“Can You Call For A Sheriff, Please”

Big Trial

By Ralph Cipriano
for Bigtrial.net

Defense attorney Thomas A. Bergstrom was trying to convince Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina that she didn’t have the authority to send his client, Msgr. William J. Lynn, back to jail.

The judge, however, wasn’t buying it. “Bail revoked,” she ruled. The prisoner is “ordered back into custody.”

“Can you call for a sheriff please,” the judge cooly instructed a court officer. Then she disappeared back into chambers.

Moments later, a sheriff showed up to take away the monsignor, who had sat quietly with his head down during the half-hour proceedings. After 18 months in jail and 16 months of house arrest, the official scapegoat for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia was headed back to prison to continue his atonement for the sins of the church.

Judge Sarmina convened a hearing at 9 a.m. this morning in Courtroom 601 of the Criminal Justice Center to address a motion filed by the district attorney’s office to revoke bail and send Lynn back to jail.

Arguing on behalf of the Commonwealth was Assistant District Attorney Patrick Blessington, the prosecutor who put Lynn away. On June 22, 2012, a jury heeded Blessington’s arguments and convicted the monsignor on one count of endangering the welfare of a child.

Judge Sarmina, who presided over Lynn’s trial, then sentenced the monsignor to 3 to 6 years in jail.

Blessington, who with his long white hair and long droopy mustache looks like he stepped out of a Frederic Remington painting, told the judge that this was the fourth time he’s had to make this argument, “the fourth time this guilty defendant should be denied bail.”

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