Wednesday, January 15, 2014

"Maybe This Experience Has Brought Him Closer To God"

By Ralph Cipriano

To Taleah Grimmage, Juror No. 7 in the Msgr. Lynn case, the news that Lynn's conviction had been reversed came as a "slight shock."

"While I still think he [Msgr. Lynn] ultimately played a part in the atrocities that occurred, he certainly was not the ONLY person that should have been held responsible," Grimmage wrote in an email. "[I'm looking at YOU Cardinals Krol and Bevilacqua]."

Grimmage, who voted to convict Lynn in 2012 after sitting through a 13 week trial, as well as 13 days of deliberations, said she never understood the district attorney's strategy of charging Lynn with endangering the welfare of a child. She did, however, believe the D.A. had succeeded in sending a message to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

As far as the monsignor is concerned, Grimmage was curious to know what effect being "unjustly" imprisoned for 18 months has had on the monsignor, who so far, has declined to talk to reporters.

"Maybe this experience has brought him closer to God," she said.

"As I understand it," Grimmage wrote, Lynn's conviction "was overturned based on the fact that the statute they used to charge him, only applied to people who had direct contact or interaction with a child."

Lynn was convicted by the jury of one count of endangering the welfare of a child. In 2005, former District Attorney Lynne Abraham and a grand jury stated that Lynn could not be charged under the state's original 1972 child endangerment law. D.A. Abraham and the 2005 grand jury declared that the original law applied only to adults who had direct contact with children, such as parents, teachers and guardians, and not to Lynn, who was basically a supervisor of priests who had contact with children.

On Dec. 26th, a panel of three Superior Court judges unanimously reversed Lynn's conviction, saying the state's original child endangerment law did not apply to him.

"I think that it certainly is curious that the state decided to use this particular statute," Grimmage said. "I don't know if they really banked on it not being overturned so much as they wanted to send a message to the Archdiocese."

"I also think it's interesting that you can be the [indirect] supervisor or someone in contact with children and not be held responsible for what happens to them."

"I find this whole thing odd," she wrote. "We need to extend the catch of all responsibility to not just schools and daycare centers, burt churches too! ... I think we should all be held collectively responsible for one another."

As a direct result of the 2005 grand jury report, the state amended the child endangerment law in 2007 to include supervisors such as Lynn.

Grimmage never saw the monsignor as a central player. Back in 2012, she had this to say about the monsignor: "Personally, I think Father Lynn was just a cog in a wheel. I think that he was a very good 'yes man' who unfortunately was left holding the bag. I don't think Lynn is a malicious person, and I think in his mind he was doing what he thought was appropriate."

Grimmage said in 2012 that every juror believed there was a conspiracy among the hierarchy in the archdiocese; she just didn't buy the D.A.'s theory that it was a conspiracy to harm children.

Two of the district attorney's original charges against Lynn, for conspiracy to endanger the welfare of a child, were thrown during the trial by Judge M. Teresa Sarmina as unproven.

"We ALL agreed that they [the archdiocese] conspired to hide things from the parishioners and keep things hush-hush to continue receieving monies and etc.," Grimmage wrote in 2012. "As a result kids were endangered, but we didn't believe the endangerment was the actual goal."

In her most recent comments, Grimmage recalled that several parishioners from St. Joseph's in Downingtown showed up at the Lynn trial to talk about "how great he [Lynn] was as a pastor."

"Perhaps they will reinstate him as a parish priest," she wrote. "Basically with this being overturned, he's not a convicted felon."

There will always be, however, people who think of him that way. When he left the Criminal Justice Center after being granted bail on Jan. 6th, two hecklers chased the monsignor down the street, loudly calling him a pedophile.

Lynn is currently under house arrest at St. William's rectory in Northeast Philadelphia. He wears an electronic monitoring bracelet on his ankle. He is restricted to staying on two floors of the rectory. He reports to his parole officer every week, and needs special permission to visit his lawyer or his doctor.

In addition, the archdiocese has said that Lynn remains on administrative leave and cannot publicly function as a priest.

"If I were Monsignor Lynn," Grimmage wrote, "I'd pocket my severance package and move faaaar away for a long time. I'd be curious to hear about his experience in prison. Biblically speaking, you have several people who have been imprisoned [unjustly]. Joseph and Paul come to mind."

"Maybe this whole experience has brought him closer to God."

Ralph Cipriano can be contacted at


  1. Add Father Engelhardt and Bernard Shero to that list of unjustly imprisoned persons, for the fraudulent accusation and wrongful conviction at their trial last January. They are in prison perhaps for the rest of their natural lives based on the lies and deception of one accuser, Danny Gallagher aided and abetted by the District Attorney's office in the city of Philadelphia.. What a travesty of justice.
    As for Lynn, he'll never get back the 18 months of incarceration but at least he's to a great extent, a free man.

    And I just have to add my sympathy for the Boyle family whose son was brutally murdered as a rookie police officer in this city and Judge Sarmina rules twenty two years later that the murderer's sentence should be changed to life imprisonment. How can that judge sleep at night after wreaking havoc on the lives of so many innocent people during the day. That same question should be asked of Judge Ceisler who presided at the trials of Engelhardt and Shero.

  2. Interesting how the DA was all over the news protesting Lynn sentence being overturned but sends an assistant out to protest the overturning of a death sentence for a cop killer. With Lynn it was we will appeal to the Supreme Court while with this cop killer they will consider whether to appeal. I guess that's what is known as playing to his base.

    1. What a great point. Shows you just where the priorities really lie.

    2. Anonymous 8:30 & 10:46AM, how true....This DA does nothing unless it is poltically advantageous for him to do so such as his constant grandstanding over his "historic prosecution" of the Philly Archdiocese in the form of the handwritten and totally inaccurate 2011 Grand Jury report that railroaded those innocent men into prison

      Officer Danny Boyle, thank you for your service and your sacrifice for the good of your fellow man. You deserve more respect for your ultimate sacrifice than was exhibited by Judge Sarmina in her ruling for that Cop Killer.

  3. I have no interest in juror #7's opinion; it is meaningless. This is a witch hunt and the numbers for cases of abuse are greater in other faiths than the Catholic community. To be sure, it is not acceptable from any faith, But I do not care about the juror's thoughts at all.

    1. On the other hand, this jurors world view and opinions are very revealing. Jury nullification happened in that courtroom as sure as it happened in the Simpson case.

      The fact that you are absolutely right about the witch hunt will not derail the goose-stepping by the enemies of the church.

  4. "She never understood the district attorney's strategy of charging Lynn with endangering the welfare of a child. She did, however, believe the D.A. had succeeded in sending a message to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia."
    The justice system is not there for individuals to send messages. It is not there for witch-hunts and show trials.
    "We need to extend the catch of all responsibility to not just schools and daycare centers, burt churches too!" What she actually means is we need to extend it to schools too (and other churches and social institutions). Not just the Catholic Church.
    I hope Ms.Grimmage, the other jurors, and the complicit and corrupt in these cases of wrongful conviction also get the chance to spend time in prison for crimes they did not commit, so that they, too, can be brought closer to God. Failing that, don't worry, they will be brought face to face with God in the not too distant future. I hope they have their answers better prepared than those in the above interview.

  5. One of your better articles Ralph.

    I believe what juror #7 has said about Krol and Bevilacqua if alive they should have been Lynn's cell mates.

    Could you imagine what a good investigator or reporter could find out about the roles those two played in the sexual abuse scandal ? The unedited full disclosure of what they knew and whose orders they were following.

    Now since it was mentioned here my thoughts on Officer Boyle murderer he should fry. I'm a eye for an eye believer. But to read the crap that has been written here is shocking.

    These people are only looking for a reason to attack Judge Sarmina for putting their clergy behind bars. If she upheld this individuals death sentence I would have no doubt on the eve of his execution these same people would be standing outside the prison with their burning candles saying Judge Sarmina is putting a mentally retarded person to death.

    They could care less about the pain the Boyle family has and will forever endure, as long as they can seek revenge on the person who put their abusive clergy members behind bars.

    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    2. Do you know how to comprehend ? Reread what I wrote. I want this murderer to fry for what he did to Danny.

      You are exactly the type of person I described. No matter what Sarmina would have done would not of pleased you.

      Stop disrespecting the memory of Danny and the pain his family feels everday to pursue your agenda.


    3. What happened to the comment of 1/15 at 1:32 that I responded to on 1/15 at 3:00 ???

    4. They did a Msgr. Lynn with it. They moved it around to some unsuspecting blog and placed it there without informing anybody.

  6. Dennis, like you we only seek justice.

  7. Hi Ralph,

    For once I agree with Dennis - very nice work!

    It would be really interesting to hear from one or more of the folks who sat on the Grand Jury that indicted before the investigation was completed.

    I wonder if they've been following your blog and how they might react knowing that they've been duped - big time!

    Where's Sorensen these days??

  8. "Maybe this whole experience has brought him closer to God." What? Wasn't this "man of God" already "close to God" when he was re-assigning priests he KNEW to be sexual abusers to new locations so they could continue to prey on the innocent children of unsuspecting parishoners? Surely he was doing "God's" work when he participated in the cover up of the actions of sexually abusive priests and re-assigned them so they could prey on more innocent children. Maybe it was "God's" will that this "man of God" helped damage and destroy the souls of so many innocent children.

    1. Ask the juror, she's the idiot who made the statement. She's also the same idiot who wrongly convicted him.

      No child or minor abuser is doing "God's work", it isn't in Catholic theology no matter how hard you try to link it, although it is in some other religions. These criminals are doing the work of Satan, under cover of homosexuality that was erroneously permitted to enter the Church. Vatican II opened up doors to evil that should have remained closed. Heterosexual priests clearly do not struggle with this grave problem. And, the incidence of minor abuse in other religions (except for Islam which permits pedophilia in all it's disgusting expressions, as well as 'one-way' homosexuality), and secular society all have one thing in common- over 90% of the offenders are homosexual.

      An argument could be made that God permitted this heinous criminal behavior (both minor abuse and wrongful persecution/prosecution) to express itself through his glorious Church in order to garner the attention it so deserves so as to finally tackle this particular erosion of the moral society in all segments of society.

      It's got your attention, now, doesn't it, Anon Jan 15@1:14? I will guess that it didn't while it's been occurring outside of the Church for two millennia.

  9. Sarmina dropped two other charges of child endangerment against Lynn due to lack of evidence, yet she refused to drop the remaining count of child endangerment. She knew full well that DA Seth William's interpretation of the 1972 EWOC law was flawed, yet she conspired with Seth to railroad Lynn in prison on a bogus charge of child endangerment. She denied defense motions to dismiss the one remaining charge and to strike from the record testimony of victims that predated Lynn's employment.

    Grimmage knew her role as a juror was to vote on her conscience, yet she chose to join mob rule in the jury to convict and sent to prison an innocent man. Had she voted no, the trial would have been a hung jury.

    Bergstrom and his assistant spent 18 months getting Lynn free from prison only to have Sarmina impose draconian confinement in the rectory of Lynn and a monitoring device affixed to his ankle. Plus requiring him to ask permission to visit a doctor is way beyond human decency as will he have to request permission to make a 911 call?

    Fast action needed to find a judge to undo the bail requirements unjustly set by Sarmina. Under the ADA, Lynn has the right to go to a gym for exercise and to take walks in the neighborhood plus enjoy a meal with family. His only restrictioin should be to ask permission to visit someone out of state and that is it.

    Sarmina has besmirched the honor of Common Pleas court and should be told to simply leave. DA Seth Williams is unqualified to serve as a DA, given his poor performance as a DA in a trial that ended up as a kangaroo court.

  10. James,

    Well stated, very well indeed!

    Sarmina delayed over 6 months sending her 'trial report' to the Superior Appellate Court - the same court - mind you - to which she had recently sought an appointment. In fact, Sarmina had to be 'compelled' to do her job!!!.

    Take a look at the comments on the Appellate Court Unified Judicial System under 2171 EDA 2012.

    Why then did she delay? This is hard to say. Perhaps she was scrambling to find justification for her retroactive, 'ex post facto' mis-interpretation of the EWOC law (first promulgated by the prosecution, by the way).

    Or, perhaps she was just being callous as she clearly was when she vindictively imposed those (you said it well) draconian bail conditions on Monsignor Lynn. You be the judge.

    Monsignor Lynn's faulty conviction in and of itself was bad enough, but tacking on an additional 6 months of jail time - by default - was utterly unconscionable.

    One would think that the President Judge would step in - 'sua sponte' to correct this unprecedented injustice...............anyway, one would hope.

  11. James and Anonymous, two excellent posts.

  12. Hi Justone.


    After the Supreme Court Appeal is resolved (hopefully in Monsignor Lynn's favor), perhaps then an investigation by the appropriate parties will commence.

    In reading the Supreme Court rules, it looks as though the DA will have to submit the appeal - to the trial court, no less - within 30 days of the Superior Court's decision, which would be by January 26th. Then, Lynn's attorneys would have 14 days (February 10th?) to file their rebuttals after which the Supreme Court will either outright rule, or set the stage for more briefs and oral arguments.

    So, it doesn't appear at this point that Monsignor Lynn will have to wait that much longer under 'house arrest' unless the lawyers again have to duke it out before the Supreme Court which - I would assume - could take some additional time with all the attendant rigmarole.

    1. Relief by the Presiding Judge urgently n eeded to modify Lynn's incarceration conditions to enable him to take walks around the block for fresh air, got o a health club for exercise, visit doctor and lawyer at will like we all do in addition to visiting the probation officer once a week as planned and ask permission for out of state travel. That is all Judge Sarmina should have asked instead of imposing draconian conditions on his release.

      One headscratcher is the imposition of an ankle monitor to monitor where Lynn is when he already gave up his passport, his employer paid 25K to bail him out and he agreed not to run away from Philadelphia.

      Mean vindictiveness and unreasonable conditions by Sarmina only show her shallowness and unprofessionalism as a jurist.

  13. James - what I don't understand is why the President Judge hasn't stepped in already and / or why Lynn's lawyers haven't petitioned her for more reasonable treatment.

    If you'll recollect, after Lynn was convicted, his lawyers requested house arrest rather than imprisonment while his appeal was being heard because the defense team felt that Monsignor Lynn had an excellent chance of having his verdict overturned. For a while, it looked as though Sarmina might acquiesce, but she didn't.

    Fat chance!

    1. Most likely reason is to get him out when they can get him out on bail instead of getting into an argument with Sarmina who would then send him back to jail to remain until the Supreme Court renders its decision. I would not be too surprised to see a new treadmill installed in the rectory for Lynn (and hopefully the other priests) to use. He will have internet access/cell phone use/pager use and Comcast cable which he would not have at jail. He can open the door and get fresh air to breath for a few minutes before shutting the door. Friends and family can visit him at the rectory and bring him home cooking to sample.

      Safe to say Sarmina gets lots of cold stares from Catholic neighbors at the nearby Catholic church. Plus even colder stares from fellow judges.

      Did this protect any children from getting abused? No and it showed how mean a judge can get when it comes to personal comforts. In her twisted logic, she felt that depriving him of freedom by confining him in the two floors of the rectory was solace to the victims but everybody knows he was convicted wrongly under the EWOC law which did not apply to him at all.

      Professionalism must be at all times, not at the time when you let your anger influence your better judgment.

    2. Great discussion. So refreshing to read logical and informative comments. Sarmina's bitterness and vengefulness is not serving her well at all (I don't think she is too well-liked to begin with-sure seems as if she also has some emotional problems).

    3. Speaking of Judge Sarmina, here's the Cipriano story about her that moved to a new place:

    4. Read that article. It is clear that Sarmina has serious personal issues aggrandized by the need to seek attention for herself. No other judge would write that kind of self assessment and most would prefer to be quiet and let their work speak volumes for them. Not Sarmina. She has an ego and she needs to feed this ego by taking this Lynn trial and milking it all she could in order to sate her need for attention.

      Now her little world is beginning to crumble. Fame is so fleeting that she is no longer the famous little minx itching to put a Monsignor in prison by twisting the logic of reasoned law to suit her needs. And at a last gasp at asserting her authority, she creates a set of bail conditions aimed at keeping the monsignor in a two story prison at the rectory that defies all reason and logic while making even more people aware of her depraved behavior as a judge.

      Time for her to leave the bench now, not April 2015.

    5. James- let the leopard proudly display its spots and not hide beneath the wool of the lamb.

      It is their very arrogance, only usurped by an inherent cowardice that enabled them all under the protective and sustaining cover of a corrupt government and media, that will be their ultimate undoing.

      Americans, who are generally fair-minded and courageous, will not respond kindly when this bigotry-driven charade has been revealed.

      And, just in time for 2014 midterm elections and 2016, when there is ample opportunity to right America's sinking ship.

  14. Today a major story is coming out of the Vatican regarding the 400 defrocked priests and the amount of new cases of abuse reported each year. It is far from the single digit numbers some would like us to believe.

    However, to show respect to Ralph and since this blog is mainly for the Philadelphia area the story coming out of the Vatican is not why I'm leaving this comment but the story that is developing closer to home.

    I have recently have been made aware of yet another Roman Catholic priest from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia who has been arrested today and charged with harassment and indecent assault. Father John Roebuck, Vicar of Saint Stanislaus Church is in police custody.

    The Lansdale police said they would not release any information about the case until Monday.

    Who would have thought that a person in this day would have job security reporting about sexual abuse of clergy in such a small area of the world called Philadellphia.

    1. Dennis - anyone wearing a roman collar is fair game these days.

      Stop gloating.

    2. The Roebuck arrest does not involve a minor. How interesting that tidbit was omitted from the local town criers 'report' here.

      Curious that the names of arrested priests are released and regularly published, but, not the names of so many others arrested.

      No media or governmental biases there.

    3. Anon,

      Yes, no minor was involved and we don't know what was. As an aside to your point, I was just told by a local school district superintendent that arrests are made every week around here but you don't hear much about it. Also, the insurance companies just want to settle these suits and be done with it-that is why we have so much of this stuff. Gee, free money-just play victim to the hilt!!!

    4. Josie- nice work!

      It is a fact that the 'press' searches/scans the arrest records, and use their contacts similarly, trolling with keywords such as 'priest', "Catholic" and "clergy" to narrow down their focus to find and fabricate the story they been told or trained to write.

      If you have been reeducated in the progressive school system and by the prevailing culture to believe (talk about 'faith') that an organization and its followers/members are inherently evil, you've been successfully brainwashed and are just following your environmentally-subdued genetics.

      Sad little "good soldiers".

    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    6. Because it was not a child makes no difference to me. The fact another perverted priest was out there does. I will assume by your comment it is o.k if. this particular priest turned his sites onto someone older, like someones sister, mother or grandmother.

    7. ...and to the other anonymous I don't wish what I write to come across as gloating. But if it does to you, your clergy the leaders of your church like chaput and even you should stand up and do something about it instead of giving me and others the opportunity to do so.

    8. Jan 18 1115am: But that is in direct contradiction of your written statements that all you care about is the Catholic clergy abuse of minors and the 'coverup', thereof?

      Do you mean to inform us that you have self-appointed yourself as the overseer of all Catholic priest behavior? Really? How far back do you wish to take your crusade, all the way back to the inception of the Church, globally? Do you restrict your 'expertise' to only sexual crimes or are you also an expert in finances, statehood/government or theology? Will you also monitor Catholic laity, non-clergy religious? By what authority do you anoint yourself in this position?

      Just wondering what your real intentions are, as opposed to your stated intentions.

    9. Well we do know you have NO intentions at all. You prefer to allow your animals to attack no matter if the victim is a child or an adult.

      Your only goal is to turn a blind eye to your fellow parishioner. So once again come Monday the church who you sacrifice your own family to will be in the eyes of the public embarrassed.

      Please do not question. My intentions unless you have at least one of your own. Leaving a comment on a blog does not count.

    10. You did not answer one question. My intention is clearly stated- to determine the truth, without any biases - to let the Evidence and Facts lead the investigation

      I don't have 'animals', to what do you refer?

      Why do you assume I am parishioner, I did not state such?

      What makes you think I have a family- I have not stated such?

      Why do you assume so much without any evidence? Is that what you do with priest abuse claims?

      How do you know what my goal is, I've never stated any goal?

      Why should I not question anyone's intentions- aren't we all obligated to question?

      Why do you oppress others speech- from where do you get this authority?

      You leave comments on blogs, are your comments any more worthy than mine?

      Where did you get your overinflated sense of self importance? You're no more, or less, than the rest of us.

    11. It didn't involve a minor, but it did involve a 64-year old priest sexually assaulting a man he'd just met in a YMCA sauna. No word yet on whether the man was another old man like himself or someone much younger.

    12. Well, Sarah, the one thing we know for sure, is that he was gay.

      And, an old queen, at that. The 'victim' must have been one weak loser to be 'over taken' by a 64 YO priest. Or, maybe the 'vic' was just another bigot looking to cash in on the latest cash-cow lottery


    Poor bigots will need to await another day to shut down the speech of their opposition.

    They can always pray for relief.

  16. Ralph, aren't people going to misunderstand this column? It wasn't up to the jury to decide if this law applied to Lynn. There was no jury question regarding that. They were given jury instructions which presumed that the law applied, and they found him guilty. Is there an implication here that this juror was supposed to take the law into her own hands and somehow study criminal statutes on her own and decide that the law didn't apply?

    1. A Roman Catholic priest arrested in Montgomery County Friday is accused of grabbing a man’s genitals at the North Penn YMCA, according to a release from the Lansdale Police Department.

      Rev. John Roebuck, 64, has been placed on administrative leave from his post as the Parochial Vicar of Saint Stanislaus Church in Lansdale.

    2. Because, Ralph, if the supreme intellectual beings, like Sarah, don't 'splain it to the unwashed masses here we'll never understand the contents or point of this article about the juror.

      Why, we're so dumb, we might even begin to think on our very own, without benefit of the interpretive dance and pantomime of our ever-helpful friends.

      How did we survive all these years in the big, bad world without our helper-friends?

    3. I think I readily admitted I don't know the point of this article about the juror. What is the point?

  17. A cry for help. Someone please help SarahTX2.


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