A Court of Common Pleas judge denied bail on Monday August 6 for a Catholic priest convicted of hiding complaints against a pedophile priest.
Judge Teresa Sarmina denied a bail request from Monsignor William Lynn, 61. Lynn, the former secretary for clergy of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia, was recently convicted of child endangerment. He served under the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua form 1992 to 2004 and during that time, allegedly knew about a list of several priests accused of sexually molesting children. One of those priests, Edward Avery had complaints going back to 1992. Avery pleaded guilty to sexually molesting a teen in 1999, and is now serving a prison sentence.
Lynn is the highest ranking Catholic Church official in the United States to be prosecuted and convicted in connection with child sexual abuse. Although Lynn never molested anyone, he allegedly knew about the pedophile priests and allegedly did nothing to stop it. The priests were allegedly transferred from one parish to another, and the complaints were covered up for decades. Lynn was sentenced to 3 ½ to 7 years.
While Lynn’s attorneys continue their legal fight for their client, another related sex abuse trial will begin in September. Charles Englehardt and a former Catholic school teacher, Bernard Shero, have been charged with raping the same boy in the late 1990’s. Their accuser was a key witness at Lynn's trial. In June, a jury convicted Lynn of child endangerment for failing to oust then-priest Edward Avery after a 1992 complaint. Avery admitted to sexually assaulting the boy in 1999.
According to the Grand Jury investigation, Englehardt allegedly showed the victim, who as 10-years old at the time, pornographic material before initiating the sexual contact. Avery allegedly learned of Englehardt’s encounter with the victim, and allegedly did the same thing several times.
The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office will also be retrying James Brennan for attempted rape and related offenses for the 1996 sexual assault against a 14-year old victim. During Lynn’s trial, a jury was unable to convict Brennan, who is due in court for a status hearing on Aug. 14 in courtroom 905.
“James Brennan used his position as a priest to prey upon and victimize this young man,” said District Attorney Seth Williams. “It is extremely important that Brennan be held accountable for his crime, not just for his victim — but for all victims of sexual abuse.”
The District Attorney will also begin proceedings against another alleged pedophile priest, Andrew McCormick, 56. McCormick has been charged with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, statutory sexual assault, sexual assault and related offenses for the alleged sexual assault of a ten-year old boy in 1997. The victim was silent about the abuse for years, but in December 2011 filed a complaint with the Special Victim’s Unit. McCormick was arrested on July 26.
“As we have learned over the years, it is extremely difficult for sexual abuse victims to admit that the assault happened, and then to actually report the abuse to authorities can be even harder for them,” Williams said. “But with every new sexual assault arrest and conviction, like the historic conviction of Monsignor Lynn, we hope more victims will come forward.”