Tuesday, April 28, 2015

D.A. Files Motion To Send Msgr. Lynn Back To Jail

Assistant D.A. Patrick Blessington
By Ralph Cipriano
for Bigtrial.net

A day after the state Supreme Court reinstated Msgr. William J. Lynn's conviction, the district attorney filed a motion in Common Pleas Court seeking to revoke Lynn's bail and send him back to jail.

"Consistent with its prior rulings, this Court should, once again, revoke Defendant's bail, thereby remanding him to the service of the remainder of his sentence," said the motion filed today by District Attorney R. Seth Williams and Assistant District Attorney Patrick Blessington, who originally prosecuted Lynn.

Not so fast, said Thomas A. Bergstrom, who is Lynn's lawyer. Bergstrom filed a response to the D.A.'s motion in Common Pleas Court today stating that the D.A. has applied to the wrong court. Any argument over Lynn's bail should be dealt with in state Superior Court, Bergstrom asserted.

Common Pleas Court does not have jurisdiction over the case, Bergstrom argued. After the state Supreme Court reinstated Lynn's conviction, the Supreme Court specified that the case was to be remanded within 14 days back to the state Superior Court, where a number of appeal issues from Lynn's original trial are still pending.

The monsignor is currently under house arrest at a North Philly rectory, where he is confined to two floors and has to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet on his ankle at all times. In the battle over which court will decide whether Lynn remains on bail, however, the district attorney at present appears to have the upper hand. The D.A.'s motion to revoke Lynn's bail is scheduled for a hearing at 9 a.m. Thursday in Common Pleas Court before Judge M. Teresa Sarmina, who presided over Lynn's trial.

On July 24, 2012, Common Pleas Court Judge Sarmina sentenced Lynn to three to six years in jail after his conviction by a jury on one count of endangering the welfare of a minor. Lynn had served 18 months of his sentence when the state Superior Court on Dec. 26, 2013 reversed his conviction and ordered him "released forthwith."

But the trial court did not go along with that request. On Dec. 30, 2013, Judge Sarmina granted the bail request for Lynn under the conditions for house arrest. Lynn has spent the past 16 months under house arrest.

On Monday, the state Supreme Court overturned the Superior Court's reversal of Lynn's conviction. A day later, the D.A. pounced.

In his response to the D.A.'s motion, Bergstrom wrote that he is going to file a motion in state Superior Court to have the case returned to the same panel of three Superior Court judges that reversed Lynn's conviction. Bergstrom also plans to file a motion with that same panel to keep Lynn out of jail on the original $25,000 bail deposit of 10 percent imposed by Judge Sarmina.

"Any application for bail revocation or otherwise should be presented to the Superior Court as the Court on remand," Bergstrom wrote. "The trial court is without jurisdiction to consider the current bail motion."

"Mmultiple and undeniable appellate issues remain" for the Superior Court to consider, Bergstrom wrote. Such as whether the lower court "abused its discretion by improperly admitting evidence of 21 instances of bad conduct by other priests dating back as late as the 1940s."

Other appeal issues for the Superior Court to consider include whether "the trial court improperly charged the jury as to a number of issues including the duty of care" element as part of the crime of endangering the welfare of a child, Bergstrom wrote. Another appellate issue is whether the "lower court abused its discretion by denying mistrial motions based on prosecutorial conduct," Bergstrom wrote. The Superior Court didn't consider those issues because they decided the state's original child endangerment law did not apply to Lynn because he did not fit the definition of an "other person supervising the welfare of a child."

"Those other issues are now ripe for review," Bergstrom wrote.

In his response to the D.A.'s motion to revoke bail, Bergstrom set the stage for further battles over the wording of the state's original 38-word child endangerment law of 1972. 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 arriving at its decision, the [Supreme] Court made clear it was only deciding whether [Lynn] qualified as a supervisor of the welfare of the child." Whether [Lynn] owed a duty of care to a particular child was not addressed or considered by the [Supreme] Court."

Here's what the state Supreme Court had to say about the subject:

"Therefore, whether [Lynn] owed a duty of care to the children of St. Jerome's, or to D.G. [Billy Doe] in particular, is not an issue in this appeal and was not encompassed without grant of allowance of appeal. Rather, the legal issue we address concerns solely whether the evidence sufficed to prove [Lynn's] supervision of the welfare of a child."

The state Supreme Court decided that under the state's original child endangerment law, Lynn qualified as an "other person supervising the welfare of a child."

But the state Supreme Court decided in their 60-page opinion not to explore the second element of the law, namely did the law apply to Lynn in the sense of whether Lynn owed a duty of care to a particular child.

The state Supreme Court went on to say:

"While we recognize that the answer to this question will in most circumstances be informed by exploring the extent of the duty owed to the endangered child, we need not engage in such an exploration herein; nor do we wade into an unnecessary review of the trial court's conclusions regarding other elements of EWOC, [endangering the welfare of a child] including that the Commonwealth's evidence sufficed to prove that [Lynn] was aware of his duty of care, protection or support, that he violated this duty, or that he knowingly enraged the welfare of a child, because, again these questions are behind our grant of allowance of appeal."

The state Superior Court, however, has already addressed the issue of whether Lynn owed a duty of care to a particular child when they reversed Lynn's conviction.

Here's what the Superior Court had to say about that subject:

"There was no evidence that [Lynn] had any specific knowledge that [Father Edward V.] Avery was planning or preparing to molest children at St. Jerome's. Indeed, Avery was not even diagnosed with a mental impairment that suggested he had a predisposition to commit sexual offenses."

The archdiocese had decided that Avery was an alcoholic, not a pedophile.

The Superior Court went on to say:

"As such, the notion that Avery was an ongoing, ever-present danger more than a decade after having sexually assaulted R.F. [a previous teenage victim] was tenuous at best. Eve more tenuous was the conclusion that the natural and probable consequences of [Lynn's] negligent supervision of Avery were Avery's intentional acts of molestation against a victim unknown to [Lynn]. Here, the information available to [Lynn] only suggested Avery's acts of sexual abuse were a byproduct of his alcohol abuse, and there was no evidence that Avery had resumed drinking, or that [Lynn] knew of such behavior."

The Superior Court wrote that Lynn appointed Avery to a chaplaincy at Nazareth Hospital "so as to limit his contact with children." Also, "the Commonwealth's own evidence demonstrated that upon Avery's preachment at St. Jerome's rectory, the parish's pastor, Father Graham, was told that Avery 'was not to be around children and was to live in the parish, be around the other priests and minister to the local hospital.' ''

Lynn, the Superior Court wrote, "did not know or know of D.G. [Billy Doe], he was not sufficiently aware of Avery's supervision of D.G. or any other child at St. Jerome's, nor did he have any specific information that Avery intended or was preparing to molest D.G. or any other child at St. Jerome's."

The issue of Lynn's intent was also addressed by state Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas G. Saylor in a dissenting opinion when he wrote:

"Although, as observed, [Lynn] may have been substantially derelict in his obligations, as I read the record, there were no facts placed before the jury by which it could reasonably conclude he affirmatively intended that children's welfare be endangered."

While on house arrest, Begrstom wrote, Lynn has abided by all the rules and regulations imposed on him. Further, William Lynn is neither a danger or a flight risk."


  1. Sarmina asked to be transferred to Civil Court after the trial was over and that request was granted. Now, as the judge of the case against Lynn, she walks over to Common Pleas Court where she can lord over Lynn and throw him right into jail regardless of what Bergstrom may say.

    For Sarmina to allow 21 other abuse cases that occurred before Lynn was on duty to be added to the trial and to deny defense motions to strike from the docket those abuse counts is way beyond stupidity as it shows what kind of a jurist she is. The Lynn case became a personal crusade for Sarmina and she got too emotionally involved in the case and calls to attention her fitness to remain as a judge in civil court where she now works.

    No judge must ever let a case become an emotional attachment to him or her that will cloud his or her judgment. It is not too far a stretch of the imagination to label the Lynn case as a kangaroo court case like the ongoing trial of the six Philadelphia police drug agents is playing out right now.

    Fast action needed to file disciplinary complaint against Sarmina in the ABA to seek her immediate removal from civil court until all issues are resolved.

    No confidence in DA Seth Williams and his minions. Seth did the right thing by dropping a third trial for McCormick after two mistrials due to hung juries. NOw it is the time to put this case to rest by letting Lynn serve out the remaining three months of his house arrest at the rectory and to free him from house arrest once he has accrued the 18 months of house arrest needed to make it three years imprisonment pending how things are resolved in Superior Court..

  2. No, Why should Lynn receive any special treatment and be allowed to remain where he is ? He committed a crime. The supreme court ruled he committed a crime so why should he not have to go back to prison to either live out his life or his 3-6 year sentencing ? I only wish this house arrest would not be considered as time served. This man has caused so much pain to so many people, and if you are a catholic who goes to church he has caused you pain every time you reach in your pocket or write that check. I believe Ralph reported some time ago his bail, his defense fund not counting the appeals process has cost you an excess of 11 million dollars. That's a lot of communion wafers,

    One more thing I like to mention is Ralph on his previous blog mentioned that Avery was diagnosed as a alcoholic and not a pedophile. Alcoholics worry about when and were their next drink is coming from not were their next little boy is coming from as Avery had did. A couple of rocks need to be turned over at the facility were the archdiocese sent the rapist. I bet my life there would be some interesting findings.

    In the end Lynn was the enabler he did nothing else but line up Billy Doe and many other children for pedophile priests. Not homosexual priests but pedophile priests because if they were only homosexual priests my money would have been on them only doing each other.

    Seth Williams I applaud you and your team. You are truly a soldier sent from God.

    1. The Supreme Court ruled it was a crime because Justice Baer chose to ignore the glaring issues of the Lynn trial, especially the use of the 2007 version of the 1972 EWOC which barred the prosecution of Lynn. Lynn left the position in 2004 - how can he be prosecuted under the 2007 version of the law which does not apply to him as he had left the position in 2004? Left unsaid was the piling on of 21 counts which occurred BEFORE Lynn was appointed to the position. Minority Justice appeal from Saylor indicated that there was no evidence provided to prove that Lynn intended for children to be abused by pedophile priests. And no evidence was shown that Lynn went many miles to get pedophile priests treatment and only moved them when he extracted promise from them that they would not re-offend after being told by the treatment facility that the priest had been treated for his issues. That alone would have called for his acquittal at the trial, had prosecutors not handled the trial as a kangaroo court with the cooperation of a willing Judge Sarmina who let a lineup of victims recount their tales of abuse from decades along as if Lynn was the abuser, when he was not. As an enabler, no as he went out of his way to seek treatment of those priests and only returned them to duty when assured by the treatment facility the priest had no issues.

      The Lynn trial was turned into a kangaroo trial because the vast majority of abusers could not be prosecuted due to the expiration of the Statute of Limitations/death. Having nobody to prosecute, they settled on Lynn as a target.

  3. Next we will hear the stars and moon were not aligned correctly at the time of his (Lynn) trial or when the supreme court made its ruling.

    ...and next time you try and talk come up with some original phrases. Some people here also read George's posts and it seems kangaroo court has already been taken.

    I do wonder though how many drugs Lynn is taking. One to go to sleep, one to wake up, one to function through the day. Whose the drug addict now ?

    1. Right?! The excuses these Catholic "apologists" continue to come up with are ridiculous and ludicrous. But, I have to admit, they make entertaining reading... as does their wailing, moaning, and gnashing of teeth every time one of their pedophile priests (or their enablers within the hierarchy of the religious sect) is finally held accountable for their crimes.

    2. Facts. If you don't have facts, don't talk at all.

  4. Ralph- thanks for the ongoing trial updates

    Fr. Lynn was sentenced to 3 to 6 years on his original conviction. He spent 18 months in jail and sixteen months under house arrest.( 34 months)

    Is he eligible for parole consideration after 3 years ( 36 months) in PA? No matter one's opinion I don't think any one expects the various appeals will be finished in a few months.I assume he can both petition for parole and still be working to overturn his original conviction at same time.

    On what basis would parole be considered or denied?

    1. House arrest is credible to prison time as Lynn abided by all terms of such which was said at today's hearing when Sarmina sent him to jail regardless of how Sarmina and Seth Williams feel . Thus said, he would need to serve only two months in jail before being released on parole. Again, that is the decision of the parole board to make. as they will take feedback from other interested parties who will oppose his request for parole.

      What needed apart from emergency petitions being filed by Bergstrom is fast action to remove Sarmina from the bench even though she no longer serves on Common Pleas Court and now takes civil cases. Even helpful would be filing a petition for a new trial to be held OUTSIDE Philadelphia and to be heard by another judge. DA Seth Williams will try to replicate the "historic" trial of 12 weeks by bringing back hundreds of victims to testify, adding 21 counts that happened BEFORE Lynn was put in charge only to be rebuffed by the Judge who will grant the defense motions to dismiss the 21 counts, cut down dramatically the number of victims willing to testify to one - Billy Doe and dismiss much of his rambling testimony that changes by the day, thus giving the jury no option but to acquit Lynn.

      Even more must be done about Baer and to ensure that he will follow the spirit of the law as written as opposed to expanding the reach of the law to areas not previously covered. That is the role of the State Supreme Court. If those who are disgruntled about the current statute of the law, they are free to lobby the legislature to make needed revisions.

  5. What you see happening right now to Lynn is on some level the same as what Billy Doe must have endured. Lynn is being attacked like Billy was. Lynn is probably fearing what may happen next. Wondering if he will be sent back to prison, Billy wondering what Avery, Engelhardt and Sheri would do to him next. Lynn wondering when this will all be over, Billy wondering when his attacks would be over. Lynn taking drugs to get through the day, Billy taking drugs to help him forget and on both sides family members who shed so many tears they have none left.

    Then oddly there is this, Billy Does suffering began because of something Lynn failed to do and Lynn's pain if you want to call it that began when Billy Doe did do something.

    There are some differences though, Lynn's non-actions led to an attack on a innocent child, Billy's actions led to justice against an adult. Then there is this big difference, Lynn will most likely only have to live with the memories of what is happening for a few years to come, while Billy's memories of his torture can go on for decades.

    It sucks when the shoe is on the other foot.

    1. How do you explain the many variations of abuse stories he could not keep straight and were fit to cause motions filed to strike them from the record only to be rebuffed by a cooperating. And more willing Judge Sarmina? A druggie who could not get his act togetherand a corrupt, incompetent judge.

    2. so you were in the sacristy back in 98, part of the bell choir I assume....you saw Shero drive away that day from the school parking lot

      you and you alone must have firsthand knowledge of Danny Gallagher's assaults at the hands of those men....you and you alone must have the pictures that go with the dozens or so stories told over the past several years as told by danny Gallagher, son of Sheila and James Gallagher, Sr., brother of slippery never to be seen lawyer brother, James Gallagher Jr.,

      Danny Gallagher wasn't an innocent victim as you portray him
      , just a lying drug addict and pathological liar, one of many with different drug appetites that grew up in the St. Jerome's area.....must have been something in the water up in Winchester Park.......

      I wish the good Reverend nothing but good luck with his petition to the court to continue his house arrest......

    3. I cannot believe the ex state prosecutor, Blessington is still on the DA's payroll, and involved in this case, wasn't he implicated recently in that "PORNGATE" email scandal between the state attorney general's staff and the Supreme Court justices while Corbett was governor, ....the scandal included not 1 but 2 Supreme court justices who ultimate were forced to resign from the bench...etc.....but he's still drawing a paycheck from the taxpayers of the city of Philadelphia

      just goes to show you, you don't have to have any ethics to work for Seth Williams, the sleazier the better must be his mantra......win at any costs, at the expense of the truth.......

  6. To anonymous @ 11:04

    Your wishes of good luck are to few and to late. At the time of this comment Mr. Lynn is most likely being processed in to his new temporary home on State Rd. until the state assigns him a new permanent address.

    If you can't do the time don't do the crime !!!


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