Judge Denies House Arrest for Convicted Priest

Monsignor Lynn asked to be put on house arrest while he awaits sentencing on child endangerment charge

Thursday, Jul 5, 2012  |  Updated 4:24 PM EDT
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Monsignor William Lynn was convicted of child endangerment.

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Judge Denies House Arrest for Priest

Monsignor William Lynn asked to be put on house arrest until his sentencing to prison, but his request was denied by Judge Teresa Sarmina. NBC10's Tim Furlong is at the courthouse updating us with the latest information.

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The high-ranking official in the Philadelphia Archdiocese will remain behind bars while he awaits sentencing.

On Thursday morning a judge shot down Monsignor William Lynn’s request to release him to house arrest as he awaits sentencing on felony child endangerment.

A jury convicted Lynn of the felony last month. They also found him not guilty of two other charges.

Lynn faces three-and-a-half to seven years in prison when he's sentenced. His attorneys asked a judge to release him from custody until his sentencing.

Judge M. Teresa Sarmina -- the same judge who presided over Lynn's landmark child-abuse case -- agreed Thursday with prosecutors who say Monsignor William Lynn should be treated like any other felon and remain jailed until his sentencing hearing.

The decision was applauded by SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests:

Given the Catholic hierarchy’s ongoing protection of those who commit and conceal child sex crimes, we believe Judge Sarmina has made a prudent choice. If Msgr. Lynn is behind bars, there’s virtually no way that he can flee the country, destroy evidence, deceive victims, mislead parishioners or take other steps to further cover up wrongdoing.

Some may view this decision as harsh. We consider it just and smart. And we hope it will help end current cover ups and deter future cover ups by Catholic officials across the country.

Lynn's attorneys say their client isn't a flight risk and argued for his release on house arrest. But prosecutors say other defendants in Lynn's situation wouldn't be accommodated the same way.

Right after the decision, Lynn's attorney Thomas Bergstrom said that Lynn is being treated unfairly because of his vocation.

"I loathe to say it, but I think his collar has a lot to do with it," Bergstrom said.

Sarmina denied the house arrest request but did allow for Lynn's pre-sentencing report to be moved forward so that sentencing could be moved up to July 24, according to court documents.

Lynn is the first U.S. church official ever charged for his handling of abuse complaints. His attorneys plan to appeal his conviction.

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