Friday, July 6, 2012

Philadelphia Priest AbuseTrial: Judge Denies Arrest For Monsignor.

Judge M. Teresa Sarmina denied a defense motion today that would have granted house arrest to Msgr. William J. Lynn.

The judge's decision means that Lynn will continue to reside at Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility, known as CFCF, on State Road in Northeast Philadelphia. According to his attorney, Jeff Lindy, Lynn is in protective custody there, and leading a contemplative life.

Judge Sarmina did grant one defense request, to move up Lynn's sentencing date from Aug. 13 to July 24, provided the monsignor was willing to waive a pre-sentence report. The theory was, after Lynn has been the object of grand jury scrutiny and a decade of investigation, there was nothing new out there to be dug up by an investigator that would affect his sentence. Lynn agreed to the request.
The 61-year-old monsignor is facing a sentence of three and a half to seven years after being convicted on one count of endangering the welfare of a child, a third-degree felony. Assistant District Attorney Patrick Blessington surprised nobody in the courtroom when he said he would be asking for the maximum sentence.

The judge had asked Blessington to investigate whether the commonwealth could draw up an extradition waiver that if signed by Lynn would prevent the monsignor from escaping to the Vatican. Blessington said he did investigate, and that such a waiver would be "worthless" in the event that the monsignor went on the lam.

Another Lynn defense lawyer, Thomas Bergstrom, told the judge that the defense was prepared to raise Lynn's bail from $50,000 to $100,000, meaning the family's ten percent deposit would rise from $5,000 to $10,000, if the judge was willing to grant house arrest.

Bergstrom, tried to assure the judge that Lynn was not a flight risk before she made her decision. "He's not going anywhere," Bergstrom said of his client, who was brought to the courthouse by sheriff's deputies, and was wearing a black short sleeve shirt and pants, minus his priest's collar.

Bergstrom tried to appeal to the judge's sense of fairness, but struck out looking. "If he were any other defendant he'd be out on bail," Bergstrom told the judge. "I don't think he should be treated any differently. I think he's entitled to it."

But if the monsignor made a break for it, the judge asked Bergstrom, "Would you serve his sentence?"

"Sure, absolutely," Bergstrom replied. "That's the faith that I have in this man." more