Msgr. Lynn’s lawyers will ask that he be let out of jail pending sentencing

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philly.com

Posted: Tue, Jun. 26, 2012, 3:01 AM

By Joseph A. Slobodzian

Inquirer Staff Writer

For the last four nights, William J. Lynn has been known as No. 1102886 – one of 2,883 men living at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility, the largest of the city’s prisons, in Northeast Philadelphia.

On Tuesday, Lynn’s lawyers hope they can persuade a Philadelphia judge to grant Lynn bail, allowing him to resume his role as a monsignor of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and, at least temporarily, live at a relative’s home instead of solitary confinement.

Lynn, 61, was found guilty Friday by a Common Pleas Court jury of a count of child endangerment, the first Catholic Church official criminally charged for his administrative duties as part of the ongoing sex-abuse scandal.

From 1992 to 2004, Lynn was archdiocesan secretary for clergy, responsible for investigating allegations of sexual abuse against priests.

As with many criminal defendants found guilty at trial, Lynn was ordered into custody immediately by Judge M. Teresa Sarmina until he is sentenced on Aug. 13.

Sarmina granted the motion by Assistant District Attorney Patrick Blessington, the lead prosecutor during the 11-week trial, that Lynn’s bail be revoked.

“Treat him like the criminal he now is,” Blessington argued after the verdict. “This is a case that is going to call for a lengthy jail sentence. Let’s start it today. Today, to jail. That’s justice.”

Lynn’s attorneys objected to putting the cleric behind bars pending sentencing. Lynn has been living with relatives in Reading since being suspended last year from his post as pastor of St. Joseph in Downingtown and has attended every court hearing for more than a year.

Defense attorney Jeffrey M. Lindy called Sarmina’s decision disproportionately unfair and legally flawed. Sarmina said Friday that she would consider a defense proposal for Lynn to spend his time until Aug. 13 on house arrest in the home of a relative in Philadelphia.

Sarmina had set the hearing for Monday but then postponed it until Tuesday.

Blessington has said he would seek the maximum seven-year prison term for Lynn based on the jury’s verdict.

The jury in the landmark trial deliberated 121/2 days before returning its guilty verdict. The jury acquitted Lynn of another endangerment count and a charge of conspiracy.

The jury deadlocked on two counts against Lynn’s codefendant, the Rev. James J. Brennan, 48. The District Attorney’s Office has not decided if it will retry Brennan, who was accused of attempted rape and child endangerment involving a 14-year-old in 1996.

In addition to the possible retrial of Brennan, the church still faces the publicity and financial consequences of Lynn’s appeals as well a potential civil litigation from victims of priests.

Last week, in his introduction to the archdiocesan budget, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput wrote that the trial’s extraordinary legal expenses of $11.6 million “are being funded through cash and investment reserves, cash proceeds generated from the sale of excess real estate holdings or other assets owned by the archdiocese itself.”

Chaput said the legal costs were in addition to the $17 million deficit that last week resulted in the layoffs of 45 employees at archdiocesan headquarters and the closing of the 117-year-old newspaper the Catholic Standard and Times.

7 Responses to Msgr. Lynn’s lawyers will ask that he be let out of jail pending sentencing

  1. Sylvia says:

    “…in his introduction to the archdiocesan budget, Archbishop Charles J.
    Chaput wrote that the trial’s extraordinary legal expenses of $11.6
    million ‘are being funded through cash and investment reserves, cash
    proceeds generated from the sale of excess real estate holdings or other
    assets owned by the archdiocese itself.’”

     A previous article made mention of “$10 million in legal and investigatory expenses over the past several months.” I wasn’t certain that that $10M was all for the trial.  Now we learn that $11.6M has been expended on the trial. 

    $11.6M!

    And the figure is still mounting.  There are legal costs associated with the sentencing hearing, and legal costs associated with trying to get Monsingor Lynn out on bail pending sentencing. 

    IF there is a decision to appeal there will be big costs there, and even right now the legal team’s pockets are probably being lined as they  ponder if they have or can create grounds to appeal, and what are their chances of success if they do try that route.

    And then there is Father Brennan and the deadlock on those sex abuse charges.  Will Brennan be ordered back to trial?  I hope so. IF that happens, the legal bills will soar again.

    A LOT of money!

  2. PJ says:

    Bleed them dry I say…serves them right for covering up all the abuses for all this time.

  3. Sylvia says:

    I’d far rather it go to victims than Church defence lawyers PJ. This $11.6M was all to defend an accused clerical molester (Brennan) and a monsignor convicted of endangering children (Lynn). 

  4. PJ says:

    What I mean is that the more they spend defending the undefendables, they might realize it would be better to oust the predators without huge defense costs and provide greater support for the victims. Since that church worships and values the almighty dollar more than anything, bleeding them dry (via the court system) may be the only way to force them to see reality. The reality is that the victims have had enough and are fighting mad.

  5. Sylvia says:

    I understand where you’re coming from PJ.

  6. MikeMc says:

    Wow  11 million! And many of  the schools are all suffering closures and setbacks financially. Catholic teachers are  under  paid in Pennsylvania./Phily.

    It’s quite a mess.

    Bishop Chaput…….it’s time to announce bankruptcy!
     
    This is what is going to happen anyways.  The Catholic people are finally going to see the light on this trial and realize the problem and its Bishops are to blame as well as abusive priests.

    In addition to the possible retrial of Brennan, the church still faces the publicity and financial consequences of Lynn’s appeals as well a potential civil litigation from victims of priests.

    So let’s say 100 million is sure to amount over the coming few years! How will the church survive financially? I can only imagine some pretty smooth talking from the pulpits. But really, as Fr Murphy said, it’s time to shut up. It’s time to admit the problem and “go and sell all you own and come follow me” says the Lord.

    If Mons Lynn stayed in jail, wouldn’t his time be lessened? Why release him on bail? I say this, although I feel sorry for him. There should be others right there with him serving time to contemplate their roles in this sad state of affairs.  When the Pope comes to visit here in 2015, will he visit Lynn as well? I certainly hope so.

    I personally believe there will be more trials as laws will have to change to clean up and convict those of the past.

    Sad to say, all this money is going into the hands of lawyers etc and not the victims.

     

  7. Mike says:

    P.J. and Mike Mc.;
         Couldn’t agree with you enough! “Fighting mad” would be an understatement for me.
         They can come up with 11 million dollars defending a disordered, lying priest, but to hell with their victims!     
         I am curious if anyone would know how much Borne and Prince et. al. have cost Pembroke.     Mike.

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