PHILADELPHIA – Monsignor William J. Lynn lost a bid Thursday to get out of jail before being sentenced for child endangerment but persuaded a judge to move his sentencing hearing up by three weeks.

After barely 10 minutes of discussion, Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina sided with Philadelphia prosecutors who said Lynn, the first Catholic Church supervisor convicted for enabling clergy sex abuse, should stay in prison because he is a flight risk.

The former secretary for clergy for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia faces up to seven years in prison. Sarmina moved up his sentencing to July 24, from Aug. 13.

Lynn’s relatives and supporters packed the courtroom for the bail hearing, the second since Lynn was convicted and jailed on June 22.

His lawyers had proposed doubling Lynn’s bail to $100,000, and allowing him to live under house arrest with electronic monitoring until his sentencing next month.

Trying to counter prosecutors’ argument that Lynn could seek asylum in the Vatican, the defense also proposed having him sign an extradition waiver.


Sarmina noted the waiver as a gesture of good will but said, “From all the case law, it sounds like it would be pretty worthless.”

She asked defense attorney Thomas Bergstrom if he would serve Lynn’s sentence if the cleric absconded.

“Absolutely, because that’s the faith I have in the monsignor,” Bergstrom said. “I’m not the least bit concerned that I’ll ever have to see the inside of a prison cell — and frankly, you shouldn’t be either.”

Assistant District Attorney Patrick Blessington called such a proposal “absurd.” Prosecutors intend to ask for the maximum prison term, he said.

After a three-month trial, a jury concluded that Lynn had endangered children when he left the then-Rev. Edward Avery in active ministry in the 1990s despite knowing the priest had previously abused a minor.

Avery later admitted sexually assaulting a 10-year-old altar boy in 1999 at a Northeast Philadelphia church. He since has been defrocked and pleaded guilty to the assault.

Jurors acquitted Lynn of two other counts, including that he conspired with Avery or church leaders to endanger children.


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