Monsignor in child-sex-abuse case emerges from prison thinner

ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Monsignor William Lynn leaves the Criminal Justice Center yesterday in Center City. He served 18 months of a three- to six-year prison sentence.
ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Monsignor William Lynn leaves the Criminal Justice Center yesterday in Center City. He served 18 months of a three- to six-year prison sentence.
Posted: January 08, 2014

MONSIGNOR William Lynn left court yesterday afternoon swarmed by reporters and a few hecklers, the latter shouting "pedophile," saying he should "burn in hell" and telling him to stay away from their children.

Stern-faced and 80 pounds thinner than when he was sent to prison, Lynn, 63, ignored both the reporters and the hecklers as he and his supporters walked quickly across Filbert Street.

Lynn, accused of moving pedophile priests from parish to parish, was convicted in 2012 on one count of child endangerment. But last month the state Superior Court overturned that conviction, leading to his release last week.

By then, he had served 18 months of a three- to six-year prison sentence for his role in the city's clergy-child-abuse case.

District Attorney Seth Williams, who vowed to appeal, has criticized the Superior Court decision and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for paying Lynn's bail. Lynn was the Archdiocese secretary for clergy from 1992 to 2004.

During yesterday's brief hearing, Common Pleas Judge M. Teresa Sarmina explained to Lynn the requirements he must follow while on bail and living on house arrest.

Among them is that he must wear an electronic-monitoring device and report weekly to a house-arrest officer.

Sarmina warned that if he violated any bail terms, he would be re-arrested and jailed. To drive home the point, she said she had signed an arrest warrant in advance.

Lynn, dressed in clerical garb, told the judge he understood.

After the hearing, Lynn smiled broadly, hugged supporters and, when asked how he lost the weight, said, "I took care of myself and exercised."

His attorney, Thomas Bergstrom, said Lynn will live - but not work - at St. William Parish on Rising Sun Avenue in Lawncrest. The parish no longer has a school, he noted.

Bergstrom added that Lynn is neither a pedophile nor a threat to the community and therefore the Archdiocese was well within reason to pay the required 10 percent of his $250,000 bail.

Bergstrom also said he sent letters to the Pennsylvania Bar Association and the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania complaining about Williams' remarks.

"I think he was off-base; I think he was out of line. It's one thing to lose a case like he did on this decision - move forward. He's a lawyer, he knows what his rights are. He can appeal," Bergstrom said.

"But he shouldn't be out there denigrating the court and denigrating the Archdiocese for posting bail. It doesn't make any sense."

Last week, Williams told the Daily News: "There is no dispute that William Lynn endangered countless children by exposing them to known abusers. . . . The only dispute is that we believe that's a crime and the criminal deserves to be punished."

The Superior Court said it overturned Lynn's conviction because the child-endangerment law on the books when the offense occurred applied only to people who had direct supervision of children.


On Twitter: @MensahDean

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