Church official gripes re: “distortion;” SNAP responds

Msgr. Lynn now claims that some have a ‘distorted’ view because his words, under oath, are available to the public now.  How ironic.

A truly distorted – and dangerous - view has existed for decades because Lynn and other top Catholic officials successfully kept hundreds of heinous crimes covered up. That distorted view – that the church hierarchy could be trusted – is the view that has been proven to devastating to hundreds of boys and girls who ended up being sexually violated by priests, nuns, brothers and seminarians in the Philadelphia area.

The jury pool will no doubt contain many individuals who have a “distorted” view of the clergy sex abuse and cover up crisis because, even now, so much of it remains hidden, thanks to Msgr. Lynn and other high-ranking Catholic staffers.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 23 years and have more than 10,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell,, Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747,, Peter Isely (414-429-7259,, Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell,

Posted on Wed, Sep. 7, 2011

Lawyers want judge to dismiss charges in clergy-sex abuse case


Lawyers for Mgsr. William J. Lynn, the former Catholic church official awaiting trial on charges of covering up clergy sex abuse, on Wednesday asked the trial judge to lift her gag order and dismiss or move the trial, contending their client had been unfairly tarnished in a "firestorm" of unbalanced media coverage.

In motions to Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina, attorneys Thomas Bergstrom and Jeffrey Lindy pointed to prosecutors' recent release of thousands of pages of grand-jury testimony and the subsequent reports about it in The Inquirer.

They contended that prosecutors violated court rules by not first getting a judge's approval to attach typically secret grand jury testimony to a public filing.

"This avalanche of material released to the press has created a one-sided and, in certain cases, a distorted view of the events - material which may never be deemed admissible in a trial setting," the lawyers said in their motion.

Lynn, 60, faces trial next March on endangerment and conspiracy charges in connection with the alleged sexual assault of two boys in the 1990s. Three other current and former priests are charged with rape in those alleged incidents.

Prosecutors say Lynn, as the Secretary of Clergy for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, knowingly placed abusive priests in posts that led to the alleged assaults.

He is believed to be the only church official nationwide criminally accused of covering up sex assaults on children or protecting the abusers.

Through his lawyers, Lynn has strenuously denied the charges and vowed to be vindicated at trial. But with jury selection almost six months away, the slow drip of evidence related to the case and their inability to counter it is hurting their client, Lindy and Bergstrom contend in their motions.

"After all, many reading these articles will likely be members of the jury pool from which all parties will seek a fair and impartial jury," they wrote.

Judge Renee Cardwell Hughes was the first to impose a gag order on the defendants and lawyers in the case, citing the widespread media attention on the case.

Sarmina, the third judge to handle the case, has left that order intact.

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  • Barbara Dorris
    published this page in Media Statements 2011-09-07 14:52:00 -0500

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