Judge may release Pa. monsignor, if Vatican will agree not to harbor him if he flees
Monsignor William Lynn, the first U.S. church official prosecuted for his handling of child-abuse complaints, was convicted last week of one felony child endangerment count for his role in the cover-up of complaints at the Philadelphia archdiocese.
Common Pleas Judge M. Teresa Sarmina considered his request Tuesday for home detention while he awaits sentencing but ordered him to remain jailed, pending a July 5 court date when she will reconsider the request.
Lynn, 61, faces about 3-1/2 to seven years in prison when he is sentenced Aug. 13. His lawyers insist he is not a flight risk and want him released on house arrest until then. He surrendered his passport to the court Tuesday.
“He doesn’t want to go to France. He doesn’t want to go to Spain. He doesn’t want to go to the Vatican … He just wants to go back to St. Joe’s Parish in Pennsylvania,” defense lawyer Tom Bergstrom said after the hearing.
But prosecutors urged the judge to keep Lynn in jail, offering up a news story that said that 35 Roman Catholic priests have fled during criminal cases. Most apparently fled before trial, often to their native country, Sarmina noted.
The jury convicted Lynn of endangering a victim of now-defrocked priest Edward Avery, who is now in prison after admitting he sexually assaulted an altar boy in church in 1999. Lynn knew Avery had been credibly accused of abuse years earlier. As secretary for clergy, Lynn had him sent for sexual-offender treatment, but knew he was later sent to live in a parish. [More]