blamed Charles Newman, the Franciscan friar and former president of Archbishop Ryan High School, along with another Franciscan friar who also worked at Ryan, for his son's death and for sexually abusing his son when he attended Ryan.

Authorities contended that the abuse by Newman continued for years after Baselice III graduated in 1996, and that Newman got him hooked on drugs and gave him thousands of dollars in hush money.

Newman, 63, did not face any sexual-abuse charges because of the statute of limitations. He was convicted of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the school and his religious order. He was sentenced in May 2009 to three to six years in state prison, followed by 10 years' probation. Last month, he was paroled to a halfway house on Southampton Road in the Far Northeast.

Of Lynn's case, Baselice said it troubles him that Lynn "knowingly, willingly and intentionally placed" pedophile priests in different parishes. He said he hopes the state "Supreme Court applies a liberal application of the law and reaffirms his conviction."


On Twitter: @julieshawphilly

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