“Judge orders Msgr. Lynn back to prison” & related article

Share Button


Last updated: Friday, May 1, 2015, 1:08 AM
Posted: Thursday, April 30, 2015, 10:11 AM

Monsignor William J. Lynn leaves the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia on Jan. 6. ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / Staff Photographer

Msgr. William J. Lynn, the first Catholic Church official convicted in the clergy sex-abuse scandal, returned to prison Thursday after a Philadelphia judge ordered him to resume his sentence for child endangerment.

Lynn, 64, was taken to the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility, about four miles across Northeast Philadelphia from the rectory of St. William parish in Crescentville, where he had lived on house arrest since January 2014.

Lynn’s lawyer, Thomas A. Bergstrom, said he would challenge Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina’s ruling. Sarmina in July 2012 sentenced Lynn to three to six years for his conviction on charges of endangering the welfare of children.

Lynn is expected to shortly be transferred to the state prison at Waymart, in northeastern Pennsylvania, where he spent almost 18 months until he was released on house arrest when Superior Court reversed his conviction. On Monday, the state Supreme Court reinstated Lynn’s guilty verdict, and at a hearing Thursday morning at the Criminal Justice Center, Lynn seemed resigned to what was going to happen.

Lynn turned to Bergstrom with a half-smile and a shrug before he was taken into custody by sheriff’s deputies.

Bergstrom argued that Lynn should be permitted to stay at St. William under house arrest while he pursues further appeals. Bergstrom said Lynn had lived up to every provision of house arrest, and a probation officer lauded Lynn’s conduct.

Sarmina, however, agreed with Assistant District Attorney Patrick Blessington that now that the state’s highest court has ruled, Lynn should be in prison.

“Well, I think things are back where they were when I sentenced Msgr. Lynn,” Sarmina said. “The same reasons I stated then exist.”

“Somebody call for a sheriff,” the judge added before leaving the bench.

Lynn was convicted and sentenced after a landmark 13-week trial in 2012 over his role supervising priests accused of sexually abusing children.

As the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s secretary for clergy from 1992 to 2004, Lynn was responsible for investigating sexual-abuse complaints made against priests and recommending punishment to the archbishop.

The jury found that Lynn allowed Rev. Edward V. Avery, who had a history of sexually abusing children, to live in a Northeast Philadelphia rectory, where he later assaulted a 10-year-old altar boy. Avery pleaded guilty in the 1999 attack and is serving five years in prison.

Lynn argued in his appeal that he could not be convicted for his supervisory role because the state child-endangerment statute was not amended to include supervisors until 2007 – three years after he left as clergy secretary.


215-854-2985 @joeslobo


Philadelphia Catholic monsignor ordered back to prison in child sex abuse case

MSN News

30 April 2015

David DeKok  Reuters

A high-ranking Catholic church official in Philadelphia was ordered back to prison on Thursday following the reinstatement of his conviction for turning a blind eye to child sex abuse by pedophile priests.

Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Teresa Sarmina revoked bail for Monsignor William Lynn, 64, and ordered him back behind bars.

Sarmina, who presided over his criminal trial, had sentenced Lynn in 2012 to three to six years in prison for endangering the welfare of children.

One of the highest-ranking clergyman convicted in the U.S. Roman Catholic Church child sex abuse scandal, Lynn is the first church official sent to prison for mishandling sexual misconduct complaints against priests.

Lynn, former secretary of the clergy for the Philadelphia Archdiocese who oversaw the work of 800 priests, was convicted of failing to supervise a pedophile priest who eventually sexually assaulted a 10-year-old altar boy in 1999. He was found guilty of covering up sex abuse, often by transferring predatory priests to unsuspecting parishes.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court this week reinstated Lynn’s conviction, which had been overturned by a mid-level state appellate court. The appellate court had freed him in 2013 after serving about 18 months, and he has been under house arrest while wearing an electronic monitoring bracelet since then.

The Supreme Court found Lynn legally responsible for the “welfare of children” even though he did not directly supervise children but rather supervised priests in direct contact with children.

Lynn’s attorney, Thomas Bergstrom, told Reuters he would seek to have Lynn’s bail restored.

“I’m going to file an emergency petition with the Superior Court,’ Bergstrom said, referring to the mid-level appellate court.

(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Will Dunham)

9 Responses to “Judge orders Msgr. Lynn back to prison” & related article

  1. Mike Mc says:


    This priest, Msgr Lynn received 5 years! For molesting or sexual abuse???? No. He received 5 years for allowing another priest to go “unchecked” and the result was this priest that should have been defrocked molested a child. Wow!
    If this is the case, should not some Bishops and Cardinals be sent to prison too?
    And, if Lynn received 5 years and never touched a child, should not molestors be given “at least” 5 years as well?… (instead of 28 days in a case seen here on this excellent site).
    And what about those Brothers of the Christian schools etc…..should they not also be found GUILTY???
    And all those in Australia?????
    And on and on and on….

    I think this story about Msgr Lynn should be up front and center!

    • Sylvia says:

      We actually followed Monsignor Lynn’s ground-breaking trial very closely. And, yes, indeed, first the charges and then the trial were groundbreaking.

      Monsignor Lynn was charged in the States. It took a long time to reach the point that such charges were laid. And of course Bishop Finn was also charged and convicted (though no jail time for him)

      We can only hope and pray that the day comes – and that in the not too distant future – when Canadian clergy who have similarly placed children and at risk are charged. I think the grounds are there in some cases, – there must also be the will (by police to lay the charges and Crowns to prosecute).

      As for the five years, – don’t forget that Msgr. Lynn was charged and convicted in the States. American judges tend to hand out stiffer sentences to sexual predators than do our Canada judges. There are signs that things may be changing here, but ever so slowly.

      Re the Brothers of Christian Instruction – geography is a huge problem there, ie, a Canadian sexually abuses an American child on Japanese soil. There was legislation passed in Canada last year which I think will from hereon allow charges to be laid, but unfortunately it’s not retroactive.

      I think the bottom line is that the day must come when the judiciary in all countries treats child sex abuse as the abhorrent crime that it is, and to reach that day people need to speak up and demand better from authorities and more for our children.

  2. Mike Mc says:

    It’s pretty simple to me. 1- The law has to incarcerate these sexual offenders. The Church has to defrock these priests.

    2- The law has to deal jail sentences to those who hide and help out abusing priests.
    The Church has to severely punish/discipline Cardinals and Bishops who allow this to happen, especially today.

  3. Mike Mc says:

    Oh, and one more very important thing. How easily the statements above forgot this crucial item.
    That is….. :

    The Church has to pay “BIG time” monies to victims so they can get psychological, physical, moral, financial help. (And yes, it wouldn’t hurt to beg forgiveness from them as well……even years later. And if the abused want this done publicly and openly, then it should be. The laity has to see what its Church’s priests/religious have done)

    I personally am sick and tired of the cover-ups for the sake of “Mother Church”. The Church, —and remember, this is “my Church” too!!! —- is an unholy Church with unholy priests. The chain is only as strong as its weakest link, so to speak.
    I know just as many good priests are as shocked as I am. But it’s time for the clergy to clean up its act.

    Don’t you?

  4. Mike Mc says:

    I have just read the many page document at the “Bishop Accountability” report at your links of interest section.
    A whole court article explains itself to the reason why Msgr Lynn was accused, tried, and convicted. [J-97-2014]

    Well, I have never fully read one before, but this one I painfully did.

    Wow….I can see why he was convicted and why he is still in prison today.

    Really……I kind of gave him the benefit of the doubt….that is….that he was a pawn of Cardinal B. I thought he was just doing his job. etc etc
    But it’s obvious he was convicted for allowing another priest to abuse.

    My conclusion is that many other priests and Bishops and Cardinals need to be held accountable too. The degree to which they are accountable should obviously be done by the courts.

    Has anyone else read this? You’ll see what I mean if you do.

  5. Sylvia says:

    I’m not sure which of the documents you are referring to Mike Mac. If you send me a link I will link to it so others can access it.

    If you google on Sylvia’s Site you will find a raft of articles re Msgr. Lynn, from the time charges were laid and then on to reporting on the trial itself. I watched it unfold with keen interest.

  6. Mike Mc says:

    They present both sides. This is the opinion side. The dissent side is also at that site. Here’s what I read:


Leave a Reply