Msgr. William J. Lynn, the first Catholic Church official convicted in the clergy sex-abuse scandal, returned to prison Thursday after a Philadelphia judge ordered him to resume his sentence for child endangerment.
Lynn, 64, was taken to the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility, about four miles across Northeast Philadelphia from the rectory of St. William parish in Crescentville, where he had lived on house arrest since January 2014.
Lynn's lawyer, Thomas A. Bergstrom, said he would challenge Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina's ruling. Sarmina in July 2012 sentenced Lynn to three to six years for his conviction on charges of endangering the welfare of children.
Lynn is expected to shortly be transferred to the state prison at Waymart, in northeastern Pennsylvania, where he spent almost 18 months until he was released on house arrest when Superior Court reversed his conviction. On Monday, the state Supreme Court reinstated Lynn's guilty verdict, and at a hearing Thursday morning at the Criminal Justice Center, Lynn seemed resigned to what was going to happen.
Lynn turned to Bergstrom with a half-smile and a shrug before he was taken into custody by sheriff's deputies.
Bergstrom argued that Lynn should be permitted to stay at St. William under house arrest while he pursues further appeals. Bergstrom said Lynn had lived up to every provision of house arrest, and a probation officer lauded Lynn's conduct.
Sarmina, however, agreed with Assistant District Attorney Patrick Blessington that now that the state's highest court has ruled, Lynn should be in prison.
"Well, I think things are back where they were when I sentenced Msgr. Lynn," Sarmina said. "The same reasons I stated then exist."
"Somebody call for a sheriff," the judge added before leaving the bench.
Lynn was convicted and sentenced after a landmark 13-week trial in 2012 over his role supervising priests accused of sexually abusing children.
As the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's secretary for clergy from 1992 to 2004, Lynn was responsible for investigating sexual-abuse complaints made against priests and recommending punishment to the archbishop.
The jury found that Lynn allowed Rev. Edward V. Avery, who had a history of sexually abusing children, to live in a Northeast Philadelphia rectory, where he later assaulted a 10-year-old altar boy. Avery pleaded guilty in the 1999 attack and is serving five years in prison.
Lynn argued in his appeal that he could not be convicted for his supervisory role because the state child-endangerment statute was not amended to include supervisors until 2007 - three years after he left as clergy secretary.