By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Monsignor William Lynn, a onetime senior official in the Philadelphia Catholic archdiocese, is going back to prison now that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has reinstated his 2012 child endangerment conviction.
When Lynn — the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s secretary for clergy from 1992 to 2004 — was convicted in 2012, he went to prison. But when Pennsylvania Superior Court reversed his conviction, Judge Teresa Sarmina, who heard the 13-week trial, released him on bail in early 2014.
Now that the state Supreme Court this week reversed that Superior Court ruling, assistant DA Patrick Blessington argued said Lynn, 64, should be returned to prison.
Blessington quoted what the judge wrote in her sentencing memorandum in 2012, that Lynn “facilitated and supported monsters in clerical garb who destroyed the souls of children.”
The judge agreed, and called for a sheriff’s deputy to take Lynn away.
Lynn had been on house arrest, living in the rectory of a parish in Northeast Philadelphia.
When the state Supreme Court reversed a key element of the Superior Court decision, it ruled that Lynn, as a supervisor, could be held responsible for the welfare of children in the archdiocese.
Defense attorney Thomas Bergstorm argued unsuccessfully that the high court only remanded the rest of the appelate issues to Superior Court, so Lynn should remain on house arrest, where he’s been for the last sixteen months, after about 1½ years in prison.
Bergstrom says that Superior Court, not Judge Sarmina, should have taken up the bail issue since Superior Court will be deciding other legal and factual appellate issues.
“The (Pennsylvania) Supreme Court made a very, very narrow finding — whether or not he’s a supervisor,” Bergstrom says. “She’s missed the point, and some of the press have missed the point. His conviction has not been affirmed.”
Bergstrom says Lynn’s status is that of “an unsentenced, unconvicted person.” He is filing an emergency petition to allow Lynn get out of jail pending further appeals.