Saturday, December 28, 2013

District Attorney Says Msgr. Lynn Is A "Flight Risk"

By Ralph Cipriano
for Bigtrial.net

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams is asking Judge M. Teresa Sarmina to deny bail to Msgr. William J. Lynn, on the basis that Lynn is a "flight risk" who may seek refuge in the Vatican.

A panel of three Superior Court judges on Dec. 26th reversed Lynn's "historic" 2012 conviction on one count of endangering the welfare of a child, and said that the monsignor should be "discharged forthwith." But the D.A. isn't going along with the higher court's opinion at a bail hearing scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday before Judge Sarmina.

Lynn was labeled a "flight risk" in a six-page answer to a petition for a bail hearing filed by Hugh J. Burns, Jr., chief of the D.A.'s appeals unit. The monsignor is a "high ranking official [in] a worldwide organization, the Roman Catholic Church, that has both diplomatic and non-diplomatic facilities in many nations," Burns wrote.

The evidence presented at Lynn's trial "established that numerous individuals within that organization are closely associated with [Lynn] and may be willing to improperly assist him out of personal interest without proper sanction," Burns wrote.

In response, Lynn's lawyer, Thomas A. Bergstrom, said, "The whole thing is idiotic. These guys [in the district attorney's office] are the most unprofessional lawyers I've ever run across in my life. They simply ignore the law and they're gonna continue to do it. But that [Superior Court] order applies to them as well."

Contrary to what the D.A. is peddling, Bergstrom said, there is no evidence to support the contention that Lynn might flee to the Vatican.

"It's very difficult to respond to an idiotic statement like that when it's not based on fact, it's just fiction," Bergstrom said. "It's almost delusional."

Bergstrom said the last time this issue was raised in Judge Sarmina's court, when Lynn was denied bail after his 2012 conviction, Lynn told him, the Vatican? I can't even get the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to take my calls.

In his six-page brief, however, D.A. Burns outlines a possible international Catholic conspiracy to assist Lynn if he becomes an international fugitive en route to Vatican City.

"The Holy See maintains diplomatic relations with 179 sovereign states, including every nation in the Western hemisphere, Europe, India, and all but three countries in Africa," Burns wrote. The D.A.'s office in the past has consulted with William Nardini, a Department of Justice attache to Rome, and "Mr. Nardini confirmed that the Vatican City State has no extradition treaty with the United States," Burns wrote.

In a footnote, Burns argues that officials within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia "are sympathetic to defendant, and possibly disposed to assist him, without regard to his conduct endangering children."

If Lynn becomes an international fugitive and decides to flee to another country, Burns said, the principle of "dual criminality" may come into play. Under dual criminality, Burns warned Judge Sarmina, "a fugitive may be extradited only if the acts constituting the offense are criminal in both the jurisdiction in which the fugitive is found and the jurisdiction to which the fugitive's extradition is sought."

"Thus, it might prove to be the case that defendant could be extradited from another country only if that country has an extradition treaty, and it punishes the conduct of endangering the welfare of children as a felony as does Pennsylvania," Burns wrote.

Burns argues that letting Lynn out of jail now would be "premature" because the appeal process has not been exhausted. Translation: the district attorney may not be through playing politics with the case, even though a higher court has said the jig is up.

The unanimous Superior Court opinion didn't have much impact on the D.A.'s office, where Seth Williams' self-described "historic" prosecution of the church depends on the monsignor remaining in jail  as a scapegoat for D.A. Williams' bottom-feeder style of justice.

In Seth Williams' world, archbishops and bishops get a pass, and the guy who carried out their orders gets prosecuted for the collective sins of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia over the past 40 years.

The unanimous opinion of the three Superior Court judges to reverse Lynn's conviction "is not a proper basis for granting bail pending appeal," Burns wrote. If the order of the Superior Court was "instantaneously effective," Burns said, Lynn "would not require bail at all and the Superior Court would not have referred this request" to Judge Sarmina.

While the lawyers slug it out, Lynn remains a prisoner at SCI-Waymart in Wayne, about 2 1/2 hours north of Philadelphia. In anticipation of his release, prison officials had discussed transferring Lynn to the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility on State Road in Philadelphia, but Lynn's lawyers objected, because of concerns for their client's safety.

So it appears likely that officials at SCI-Waymart will continue to hold Msgr. Lynn until Judge Sarmina decides on whether to grant bail.

If Sarmina decides not to release Lynn, Bergstrom said he would "cross the street" after the bail hearing, and immediately file a brief with the Superior Court, seeking to have Lynn released.

33 comments:

  1. I wouldn't want to be in a room alone with this guy. He might try and touch my Pee-Pee

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    1. You're a disgusting moron.

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    2. How completely inappropriate and untrue!

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  2. Ralph can you write about some violent blacks or asian gangs in the city instead of these "alleged" Homosexals

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    1. Ralph why don't you write about white violent gangs. Oh you are! It's called the Catholic hierarchy

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  3. Two ignorant comments from the same individual. What do you care what happens to Lynn? Or is this Daniel Gallagher commenting now that he is worried about his future payout from the archdiocese.

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  4. I can't imagine her not granting bail after the conviction was reversed. If the law didn't apply to the facts, it's hard to see how the DA can successfully appeal it. But at the same time, it's not delusional or idiotic to suggest a possible flight risk. If the defense lawyer goes in like that, he just might end up keeping his client in jail. He needs to make a reasonable argument regarding flight risk. Didn't Cardinal Law do that exact thing? Did the Vatican care one bit about the fact that he was escaping prosecution for covering up sex crimes against children? No. All three Popes have been totally okay with promoting him and propping him up at their various ceremonies. Didn't the Vatican just give refuge to the papal nuncio of the Dominican Republic who molested children there? The question isn't whether the Vatican would do such a thing but whether the Vatican would care enough about Lynn to give him refuge. Probably not. He's not high enough to be on their watch list.

    And, for the record, I already know that Josie Bailey disagrees with me and believes I know nothing about the case. Fair enough.

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    1. SaraTX2 - you've made an excellent suggestion - thanks!

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  5. Tom Bergstrom calls the DA's claim 'almost delusional', I would regard it more as utter desperation...a football type 'Hail Mary pass'.

    Seth and his followers now see the ambitious 'historic prosecution' of which they've been boasting nationally - - - about to evaporate right before their eyes - - - and perhaps even their own careers to boot.

    After this 3 judge ruling on her unique interpretation of the EWOC statute, I think Sarmina should either hang it up willingly or be relieved, as was Judge Hughes.

    Sarmina's amply demonstrated that she can't rule impartially, at least insofar as the Catholic Church is concerned. We can only thank heaven that she was not elected to either the Pa Superior or Supreme Court....

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  6. While the lawyers slug it out, Lynn remains a prisoner at SCI-Waymart in Wayne County, PA, about 2 1/2 miles north of Philadelphia. Prison officials had discussed transferring Lynn closer to home to the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility on State Road in Philadelphia, but Lynn's lawyers expressed concern for their client's safety.

    Why should anyone care about his safety ? As the three judge panel made clear and everyone knows Lynn's goal was to protect the archdiocese and not the children.

    Like I said many times before this individual could have been the hero. Instead he by himself alone chose to go down a different path.

    I would consider this person to be a flight risk. How can he ever show his face in public again in this area ? He may have the few friends like those who post here, but the majority of catholics will turn a blind eye, and they sure don't feel sorry for him.

    Bergstrom your client put the wheels in motion for abusers to harm children. Children who could not fight back. If you truly care about your clients safety tell him to BULK UP.

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    1. The voice of reason ...

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    2. And your opinion counts for what?

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    3. Dennis' opinion counts for sanity anon 6:56 and 7:52. You might try to emulate him.

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    4. All I read is blah, blah, blah....

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    5. Let's follow the law. Stop all the drama. Msgr. Lynn should be released immediately, and should never have been incarcerated one day. These people are out for blood not justice. For vengeance not forgiveness. SNAP and that nun from Whistle Blowers will in court on Monday praying up a storm that Msgr. Lynn not be released. That is their right, though they are wrong. I think we all should look to His Holiness Pope Francis when it comes to justice and forgiveness and healing for victims and the accused. Remember Jesus said to the accused: "This day you will be with Me in Paradise." Yes, he says that to every repentant sinner including those who sexually abused any man, woman or child. That's just the way God is.

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  7. Burns looks like a person who submitted a term paper full of factual errors. Why would Lynn run out of the country to the Vatican with a 3-0 Superior Court decision in his hands? Besides being on bail means surrendering your passport and wearing an ankle monitor plus adhering to restrictions aimed at not consuming alcoholic beverages, living in house arrest, not associating with other people in his profession accused of wrongdoing, the standard stuff that a person making bail agrees to.

    Bergstrom is right about the delusional people populating DA Seth Williams office. You have to wonder what kind of people work in the DA's office - most do stellar work catching and put in jail the murderers and rapists that do harm to victims. And this all stops at the doorstep of Mayor Michael Nutter who will have this mess to deal with that was created by an egomaniac of a DA with so much pride in himself that he doesn't fathom reality from the fantasy world he lives in.

    It is obvious that Burns is one to have his term paper covered with plenty of red pen scrawlings of an angry law professor with much wondering about his competence to serve as an lawyer. And for an desperate ADA to create a John Le Carre scenario about flight to the Vatican is way above the top.

    Bergstrom - do not worry aboutother people - do what the Johnny Walker commercial says - Keep on walking across the street to Superior Court to file a bail request.

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  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Allison, you and Tom are doing an exceptional job for Monsignor Lynn. Please accept our thanks ...... and keep at it!

      Again, our profound thanks to Ralph Cipriano for his skilled and tenacious Pulitzer quality reporting. People all across the nation are now getting a glimpse into the (shall we be charitable) ineptitude within the Philadelphia DA's office and the obvious bias of the Philadelphia judiciary.

      The judges on the Pa Superior and Supreme Courts must be shaking their heads over this embarrassment to their profession.

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  9. Perhaps Judge Sarmina wants to be reversed twice in one week. If so, she should deny bail despite the absolutely clear language of the Superior Court Opinion that Monsignor Lynn is to be discharged "forthwith". We all need to remember what a brilliant judge she is when she runs for higher office.

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  10. Ralph, I don't always agree with your reporting or legal perspective but I know your geography is way off. "Wayne County, PA, about 2 1/2 miles north of Philadelphia" I'm hoping you meant to say 2 1/2 hours north of Philadelphia but you can pretty much say whatever you want on this blog as the facts were lost a long time ago!

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    1. We could sure use some copy editors around here. I meant 2 1/2 hours north.

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    2. What facts were lost a long time ago?

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    3. Ralph,

      Unlike those abusive priests and enablers we forgive you. You are only human.

      I'm still looking for a word to describe abusive priests and those who enable them to harm children. ITS NOT HUMAN !

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    4. This is becoming a dangerous, dangerous precedent. The Philadelphia Judges and now the one hope I really believed in, DA Seth Williams are running amuck! Where is respect for the law? Superior court and the Governor need to be ready to end this fiasco. When judges do not obey what can you expect fro the citizens?

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    5. hope for what?

      to deny citizens their right to freedom based on lies, deceit and corruption of your elected officials. someone should pay and it should start with Seth Williams. Maybe his background and resume should be reviewed for accuracy.

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    6. Lynn Abra man was so bad, it seemed that Seth would be able to restore a fresh approach...actually search for the truth. Instead the Abra man leftovers have regained a foothold and are continuing to make the DA's office a laughing stock of idiots. The ADA's walk into judge's courtrooms and say they are not prepared? Gutless judges like Charlie Ehrlich are afraid to set them straight so they continue to do whatever they want in a courtroom.

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  11. Monsignor Lynn has been granted bail but it will cost him a lot of money.

    http://www.philly.com/philly/news/breaking/20131231_Bail_hearing_set_for_Msgr__Lynn.html

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  12. Setting bail of $250,000 for someone who has just been exonerated seems unjust.
    In 2006 a young girl with cerebral palsy starved to death under the care of Philly DHS and her parents. As a result of her death; the father was charged with endangering the welfare of a child. Pre-trial-bail in that case was $50,0000 - far lower than the post -xoneration bail here.

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    1. Well the extraordinary high bail that has been set is just further proof of what is really happening.....this is really a witch hunt. Yes, there is the covering fig leave of pretended legality... but Mon. Lynn is the trophy prize in their undeclared war against the Catholic Church. They don't want to release their prize. Hence the extreme statements they are making to portray him as a dangerous criminal who may flee the jurisdiction. It is laughable, because the Superior Court has already found him wrongly convicted and ordered that he be discharged (released). So why would he flee, he is already legally exonerated. But the mentality prevailing in a witch hunt is irrational, it is not about principles, it is about taking sides. It goes like this....if you are against witches then you will believe any accusation.
      If you attempt to defend the rule of law and due process then you are on the side of witches.. throw in the charges of child abuse, repeatedly stated by a one-sided media, then the stage is set for a witch hunt. This will only end when Catholics wake up and use their democratic rights to change governments and their officials.

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  13. Had I been a judge, I wouldn't be afraid to ask the DA and assorted ADAs as to what kindergarten school did they graduate from with their law degree.

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    1. Sarmina, Hughes and Ceisler all in bed together with Williams.

      Is anyone else in the DAs office upset that Seth has been cheating on them?

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  14. The Victims continue to live lives of misery and unfairness as the 'playing field has not been leveled' thanks to chaput/rcc/insurance co's/ and politicians, why does the rcc continue to lobby against the SOL ? Window legislation ? What else and How many more enablers,abusers and sins are they attempting to hide ?

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