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 today by the state Superior Court also dismisses the criminal case against Monsignor William Lynn.
Mgr Lynn has been serving three to six years in prison after his child-endangerment conviction last year.
Prosecutors had argued that Mgr Lynn reassigned predators to new parishes in Philadelphia when he was secretary for clergy from 1992 to 2004.
Mgr Lynn's conviction relates to the case of one priest, Edward Avery, who was found to have abused a child after such a transfer.
Mgr Lynn's lawyers contended the state's child-endangerment law at the time applied only to parents and caregivers, not supervisors like Mgr Lynn.