Convicted clergyman may be leaving prison

A Roman Catholic official whose novel conviction in the clergy sex-abuse scandal was overturned by a Pennsylvania appeals court could be freed this week after a judge set his bail Monday at $250,000.

Monsignor William Lynn, who has spent about 18 months in prison, would have to submit to electronic monitoring and surrender his passport.

Lynn has been serving a three- to-six-year sentence after being the first U.S. church official ever convicted over his handling of abuse claims against other priests. A three-judge appellate panel threw out his conviction last week.

On Monday, the defense lawyers asked Judge M. ­Teresa Sarmina to release the 62-year-old priest while prosecutors prepare an appeal.

— Associated Press

Monsignor William Lynn walks from the courthouse after the jury finished deliberating for the day in his sexual abuse trial in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in this file photo taken June 20, 2012. (TIM SHAFFER/REUTERS)
Brain-dead teen
gets week’s extension

The family of a girl who was declared brain-dead after what was supposed to be a routine tonsillectomy received a reprieve Monday from a judge who ordered the 13-year-old to be kept on life support for an additional week.

Doctors at Children’s Hospital Oakland say Jahi McMath will not recover, so they want to take her off the machines that are keeping her body functioning. Her family wants to continue life support, saying they have hope she will pull through.

Shortly before a 5 p.m. Monday deadline that was set in a previous ruling, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo ordered the hospital to keep the girl on a ventilator until Jan. 7.

Meanwhile, the family’s lawyer filed suit in federal court, requesting that the hospital be compelled to perform a tracheotomy for breathing and to insert a feeding tube — procedures that would allow the girl to be transferred to a facility willing to care for her.

— Associated Press

Derailment triggers
call to evacuate town

Authorities urged residents to evacuate a small North Dakota town Monday night after a mile-long train carrying crude oil derailed outside of town, shaking residents with a series of explosions that sent flame and smoke skyward.

The Cass County sheriff’s office said it was “strongly recommending” that people in Casselton and anyone living five miles to the south and east evacuate. A shelter has been set up in Fargo, about 25 miles away. Casselton has about 2,400 residents.

The sheriff’s office said the National Weather Service was forecasting a shift in the weather that would push the plume of smoke down, which could increase potential health hazards.

The train left the tracks about 2:30 p.m. Monday, and as many as 10 cars caught fire. No one was hurt. Authorities said the cars would be allowed to burn out. A BNSF Railway spokeswoman said a train carrying grain derailed first, then knocked several cars of the oil train off adjoining tracks.

— Associated Press