Philadelphia Monsignor May Be Granted House Arrest

By Kristen Byrne
My Fox Philly
June 26, 2012

A decision has yet to be made on whether a Roman Catholic official convicted of child endangerment will be released on house arrest until his sentencing hearing.

Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina indicated she might release Monsignor William Lynn on house arrest while he awaits sentencing if the Vatican agrees they will not harbor him in the event he flees the country.

Lynn's defense insists he's not a flight risk and want him on house arrest while he awaits his sentencing. His passport was surrendered to the court on Tuesday.

"Get the hell out of here, he's not going to the Vatican," defense attorney Tom Bergstrom said after the hearing. "That's ridiculous."

The prosecution argued for Lynn to stay in jail, citing an article that 35 priests have fled during criminal cases. However, most of these were before their criminal trial.

"We're always concerned that justice can be done," Assistant District Attorney Mark Cipolletti said after the hearing. "But today, tonight and tomorrow William Lynn will be in jail."

The defense lawyers propose that he will stay with a member of his extended family in Philadelphia while on house arrest. According to the prosecution, the wait for an electric monitor for house arrest is approximately 3 to 4 weeks.

Donning all black sans his signature clerical collar, Lynn appeared solemn in front of the court on Tuesday.

Lynn faces a maximum sentence of 3? to 7 years in prison for his third degree felony. His sentencing date is scheduled for August 13.

The judge said she will double his bail to $100,000 if she decides to release him on house arrest.

Lynn's defense plans to appeal his conviction.

Lynn has remained in custody since the jury found him guilty of endangering the welfare of a victim of now-defrocked priest Edward Avery. Avery was set to appear in court with Lynn and co-defendant Rev. James Brennan, but pleaded guilty before the trial began in March. He was sentenced to 2? to 5 years in prison. The jury was not informed of Avery's guilty plea.

The jury acquitted Lynn on one count of conspiracy and a second count of child endangerment. He worked as secretary for clergy from 1992 to 2004, mostly under late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua. Lynn is the first church official to be charged or convicted for an elaborate cover-up of child abuse claims against priests.

The follow up motions hearing is set to take place on July 5.








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