Thomas A. Bergstrom, Shareholder in Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney’s White-Collar Defense & Investigations Section, was mentioned in more than 10 media outlets as counsel to Monsignor William J. Lynn, whose June 2012 child endangerment conviction was recently overturned.
Lynn was charged for hiding complaints that priests were abusing children in 1992-2004. However, the Superior court found that the child endangerment law that existed during that time did not apply to Lynn, because he did not directly supervise children. A new statute was created in 2007.
"He's been in prison 18 months for a crime he didn't commit and couldn't commit under the law," said Bergstrom.
The District Attorney plans to take an appeal to the state Supreme Court. Bergstrom called the appeal a “fool’s errand,” as future cases will be brought under the 2007 statute, not the old one.
Bergstrom said of the appeal, “A lot of it's rhetoric. The single charge he was convicted of has now been reversed. He's been ordered to be freed." He added, “Certainly, [the District Attorney] has a prerogative to appeal. I don't think his appeal will be successful, but he certainly has the right.”
Bergstrom said that Lynn had become a scapegoat for the abuse crisis.
“There's clearly some reason to believe that that's what happened here,” Bergstrom said.
Read the full article – “Monsignor Released After Archdiocese Helps Him Post Bail” (NBC10 Philadelphia, January 2, 2014)
Read the full article – “Philadelphia DA Irate That Archdiocese Posted Msgr. Lynn’s Bail” (CBS Philly, January 1, 2014)
Read the full article – “Archdiocese Helps Priest Post Bail, DA Livid” (NBC10 Philadelphia, January 1, 2014)
Read the full article – “Monsignor William Lynn, Pa. priest who had sex abuse conviction overturned, surrenders passport” (CBS News, December 31, 2013)
Read the full article – “DA to appeal court's decision to overturn conviction of Catholic priest” (CNN, December 30, 2013)
Read the full article – “Philadelphia Monsignor to Be Released on Bail Pending Appeal in Abuse Case” (The New York Times, December 30, 2013)
Read the full article – “Philadelphia Priest's Sex Abuse Charges Dropped: Roman Catholic Church Official's Bail Set at $250,000” (Headlines & Global News, December 30, 2013)