Canon Law – Civil Law Monsignor James Lynn

This week, in a Philadelphia Court Room, Monsignor James Lynn will attempt to finally end the long process of his criminal case, once and for all, without a retrial. The retrial, a possibility after Monsignor James Lynn of the Philadelphia Archdiocese, won his appeal of his criminal convictions, may not happen at all. His lawyers have a court hearing on their appeal grounds this week, and the grounds are among the most serious a lawyer can allege. That is, that the behavior of the District Attorney’s office in the trial of this case, was so egregious, that it thwarted justice at every level, so much so, that the DA should be prohibited from going ahead with its retrial plans for May 1, 2017. Monsignor Lynn served as secretary of clergy for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia from 1992 to 2004. He was originally convicted in 2012 of child endangerment, not assault or abuse. The facts alleged that Monsignor Lynn, in his job, placed a pedophile priest in proximity to a child, in violation of state law.  

Thomas A. Bergstrom, a renowned Philadelphia attorney and defense attorney to Monsignor Lynn, claimed that the Assistant DA prosecuting the case, withheld evidence that the detective investigating the case believed the accuser was not credible. When Detective Walsh told his beliefs to the prosecuting DA, she replied “You’re damaging my case.” Now retired, Detective Walsh will testify to this at the hearing this week.  

Monsignor Lynn was convicted on the testimony that included this only actual accuser. He was sentenced to three to six years in prison on the charges of child endangerment. He was the first Catholic administrator in the US to be convicted of a crime related to child sex abuse. In 2013 an Appeals Court freed Lynn after ruling that the child endangerment laws should not apply to him. The State Supreme Court disagreed and sent Monsignor Lynn back to prison in 2015. In August 2016, an appeal court freed him again ruling that certain evidence was improperly allowed at trial. They ordered a new trial. The Defense is claiming that a retrial should be barred because of its prosecutorial misconduct.


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