By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A judge has ruled a Philadelphia Monsignor convicted of child endangerment must stay behind bars. When sentenced later this month, he faces 3 1/2 to seven years in prison.
When a sheriff’s deputy escorted Monsignor William Lynn from the holding area to open court, wearing his black clerical shirt, minus the collar, some of his relatives in the courtroom were visibly shaken, and started weeping.
Judge Teresa Sarmina, who entertained the defense motion for house arrest, denied it, saying she was concerned that he could flee the Commonwealth and hide out at the Vatican.
Defense lawyer Thomas Bergstrom said that was not even a remote possibility. He believes the Monsignor was being treated unfairly, because he’s the highest-ranking U.S. church official ever charged for his handling of abuse complaints.
“He’s paying the price for that, even though, in my view, he deserves to be released on bail, pending appeal,” Bergstrom said.
The judge did agree to move sentencing up from mid-August to July 24th. Defense lawyer Jeffrey Lindy says that’s when they will appeal to Superior Court, contending the endangerment charge against the Monsignor was legally flawed.
‘”It’s an issue that stems from the indictment; what we’re saying is that the indictment was improper,” Lindy explained.
The jury was deadlocked on charges against Lynn’s co-defendant, Father James Brennan. The district attorney’s office will decide whether to refile charges.