Msgr. William Lynn, the first senior official with the Catholic church to be convicted of covering up clergy sex abuse of children, could be released from jail sometime this week now that he’s in line for a new trial.
Thomas Bergstrom, Lynn’s lawyer, filed a bail motion Wednesday that’s awaiting a judge and a hearing date.
The priest has served three years of a 3-6 year sentence. He is reportedly scheduled for parole on Oct. 16.
The move follows Tuesday’s decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to reaffirm the Superior Court’s ruling to vacate Lynn’s conviction and grant a new trial.
In December, the justices wrote that jurors in Lynn’s case were unfairly influenced after hearing weeks of “prejudicial” evidence about clergy sex abuse unrelated to Lynn’s actions.
During Lynn’s three-month trial in 2012, prosecutors presented 21 examples of the Philadelphia Archdiocese covering up child sex abuse, some dating back to the 1940s, long before Lynn was in charge of priest assignments.
Bergstrom called that evidence “poison.”
“What was really happening in that case, was that the entire Archdiocese was on trial and he happened to be the scapegoat for all of those sins of the church,” said Bergstrom.
Whether Lynn stands trial again is up to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. A spokeswoman said it’s reviewing the decision.
The office has previously called the order for a new trial “embarrassingly unjustified.”
The Archdiocese declined comment.
In June 2012, a jury found Lynn guilty of endangering the welfare of children.
Lynn was secretary for clergy for the Archdiocese from June 1992 until June 2004.
In that role, Lynn supervised assignments for priests, including former Fr. Edward Avery, who molested a 10 year-old altar boy at St. Jerome’s parish in 1999.
Lynn moved Avery to St. Jerome’s after allegations of sex abuse at another parish came to light years earlier, according to court documents.
Avery pleaded guilty to sexual assault before Lynn’s trial and was sentenced to prison.