Monday, May 11, 2015
A lawyer for Msgr. William J. Lynn filed two motions in state Superior Court today, seeking to argue an appeal for a new trial before the same panel of judges that previously overturned Lynn's conviction.
On Dec. 26, 2013, state Superior Court Judges John T. Bender, Christine L. Donohue and John L. Musmanno issued an opinion that reversed Lynn's June 22, 2012, conviction in Common Pleas Court for endangering the welfare of a child.
On April 27, 2015, the state Supreme Court entered an opinion reversing the Superior Court's reversal.
In his motion seeking a new briefing before the Superior Court, Thomas A. Bergstrom, Lynn's lawyer, noted that the state Supreme Court only addressed one narrow issue, namely whether Lynn was considered an "other person supervising the welfare of a child" under the state's original 1972 child endangerment law.
The law states: "A parent, guardian or other person supervising the welfare of a child under 18 years of age commits an offense if he knowingly endangers the welfare of a child by violating a duty of care, protection or support."
In their opinion, the state Supreme Court ruled that under the law, Lynn was considered an "other person supervising the welfare of a child." The state Superior Court didn't see it that way, ruling that the law didn't apply to Lynn.
In his motion, Bergstrom noted that he had previously raised 10 other issues in the appeal of Lynn's conviction that "remain unresolved."
In the second motion, Bergstrom "respectfully applies to the Court for an order assigning this case for further disposition before" the same panel of judges that previously overturned Lynn's conviction.
Lynn had served 18 months of a 3 to 6 year sentence before the state Superior Court overturned his conviction. He spent the last 16 months under house arrest under terms of release imposed by Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina, who presided over Lynn's 2012 trial.
After the state Supreme Court reversed the Superior Court's reversal of Lynn's conviction, Judge Sarmina revoked bail and ordered Lynn back to jail.
When Lynn appeared in Judge Sarmina's courtroom on a motion by the district attorney's office to revoke bail, Lynn's family was noticeably absent from the proceedings.
The monsignor's family subsequently released a statement that says:
We, the family of Msgr. Lynn, chose to forgo the proceedings as we were confident of what the outcome would be, considering that the judge involved has acted as a member of the prosecution team since the inception of the trial. We could also not bear the erroneous ramblings of the prosecutor once more.
We also know that Msgr. is secure in the love and support from family and so many others so our physical presence was unnecessary. Those who know him know what a good, compassionate and unequivocally faithful man he is.
We firmly believe that abuse of a child by any individual should not be tolerated. Sadly this trial was not about justice for victims but about establishing political platforms by charging an underling with the crimes of his former superiors who could not or would not be prosecuted.