By Steve Tawa and Ileana Diaz
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Free on bail pending an appeal by the Philadelphia district attorney’s office, Monsignor William Lynn today walked out of the Criminal Justice Center to the delight of friends and relatives.
Lynn was greeted warmly by those friends and relatives before the hearing, which lasted just a few moments before Judge Teresa Sarmina, who reminded him that if he violated any condition of his release, back to prison he would go.
As he left the courthouse, Msgr. Lynn said nothing as he walked a gauntlet of reporters and photographers — along with a few hecklers.
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia is putting Lynn up at St. Williams Parish, in the Lawncrest section of the city, while he is on house arrest.
“This particular parish does not have a school — it’s a large rectory. He has access to two floors — that’s it,” says Thomas Bergstrom, Lynn’s attorney.
The bail requirements include requiring Lynn to wear an ankle bracelet for electronic monitoring, surrender his passport, remain within city boundaries, and report each week to a parole officer.
Archbishop Charles Chaput wrote a letter to parishioners last week saying the appeals court decision reversing his conviction was “not a matter of technicalities but of legal substance” (see related story).
But he also added that the Pennsylvania Superior Court ruling “does not vindicate Monsignor Lynn’s past decisions,” noting that he “remains on administrative leave, and may not function publicly as a priest.”
While it’s been known since the start of the trial that the Archdiocese of Philadelphia was paying for his defense, Chaput also acknowledged the church had paid for his bail — the funding of which, Chaput points out, “has been taken from no parish, school, or ministry resources, and will be returned when the terms of bail are completed.”
District Attorney Seth Williams is appealing the Superior Court’s decision and hoping to take this case before the Supreme Court.