Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Imprisoned Philadelphia Priest Appeals for Bail in Higher Court Lawyers Say He Poses No Flight Risk While Appealing Child- Endangerment Conviction

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Imprisoned Philadelphia Priest Appeals for Bail in Higher Court Lawyers Say He Poses No Flight Risk While Appealing Child- Endangerment Conviction

Article excerpt

PHILADELPHIA -- Lawyers for Monsignor William J. Lynn on Wednesday asked an appeals court to do what his trial judge would not: free the former Archdiocese of Philadelphia official on bail while he fights his child-endangerment conviction.

In a motion filed in Superior Court, the lawyers renewed their claims that the 61-year-old cleric poses no public danger or flight risk, has deep local roots and has a better-than-average chance to win his appeal.

"It would be a manifest injustice for Appellant Lynn to serve much, if not all, of his prison term, where there is a substantial possibility of reversal," lawyers Thomas Bergstrom, Allison Khaskelis and Alan Tauber wrote in their brief. "The chance of unjust incarceration is simply too great not to grant bail."

The filing marked the first salvo in a battle the lawyers have long said will be won or lost in the higher courts.

The archdiocese is paying Mr. Bergstrom and Ms. Khaskelis -- of the Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney law firm -- to lead the appeal. Mr. Tauber and his partner, Jeffrey Lindy, were part of the monsignor's defense team during his landmark trial earlier this year.

Their 23-page argument mirrors claims they made to Lynn's trial judge, Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina. Twice she rejected requests to free Lynn on bail, declaring that his crimes were too serious and his sentence too long.

Lynn is serving 3 to 6 years in state prison after a Common Pleas Court jury found him guilty of endangering children when he was secretary for clergy under Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua.

Lynn, who managed archdiocesan priests assignments, let one remain in active ministry at a Northeast Philadelphia parish in the 1990s despite concluding that he had once abused a minor.

That priest, Edward Avery, later sexually assaulted a 10-year- old altar boy.

Lynn has been jailed since his June 22 conviction, most recently at Camp Hill state prison, ostensibly awaiting a permanent assignment.

The defense lawyers say the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office used a "novel and controversial" theory to charge Lynn with endangering children in the 1990s even though the child- endangerment statute at the time didn't specifically cite supervisors like him. …

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