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Pennsylvania court reverses conviction of Monsignor William Lynn

Published On: Dec 26 2013 04:14:36 PM CST
Monsignor William Lynn

AP

PHILADELPHIA -

A Pennsylvania appeals court has ruled that a Roman Catholic church official was wrongly convicted for his handling of priest sex-abuse complaints.

The unanimous decision released Thursday by the state Superior Court also dismisses the criminal case against Monsignor William Lynn.

Lynn has been serving three to six years in prison after his child-endangerment conviction last year. Prosecutors had argued that Lynn reassigned predators to new parishes in Philadelphia when he was secretary for clergy from 1992 to 2004.

Lynn's conviction stems from the case of one priest, Edward Avery, found to have abused a child after such a transfer.

But Lynn's attorneys contended the state's child-endangerment law at the time applied only to parents and caregivers, not supervisors like Lynn.

Lynn's attorneys said they are going to try to get him released as early as this week from a state prison.

Prosecutors are planning to fight the court's ruling, and resist any move to release him.