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Church aids priest in payment of bail

| Friday, Jan. 3, 2014, 8:57 p.m.

PHILADELPHIA — A church official who recently won an appeal of his landmark conviction in the priest-abuse scandal was released from custody on Friday. The city's Roman Catholic archbishop defended the decision to use church funds to help with bail.

Monsignor William Lynn was staying at an undisclosed location in Philadelphia after being processed at a city jail and being fitted with an electronic monitoring device, defense attorney Thomas Bergstrom said. He is due in court on Monday for a bail hearing.

Lynn, who left a state prison on Thursday after 18 months behind bars, is the first U.S. church official to have been charged with hiding complaints that priests were molesting children. Prosecutors charged him with child endangerment, but the state Superior Court ruled that the law that existed at the time did not cover people who did not directly supervise children.

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams this week said he would appeal the ruling. He has criticized the archdiocese for helping Lynn post his $250,000 bail.

Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput said in a letter to clergy and parishioners that helping Lynn come up with $25,000 to post 10 percent of his bail was “both reasonable and just.” Lynn remains on administrative leave and may not function in public as a priest.

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