By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Msgr. William Lynn, the highest ranking Roman Catholic Church official convicted in a priest abuse case is a free man again, for now.
A Philadelphia judge has granted him bail, after a second reversal of his original conviction by Superior Court, backed up by the State Supreme Court.
Msgr. Lynn, the former secretary for clergy for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has served about 33-months of a 3-to-6-year sentence. He was already set to be released on bail in three months.
The Philadelphia District Attorney’s office asked that sheriff’s deputies transport him back from Waymart prison, in northeastern Pennsylvania, but Judge Gwendolyn Bright denied that motion, and allowed Lynn’s family to fetch him, instead.
He will stay with family in Reading.
Defense lawyer Thomas Bergstrom is critical of Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, who has decided to retry the 65-year-old Lynn.
“We all understand that Lynn never touched a kid, and that Superior Court has overturned the conviction twice, yet in the face of all that, he wants to retry it.”
Tawa: ‘And if he’s convicted again…’
“I supposed, he could be re-sentenced and do two more months, at worst.”
Lynn was convicted in 2012 of a single count of endangering the welfare of a child – not for molesting children – but for reassigning priests who sexually abused children to new parishes.
The State Supreme Court announced last week it would not review Superior Court’s second reversal of Lynn’s conviction. If he is retried, prosecutors will be limited in the number of witnesses they could call that detailed in the original trial how the Roman Catholic church covered up decades of allegations of sexual abuse of children.
Superior Court ruled the historical cases tainted the original jury’s ability to reach a fair verdict.