New York (AFP) – A U.S. appeals court on Thursday overturned the conviction of a senior American church official found guilty of covering up child sex abuse and ordered him freed from prison.
Monsignor William Lynn was found guilty in June 2012 on one count of child endangerment and sentenced to between three and six years in jail in the U.S. city of Philadelphia.
Lynn, whose job had been to investigate reports of abuse in the archdiocese from 1992 to 2004, was not charged with molesting children, rather with covering up the crimes of priests who did.
But Thursday’s ruling from the Pennsylvania appeals court concluded that theories of accomplice liability applied by the trial court “were not supported by sufficient evidence.”
“In sum, the evidence was insufficient to demonstrate that appellant ‘acted with the intention of promoting or facilitating'” the offense, it said.
“Judgment of sentence reversed. Appellant is discharged,” it added.