DA to appeal superior court decision to free Msgr. Lynn on bail
District Attorney Seth Williams is taking an appeals court ruling to the state Supreme Court in attempt to keep Msgr. William Lynn behind bars.
Lynn could be sprung any day this week with the posting of 10 percent of $250,000 bail, granted yesterday by Superior Court Judge Teresa M. Sarmina, after his child endangerment conviction was overturned a day after Christmas.
“We can say with great confidence that the way the superior court read this law is not how this law is supposed to work,” Williams said during a press conference yesterday.
“I am disgusted by the ruling of the superior court panel that was persuaded by the defense argument that Monsignor Lynn did not have a duty to protect children. I have no doubt that a misguided, wealthy benefactor will pay for his release.”
In June 2012, a jury found that Lynn was solely responsible for allowing pedophile priests to have contact with young boys and shuffled them from parish to parish to keep it quiet.
Williams called the reversal a “puzzling” and “disappointing” conclusion.
“If you are having trouble understanding this result, there is nothing wrong with you,” he said.
“There is something wrong with this superior court panel, and rest assured, we will fight it as long and as far as we must.”
Lynn, 62, has spent the last 18 months behind bars in Wayne County – about 160 miles north of Philadelphia – serving out a three- to six-month sentence handed down last year.
Prosecutors alleged Lynn, whose job it was to report cases of child sexual abuse within the Archdiocese, protected a number of pedophile priests during his tenure. One of them, the now-defrocked Edward Avery, pleaded guilty in March 2012 to raping a 10-year old boy at a St. Jerome’s Parish in the northeast section of the city.
Lynn was tasked with supervising Avery and others in his role as Secretary for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
In its opinion, the superior court panel found that Lynn’s conduct was not within reach of the Endangering the Welfare of a Child statute, either as a principal player or an accomplice.
Lynn’s attorneys hailed the ruling as a victory, claiming the court abused its discretion a number of times at trial.
“While the fight to keep him behind bars may be over, the battle to get him back behind bars, where he belongs, has just begun,” said Williams.
The district attorney’s office has until the end of January to file its appeal.